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Efadul Huq receives Graduate Student Leadership Award

Headshots of the four Graduate Student Leadership Award Winners


The Graduate College is pleased to announce the winner of the Fall 2020 Graduate Student Leadership Award: Efadul Huq, a doctoral student in Urban and Regional Planning.

At the intersection of Huq’s research and leadership efforts is a deep commitment to social justice. This drive has led to substantial accomplishments while serving in various organizations including the United Students Against Sweatshops, Graduate Employee’s Organization, CU Immigration Forum, and others.

Huq’s research explores housing and environmental issues in global south cities like Dhaka, Bangladesh, and he uses his urban planning training and organizing skills on efforts for improving the material conditions in Dhaka. Since 2018, he has organized seminars with legal experts and lawyers focused on developing a legal framework for inclusionary settlement upgrades in Dhaka. Looking forward, he is planning community gardening initiatives for farming families hit hardest by the Covid-19 pandemic. Huq also co-founded Queer Archive of the Bengal Delta, a community-based archive that preserves collective memories of social and political lives of queers in the region.

Huq has also made significant contributions here in Central Illinois, through his work with the CU Immigration Forum and other community organizations. He organized a series of workshops focused on immigration justice for area youth at the Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club. He co-organized Immigrant Friendly Health Fair and Forum to recognize immigrant-friendly local health providers and highlight connections between healthcare and immigration. The fair provided free medical screenings, information about dealing with culture shock, and connections to low-cost immigration legal assistance.

In granting Huq the award, the Graduate Student Leadership Award selection committee commended the range, depth, and persistence of Huq’s leadership initiatives extending to local and international communities. 

The Graduate College is also pleased to announce three recipients of Special Recognition in Graduate Student Leadership. They are:

Alissa Irvin, a doctoral student in Curriculum & Instruction, for her ongoing commitment to building community amongst graduate students. Irvin’s leadership in the Champaign-Urbana community has been seen through her involvement in coordinating the Champaign-Urbana Black and African Arts Fest as well as serving as a member of the Champaign Unit 4 School District’s Education, Equity, and Excellence Committee.

Colvin Georges, Jr., a doctoral student in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, for his ongoing leadership supporting University of Illinois students including roles with the Student Success Initiative and Graduate College’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion that draw from his expertise in higher education.

Leyda Garcia-Greenwalt, a master’s student in Social Work, for her leadership endeavors and scholarly expertise in the area of foster care. Garcia-Greenwalt has advocated for impactful legislation at the federal and state level as Policy Chair for the Illinois Chapter of the Foster Care Alumni of America.

To learn more about the leadership award, see:  

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Photo: (top: l to r) Efadul Huq, Alissa Irvin, (bottom: l to r) Colvin Georges, Jr., Leyda Garcia-Greenwalt