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Carson-Newman's Best Buddies named Tenn. Chapter of the Year

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Carson-Newman University's Best Buddies chapter captured its second state award in three years over the weekend. Pictured, left to right, are Carson-Newman Best Buddies chapter members Katie Moore, co-vice president; Holly Newman, Buddies director, Kelli Monday, president; and Dr. Kim Hawkins, faculty advisor.

(April 13, 2015) – Carson-Newman University's Chapter of Best Buddies was named the 2015 Outstanding College Chapter of the Year for the state of Tennessee. It is the second time Carson-Newman has earned the honor in three years.

Best Buddies is an international organization dedicated to creating one-on-one relationships between students and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They also seek to create opportunities for integrated employment and leadership development for those with disabilities.

Carson-Newman competed against 11 other school chapters that included: Belmont University, Lipscomb University, Middle Tennessee State University, Rhodes College, Trevecca Nazarene University, University of Memphis, University of Mississippi, University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Vanderbilt University, Vanderbilt University Medical School.

Members of Carson-Newman's chapter, which has a membership of some 40 students, were on hand to receive the award during The Friendship Walk held at Bicentennial Mall State Park in Nashville on April 12.

"We have really excellent leadership," said faculty advisor Dr. Kim Hawkins, who credits the youth and passion of the chapter's students. Normally led by seniors, this year's chapter features a leadership team composed of one president and two co-vice presidents, all who are juniors. "We have a unique situation in that these students are coming to Carson-Newman and getting involved in student organizations earlier on in their college career," said Hawkins, who added that with such enthusiasm returning next year bolds well for the University.

Earning the state award qualifies Carson-Newman's chapter to compete for the Overall Outstanding Chapter of the Year, which will be announced at the Best Buddies International Leadership Conference at Indiana University in Bloomington this July.

There are over 425 chapters on campuses in 51 countries worldwide.

A LOOK BACK: Click here to see Knoxville's WBIR Channel 10's coverage following Carson-Newman earning the 2013 Tennessee Chapter of the Year.

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