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The Best of the Best: Student Life and CAB Earn National Honors

Published: April 14, 2016

CAB members

Campus Activities Board

If what happens in the classroom is the lifeblood of the university, then what happens outside of the classroom is the heartbeat.

The Office of Student Life and Campus Activities Board (CAB) at Texas A&M University-Texarkana work collaboratively through the year to provide opportunities for students to become engaged with the campus community. And their efforts have not gone unrewarded.

In March, Assistant Director of Student Life Celeste McNiel received the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities National Advisor of the Year award at the 2016 APCA National Conference in Houston.

“I was so humbled when they called my name as the recipient of the National Advisor of the Year award. It was such an honor to be recognized in this way by an organization and by other professionals that I really respect and admire,” McNiel said. “I know that all of the professionals in our field give a lot of themselves to their work so it always feels good to know that your hard work is affirmed and valued. It doesn’t change how surprised and honored I was to receive this honor.”

McNiel had been named South Central Region Advisor of the Year in November, and she went on to compete against the best from the nation’s four other regions – Western, Mid West, Southeast and Northeast – to earn the national award.

“Celeste has worked hard to create an environment where students can have fun while learning and planning events on campus,” said Carl Grieg, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs. “It is great to see her commitment to A&M-Texarkana students recognized on a national level, but if you ask the students that make up CAB, their only surprise would be that it took this long for the ACPA to recognize her accomplishments.”

The A&M-Texarkana Campus Activities Board also received APCA’s South Central Campus Organization of the Year award earlier in the year.

“I have been involved in the Campus Activities Board since 2012, and it has definitely been the best experience I've had here at A&M-Texarkana,” said graduate student Dustin Nix, who works with CAB through his graduate assistantship in the Office of Student Life.

“This organization has been a large part of helping me become the person that I am today. A&M-Texarkana has a lot of great things going for it, but the family atmosphere and the tremendous opportunities are my favorites. That being said, CAB shares those qualities by building relationships with members and offering opportunities for learning and growth,” Nix said.

“Because of CAB, I have met so many wonderful people between our members and the many artists we bring on campus. I’ve also been given the chance to travel to many great cities such as Atlanta, Georgia, for our conference, where I’ve networked with other activities boards and many fantastic agents. For example, at the last national conference, I was able to meet Cupid, who created the popular line dance song the Cupid Shuffle. Not only that, but this organization has taught me many skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving, organization, event planning, communication, and so much more. This organization has been my passion for so long, and the people involved have become my family. Much like a family, we’re not perfect, but we truly care about what we do, our members, and A&M-Texarkana community.”

McNiel is quick to give credit to the students. “I have thought for a long time that I had the privilege of working with some of the best students around,” she said. “I’m thrilled that others are taking notice of the quality of students and programs that we put on at A&M-Texarkana. Each of these students gives us a lot of their time and energy and, frankly, without them, a lot of what we do wouldn’t even be possible.”

Nix encourages other students to become active in the Campus Activities Board and student life. “If you’re looking to get involved on campus, become a leader, make friends or simply have fun, this is the perfect organization to join,” Nix said. “Being involved in the CAB is an awesome experience, which has many rewards and opportunities. Membership is free and open to all students at A&M-Texarkana. CAB’s goal is to provide quality programming for the A&M-Texarkana community.”

Students who participate in CAB can be as involved as their schedules will permit.

“This organization thrives because of its members, and we care about recognizing our members for their hard work. There are so many benefits from joining this organization, such as learning valuable skills that can be helpful in your field, building relationships with other students, and getting rewards for your membership. We use a point system that provides awards for simple things like coming to meetings and helping out at events. Another added benefit is that you have the opportunity to have your voice heard and be part of the event planning process.”

For more information, contact CAB at cab@tamut.edu or stop by the Office of Student Life in University Center 126.

Celeste McNiel

Celeste McNiel


  • 7101 University Ave
  • Texarkana, TX 75503
  • p: 903.223.3000
  • f: 903.223.3104
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