Student Activism Award

UW–Madison has a rich history of student activism. The 1969 Black Student Strike that resulted in the creation of what is now the Department of Afro-American Studies, as well as protests throughout the 1990s focused on UW’s treatment of LGBTQ+ students are just a few examples of this rich history that has continually propelled us forward as an institution. For decades, students have advocated for policy change and resource allocation to ensure UW is a campus that lives up to it’s values and fosters an inclusive community and equitable educational experience.

Student activism is crucial to our campus’ growth and it is highly deserving of recognition. Indeed, activism is a key pathway of public service and allows students to engage in multiple methods of civic engagement through activities such as organizing, policy change, or advocacy. As such, the Morgridge Center for Public Service is pleased to offer this newly developed award that seeks to recognize student activists and their impact on our campus in the current moment — not just years later in a historical reflection, as is often the case.

This award honors the efforts of individual students or student groups who pursue activism as a means of improving the campus community in some way, shape or form. Activism can look like many things, from calls for policy change, to awareness raising, and community building.

The application form is now closed.

Any questions or concerns? Email:

This award offers a $400 one time scholarship to an individual or student group* that skillfully and equitably engages in student activism. Awardees will be honored on Tuesday, April 9, 2024 as part of the Wisconsin Idea Conference.

*The distribution of the award to student groups requires consultation with the Morgridge Center to determine equivalent distribution options. Individuals seeking to nominate a non-registered student organizations are highly encouraged to select one member of their organization to act as the nominee. This allows us to best coordinate an equitable payment.

2023: Antiracism Learning and Action in Neuroscience
2022: No Recipient Selected
2021: UW–Madison BIPOC Coalition

2024 Recipient Alicia Obiakor

Alicia Obiakor

Alicia Obiakor is an Undergraduate Research & Center for Academic Excellence Scholar, who has held a number of leadership roles. Alicia served as co-administrator for AHANA-MAPS Pre-Health Society, a multicultural organization that provides mentorship and resources to marginalized students interested in the medical field. Alicia coordinated events, sought out panelists and speakers, and incorporated pre-professional opportunities for members. She has also served as the managing officer for the BlkPowerCoalition and oversaw community organizing events and curated community outreach events across the state of Wisconsin for members. She also served as a team leader for Badger Volunteers this past fall as an after-school counselor at Lindbergh Elementary school. Through academics, research, community engagement, and leadership experiences, Alicia continues to improve her communities, both on and off campus.


The Be the Change Bash is the Morgridge Center’s annual end-of-the-semester celebration. The Bash honors students, staff, faculty and community partners who contribute their time and talents to both the community and the UW-Madison campus through service.

The event also includes the Morgridge Center’s annual award ceremony.