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SGA presents Berkman with first-ever Collaboration Award


President Berkman and Moatasem Al Bitar

By Christina Sanders

Feb. 28, 2013

On Friday, Feb. 15, the Student Government Association presented Cleveland State University President Ronald Berkman with the first-ever SGA Collaboration and Achievement Award, following his semi-annual SGA Senate address.

Berkman was chosen to receive the award after SGA President Moatasem Al Bitar proposed the idea of creating the award to the SGA executive board during one of their meetings, according to Senate Speaker Jonathan Fedor.

“It was presented to President Berkman to recognize his partnership with SGA and his strong commitment to the students of CSU throughout the course of his past term as president,” Fedor said.
Berkman was recently reappointed as president of the university.
Apart from his administrative accomplishments, the members of the SGA executive board have been encouraged by Berkman’s commitment to improving the university’s retention and graduation rates.

Low retention and graduation numbers have long dogged the university.

Berkman and his administration have made it one of their goals to increase student involvement in events and organizations on campus in order to strengthen student ties to the university, providing incentive to continue with their education at Cleveland State.

“One of the most significant contributing factors has been increasing the involvement of students on CSU’s campus,” Fedor said. “Building a sense of ownership and belonging to the CSU community in the heart of each student is what will keep this school growing stronger and stronger each year. We wanted to recognize President Berkman’s support for these goals.”

Berkman has taken the initiative to be a hands-on president as he has promised to attend at least one SGA meeting per semester. At the meeting that he attends, he addresses student issues, sheds light into the future of Cleveland State and reports on the accomplishments of the university.

Berkman has also continued to pour effort in financial aid for incoming students by adding millions of dollars in scholarships.

Fedor iterates that it is a one-time award for this president to recognize his outstanding achievements during his past term in office.

However, he says that he can imagine it being awarded to future presidents.

“I can imagine it being awarded to other presidents in the future
based upon their partnering with student leaders and SGA,” says Fedor, “We have yet to work out the details for eligibility of other faculty and/or administrators in the future. It is very likely we’ll make this an annual presentation.”