EAST LANSING, Mich. — Four recipients were honored by the East Lansing City Council yesterday at the 2020 Crystal Awards ceremony, which was livestreamed and can still be viewed on the City of East Lansing’s Facebook and YouTube pages: https://www.facebook.com/cityofeastlansing and https://www.youtube.com/cityofeastlansing.
The Crystal Awards program is hosted annually by the City Council and serves to honor individuals, businesses, professionals, nonprofits and community groups that have made an outstanding contribution to community life in East Lansing. Crystal Awards nominations are submitted by community members and then reviewed by a community selection committee, with three to four recipients selected and honored each year. While the in-person community reception that typically takes place in April was postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis, the event was re-envisioned to include a small, outdoor, physically distanced ceremony for this year’s recipients, which was livestreamed for community members to view.
This year’s recipients are:
Ginger Ogilvie - Ever since Ginger Ogilvie moved with her family to East Lansing approximately 15 years ago, she has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to make the community a better place to live. With a focus on improving safety for school children who walk and bike to school, Ogilvie has stepped up to dedicate countless hours of volunteer time to the Safe Routes to School program in East Lansing. This work has included previous and ongoing efforts to secure grant funds for infrastructure improvements and non-infrastructure resources, helping to make the Walk to School and Bike to School days for the East Lansing Public Schools (ELPS) a success and working to provide important educational opportunities to ELPS students about biking and walking safety. Ogilvie was also on the committee that worked to bring back the East Lansing Farmers Market in 2008 and, as a resident of the Southeast Marble Neighborhood, one of Ogilvie’s first big projects in East Lansing was to work alongside City of East Lansing staff to plan and raise community funds for the conversion of a small parcel of City-owned land into the pocket park known today as Hidden River Park. There is evidence of Ogilvie’s hard work all around East Lansing…. from Hidden River Park to the newly painted and well-lit crosswalk at the John R-Burcham intersection to the thriving Southeast Marble community Facebook page that she moderates and so much more. As soon as she started her own small business, she also started donating gift certificates for her services to school auctions and other charitable events. Everything Ogilvie does is in service to other people. She has a unique ability to be effective as a leader in pushing projects forward, but in a way that is deeply rooted in compassion and kindness.
Meegan Holland - An engaged citizen, good neighbor, community leader, goodwill ambassador and enthusiastic supporter – those are the words Meegan Holland’s nominators use to describe her. They also describe her as relentlessly positive, welcoming and inclusive. Holland is a master of social media and promotes what she loves and attends in real time, whether it’s a Wharton Center performance, an MSU basketball game, a gallery opening or a call for artists for the East Lansing Art Festival (ELAF). After purchasing a home in the Glencairn Neighborhood, Holland immediately became active in her neighborhood association (she currently serves as secretary) and wanted to learn as much as she could about the workings of her City’s government, so she signed up to participate in the 2015 East Lansing Emerging Leaders Program and the East Lansing Police Department’s Citizens’ Police Academy. She was subsequently appointed to the East Lansing Arts Commission and continues to serve on that commission today. Additionally, Holland is a board member of the Capital Region Community Foundation, a member of MSU’s International Newcomer Mentoring Program and has served as a presenter and panel moderator for both the Summer Solstice Jazz Festival (SSJF) and Great Lakes Folk Festival. Holland is a model community member and participates in community events not only with her presence, but also with her financial support. She has embraced East Lansing as her community and is continually promoting, supporting and participating in what the City has to offer. She makes East Lansing a better place to live.
Ralph Monsma - Ralph Monsma’s commitment to civic engagement in East Lansing and the Greater Lansing region spans over several decades. He is a past East Lansing City Councilmember, served many years on the Pinecrest Neighborhood Association Board and served on the Capital Area Transportation Authority Board for more than 35 years. He also previously served on the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission and continues to work with The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope program. Through his involvement with Pathway of Hope, Monsma has been a mentor to individuals, helping them to obtain IDs, housing and employment. Monsma continues to keep a finger on the pulse of the City of East Lansing and readily shares his knowledge of the rich history of East Lansing with fellow community members. He is dedicated to improving the community and has become a go-to guy for many in the Pinecrest Neighborhood. One of his nominators noted that Monsma is not the one up front taking credit or making headlines. He is the one working tirelessly behind the scenes on something he cares deeply about.
Konrad Hittner - Konrad Hittner has been an actively engaged citizen in the East Lansing community for many years. He previously served on the East Lansing Zoning Board of Appeals, as chair of the East Lansing Transportation Commission and as chair and, now, vice chair of the Bailey Community Association. He also recently served on the City of East Lansing’s 2020 Census Complete Count Committee. In his leadership roles with the Bailey Community Association, Hittner has handled rentals for the Orchard Street Pump House and has helped with organizing several neighborhood events and fundraisers, including ice cream socials and neighborhood luminary sales (with proceeds dedicated to the Pump House). He also has streamlined the association’s meetings, eliminated the neighborhood’s printed newsletter for those with email access and has always been willing to help address the needs of the neighborhood and its residents. Hittner is a dedicated, hard-working and generous East Lansing resident who has contributed to the City on so many different levels, with a high level of professionalism and dedication.