Indigenous Graduation Celebration: Student award application tips

How you can stand out in your award application

If you're a graduating Indigenous student, you're eligible to apply for two student awards; the Dr. Olive Dickason Award and the Royal Eagle Award.

The Dr. Olive Dickason Award recognizes and honours the accomplishment of an Indigenous graduand who exercised resilience in overcoming adverse life events to achieve success and graduate from the University of Calgary. This tribute includes a financial award of $1,000 provided by Brent and Hugh Alexander.

The Royal Eagle Award is sponsored and presented by Writing Symbols Lodge to a graduating Indigenous undergraduate student at the University of Calgary. This tribute includes a financial award of $1,000 and recognizes academic excellence and community-based volunteerism or student leadership.

To help you put together a compelling and memorable award application, here are some things to keep in mind:

How do you display leadership?

There are many ways you can demonstrate leadership qualities, inside and outside of your studies. Anything you do that exemplifies your leadership is important for you to highlight in your application.  

  • Are you an Elder’s Helper?
  • Are you a member of a drum group?
  • Do you dance powwow?
  • Do you work with youth in your community?
  • Do you participate in ceremony?
  • Do you speak your Indigenous language(s)?
  • Are you a member and involved with the Métis Nation or local? Working in your community is an excellent example of leadership, volunteerism and acting as a role model.
  • Do you volunteer with a student club or organization?
  • Are you a childcare provider for family, friends and or your community?
  • Do you participate in any events or programs within your faith or spirituality-based community group?
  • Are you a tutor, peer helper or an on-campus volunteer?

Your application is about your unique awesomeness. Let it shine!

Mention any awards, publications or conferences

Have you been the recipient of a faculty award or scholarship? Have you written and published (or co-published) articles or journals or presented your research projects outside of your class? Have you presented at any conferences? We want to know.

Track your time

When demonstrating volunteerism, community involvement and leadership, it's helpful to know approximately how many hours you spent supporting these activities.

For example, you could say, “This semester, I volunteered ten hours with the Métis Nation as an Elder’s Helper and fifteen hours with the Indigenous Students’ Council.”

If you have references who are able to verify the hours you worked in these different activities, it would strengthen your application.

Questions about your application?

We're happy to help answer any questions you have about your student award application. Contact us at