Chester A. Berry Scholar Award

The Chester A. Berry Scholar Award for Excellence in Writing was named in honor of ACUI's first executive director and was first awarded in 1982. The award recognizes outstanding writing in the field of college unions and student activities. 

In addition to the recognition associated with the award, winning author(s) will receive a $400 cash prize. Students and staff are encouraged to co-author papers as well. Prize money will be split between authors.


Any professional who is employed full-time or student who is enrolled full-time at an ACUI member institution is eligible for nomination. 


Papers submitted must:

  • Be 2,000–4,000 words in length, including bibliography and any appendices;
  • Be heavily researched, not first-person accounts or opinions. 

Papers will be judged on the following: 

  • Relevance of topic;
  • Writing and style;
  • Consideration of literature;
  • Originality; and 
  • Clarity.

2014 Chester A_ Berry winnerPrevious Recipients

2014 award recipients: Robert Meyer & Eric Love, Indiana University–Bloomington, for their article, "The Influence of Whiteness on College Unions," published in the September 2012 Bulletin.

2013 award recipient: Kaitlyn Moran, North Carolina State University
2012 award recipient: Dirk Rodricks, University of Vermont
2010 award recipients: Julia Colyar, University of Buffalo & Trish Dillenbeck, Buffalo State University

About Chester A. Berry

Chester A BerryChester A. Berry set a standard marked by his intellectual approach to the field. This award honors a man whose writings seem to travel through time; pieces written by Berry are as relevant today as they were decades years ago. In the 1971 annual conference keynote, “The Union and the Two Cultures,” Berry wrote, “A union, at least a good one, is interdisciplinary. Its program should involve whatever is important or interesting. Its very operation demands the balancing of both the fiscal and the intellectual budgets. It brings together components that the community needs to synthesize an approach to living.” 

As the director of Rhode Island and Stanford Unions, Berry was a visible leader in the profession—advancing education through conference programs, proceedings, and The Bulletin; authoring Planning A College Union Building and editing College Unions—Year Fifty; and leading the association’s research committee for many years. Serving as the association's president in 1960, his presidential address spoke on setting standards for college unions and union professionals, and almost 20 years later, Berry led ACUI, along with eight other associations, in forming the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS). 

Berry also served as the first full-time employee of ACUI, working as executive secretary from 1968–81.


Submission Information

Please place nominations online by filling out the Chester A. Berry Scholar Award nomination form to include the following information:

  • Name, title, institution, and contact information for all authors;
  • Evidence that author(s) meet all eligibility criteria;
  • One complete copy of paper.

This year's nomination deadline has closed for this award, which will be presented at the 2017 annual conference. 

Selection and presentation

Each paper will receive a blind review from the awards committee. If ACUI chooses to publish the paper, winning entrants grant ACUI full ownership rights to their work. ACUI assumes all entries are original and are the works and property of the entrant, with all rights granted therein. ACUI is not liable for any copyright infringement on the part of the entrant.

Nominations will receive written or electronic notification confirming their receipt. The ACUI awards committee, appointed annually by the ACUI president, will review the applications to determine a winner. One winner will be chosen; one physical award will be given to the winner. If winning paper is written by multiple authors, the cash prize will be split between the authors. The winner will be recognized during the awards ceremony at the annual conference.

Updated Jan. 7, 2017