University of Toronto Student Leadership Awards

UTSLA Banner. Photo of student awards ceremony


The University of Toronto Student Leadership Award continues U of T’s long-standing tradition of recognizing outstanding student leadership, service, and commitment to the university. This tradition began with the Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award, which was established in 1994 by the UTAA in honour of Mr. Gordon Cressy, former Vice-President, Development and University Relations. In naming the award in his honour, the University of Toronto Alumni Association (UTAA) recognized his leadership and service across various spheres, as well as his term at the university. During the award’s 25-year history, it celebrated the exemplary contributions of more than 4,000 students whose commitment and service had a lasting impact on their peers and the university.

The University of Toronto Student Leadership Award (UTSLA) continues the Cressy Award legacy. Recipients of this award will join the distinguished community of past Cressy Award recipients in being honoured for their exemplary leadership and service to U of T.

Students currently enrolled at the University of Toronto may be nominated for this award. Nominees must meet all of the eligibility criteria outlined in the University of Toronto Student Leadership Award overview document, which can be accessed here.

Nomination eligibility criteria include:

  • The nominee must be nominated by a U of T staff member, faculty, or alumni. (If you have reviewed the eligibility criteria and feel you are a strong candidate, consider connecting with an eligible nominator to work together on the nomination form.)
  • The nominee must be in their final year of study, with a minimum cumulative GPA (CGPA) of 2.70 (B-).
  • The nominee must have at least one year of significant volunteer leadership and high-impact service in the year immediately prior to the current nomination period.

For more information, visit the University of Toronto Alumni Awards page here or the UTSLA Nominations page here.

Nominations for the 2020-2021 year are now closed. We are excited to share our 2021 award recipients below. 

2021 Award Recipients


Kayvan Aflaki

Kayvan represented the interests of over 15, 000 students at UTM during the United Nations' Youth Assembly on issues central to youth including workforce engagement, health equity and climate change. 



Melanie Asselin

Melanie is an avid mental health advocate and community activist. She is most proud of spearheading stigma-fighting initiatives and promoting positive conversations about mental health on campus. 



Juan Sebastian Diaz Mola

For his pioneering contribution to the student community through the formation of the IMI Business Association and his efforts on helping students with a successful transition into University Life. 



Fatima Faruq Ahmad

Fatima was the founder and President of UTM Acts of Kindness and has helped foster a healthier and more supportive campus environment as a Wellness Ambassador for the Health and Counselling Centre. 



Mariam Girgis

Mariam continuously advocates for inclusivity and diversity on campus within the numberous positions she held in councils, departments, and clubs. She leaves behind several new traditions for the UTM community. 



Sanjna Gogna 

Sanjna was the President of UTM Global Brigades and currently serves as the Campus Chairperson of UTM Global Brigades. 


Alyssa Jayamohan 

Alyssa's committment to student engagement is most significant in her contributions to personal and academic development initiatives on residence, as well as in other student leadership positions. 



Jesica Kuruvilla

Jesica is a passionate and empathetic leader whoo leads the Student Engagement division of t he IMI Business Association. She has hosted events that helps students to get engaged within their community. 



Odette Lau

Odette was Vice-President of Communications at the University of Toronto Mississauga Filipino Student Association and Marketing Co-Chair of the Artistic Resource Team. 



Vanessa Parise

Vanessa Praise is the President of the Psychology Association of Undergraduate Students of Erindale and aims to continue fostering connection through a variety of student led activities. .



Syed Hassan Rizvi

He is proud of making an impact in the lives of students by fostering a safe and equitable environment and creating opportunities including sports tournaments and workshops that promote well-being.  



Yoshita Sehjpal 

[Yoshita is] most proud of [their] contributions as DECA President. Presidency has truly changed [them] as an individual to understand the goodness [they] can bring as a leader and valuably add to the lives of students. 



Azalfa Shafiq

Azalfa was the Vice-President of Professional Development for the IMI Business Association. 



Adwet Sharma

[Adwet is] proud to build community at UTM by hosting the largest cultural event of Diwali, hosting Hon. Peter Mackay, as well as being elected to the Governing Council. 



Arisha Shoaib

In Arisha's time at UTM, she has been an advocate of creating a meaningful campus life experience for the study body by increasing engagement on campus, giving back to [her] program and community. 



Cathy Tran

Tran was the Co-President of the UTM Vietnamese Student Association, the previous Secretary of the UTM IVNVI Forensics Society and volunteered as a peer mentor in various capacities. 



Sienna Woodhall

Sienna has strived to create a sense of inclusivity and belonging within the campus community through her work with the International Education Centre and as a residence DON. 



Mitra Yakubi

Mitra was the President at the University of Toronto Mississauga Students' Union (UTMSU), Assistant Lead for the Community outreach team at the Health and Wellness Centre (HCC) and a Research student.