Loyola University Chicago

School of Communication


Annual Award to Promote Social Activism

Annual Award to Promote Social Activism

By: Tim McManus, SOC Web Reporter

The School of Communication is introducing a new award for its students.  Funded by Dr. Gilda Parrella, Professor Emeritus, the Change the World award is designed to benefit a Communication student who also exemplifies Loyola’s mission of social justice. 

Parrella, who retired in 2015 after teaching at Loyola since 1973, spent much of her life outside the classroom dedicated to peacemaking and social activism. Although technology and society have progressed, the struggle of the marginalized is still the same. This award is meant to annually recognize the contributions of an undergraduate student who continues to be committed to the improvement of our community. 

“The gap between generations may be great on some issues, but as Loyolans, we share an idealism to confront violence, racism, poverty, homelessness, and the ravages of war to create positive change,” Parrella said. “So while the technologies we use to express ourselves may be somewhat different, we still need to seek change through peaceful protests, as well as through social media, creative activities and community engagement.”

The deadline for the award is approaching.  Qualified students must submit their application no later than February 19th with the winner to be announced at the School of Communication Honors Ceremony in April. 

“Because it's a cash award, the winner will actually get it immediately. We'll have a check issued to them.  There will just be one recipient per year who will receive the $500 reward,” said Dr. Shawna Cooper-Gibson, Assistant Dean.

Parrella says her intention with the award is that it contributes to the daily expenses of the socially-minded student, which is why it is not a formal scholarship and does not have to be applied to tuition.

“I want to give some seed money to the recipients so they will have flexibility to meet the practical needs in their activism – money for transportation, for meetings, for the development of websites, art and music projects, videos, printed materials, etc.,” Parrella said. “The Award is aimed at students in Communication Studies and Advocacy and Social Change in SOC, who dedicate their time and efforts to make a more just and livable world for us all.”