2021 President's Medal recipient awarded for commitment to current and future students
Hurrying through Heritage Hall on his way to his next class, then first-year student Rigel Raju noticed something interesting — a cabinet display of SAIT’s President’s Awards recipients. As he read their stories he felt a surge of inspiration.
“I saw a picture of the winners that year and I [thought] I really, really want that to be me,” reflects Raju.
That wasn’t the only high expectation Raju set for himself in his first year. Raju came to SAIT after a difficult experience at Loughborough University in England where he completed a degree in Sports Technology — but just barely.
“I was nervous because there was a lot riding on this,” he says. “This was my second chance…I also wanted to give it my all and graduate with a 4.0. I was putting a lot of pressure on myself.”
Motivation through passion
In his first year Raju joined a number of student clubs as a way to motivate himself, add to his resume and build inspirational relationships with other people.
“Finding people whose interests, values, beliefs, even sense of humour, align with yours is such a fulfilling feeling,” says Raju. “Each student club became a passion project that was all about doing something great with great friends.”
Fast forward three years and Raju’s persistence, positive attitude and dedication have paid off in a big way. Raju has been involved with a long list of student clubs and groups, including Phi Theta Kappa Honour Society, Student Investment Management Trust, SAIT Board of Governors, SAIT Finance Club, Saitsa Finance Committee, SAIT’s Academic Council, and more!
“The purpose of student clubs is to bring out the best in people,” Raju explains. “Immersing yourself in your activities with the intention to make it your own in some way makes the experience so much more meaningful. What you put into it is what you get out of it.”
Leaving a lasting impact
His involvement with these groups gave Raju the desire and opportunity to leave a lasting impact for future students at SAIT.
“I hope that I have helped to establish a foundation for future students to build on and create something amazing themselves,” he says.
To recognize his incredible commitment to current and future students, Raju was awarded SAIT’s 2021 President’s Medal — a fitting bookend to his time at SAIT.
“Receiving this award feels fantastic because it's been a three year long dream,” he says. “It's kind of come full circle.”
Raju found his inspiration at SAIT but says he couldn’t have done it alone. He credits his colleagues, friends, mentors, family and faith as foundational to his success.
“Nothing that I have done would have been possible without my faith and the people around me,” he says. “My mom told me to say Philippians 4:13 — ‘I can do all things through him who strengthens me.’ — three times each morning for strength and hope to keep moving forward.”
His experiences at SAIT have shown Raju that success often comes on the other end of failures.
“Failure is a mindset. If we actively choose to learn from our experiences and mistakes, then there is no such thing as failure. There is only an unlimited potential for growth and success.”