Daily News Clips
Office of the Chancellor / Public Affairs
Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Monterey Herald 7-27-03

Scrummin' it up with the best of 'em
By Tammy Krikorian


Friends call her Red. Others call her Carrie. But Carolyn Drouin has recently earned another nickname -- Student of the Year.

Each year, Cal State Monterey Bay selects one student to receive the President's Award for for Exemplary Student Achievement. The recipient is also the only student to speak at graduation.

"She was nominated and selected because of the breadth and depth of her involvement on campus," said Andy Klingelhoefer, director of residential life at CSUMB, who also noted Drouin's "community awareness and civic mindedness."

In her five years at CSUMB, Drouin, 23, was involved in a variety of activities from student government to orientation leader to the women's rugby club.

"I don't know anybody who doesn't know her because she's always involved in 10 things at a time," said Nicole Jones, Drouin's roomate. "She gets along with everybody."

Perhaps Drouin's most remarkable act was her leadership on the women's rugby team, a club sport at CSUMB.

"The rugby team probably wouldn't exist without her. She carried the load," Klingelhoefer said. "She pushed for support wherever she could get it -- she was very instrumental."

Drouin said when she came to CSUMB she had never played rugby before, but the summer after graduating from high school, she had seen a clip of Stanford's mens rugby on TV and thought it was interesting.

CSUMB had a women's rugby club, and Drouin played on a new squad her freshmen year. The coach left at the end of the year and men's varsity rugby was dropped to club status.

"I took over as captain and trained the new players with only one year of experience," Drouin said.

The team has been looking for a coach ever since.

"She does is because she loves it and loves us and cares about the team," Jones, who is also a teammate, said. "She's the type of person I can count on."

Regular season for the rugby team is typically in February and March. CSUMB plays San Jose State University, UC Santa Cruz, Sacramento State University and Santa Clara University. During the fall semester, they play pick-up games to give rookie players game-time and, once the season ends, they play in tournaments.

The team lost all league games this year, but won one of four games played at their most tournament, held in Las Vegas in June.

"Because we don't have a coach, a lot of the players don't take it seriously," Drouin said. "All the players are learning off my one year of having a coach."

Drouin said the lack of experience also makes it difficult to develop plays and strategies. Yet, despite it's disappointing win-loss record, the team was named "Sports Organization of the Year" by other clubs on campus -- each club gets one vote and Drouin estimates there are about 30.

As both president and captain, Drouin has been responsible for organizing and leading practices, contacting other teams to arrange schedules and doing paperwork. Because of the amount of work involved, the job will be split among three people when Drouin leaves -- a president and two co-captains.

Since Drouin has graduated, she can no longer play on the team, but has expressed interest in staying on as coach.

"I told (the team) if they can get the funds together and send me to a coaches clinic I'll be happy to do that," she said. "I was worried because when I left for a semester for an internship in Washington D.C. they didn't really do anything."

But Rugby isn't her only concern.

A human communications major with emphasis on pre-law, Drouin minored in sports administration through the health and wellness institute.

For now, the Lodi, Calif. native is staying on the Monterey Peninsula looking for work in a law firm or a politicians office, but hasn't had any luck. In the meantime, she's waitressing part-time.

Looking at her resume, it's hard to believe she's still searching.

Drouin was instrumental in implementing e-voter registration at CSUMB, an electronic system to increase the number of students to vote.

"She chaired the committee and I sat in it with her," said Alethea De Soto, director of student activities and career development at CSUMB. "We had to develop policies and procedures. She did a really good job making sure it worked."

With the help of student government, Drouin also put together a voter registration fair and got 10 percent of students registered. She invited political parties to hand out information on propositions. Various clubs and organizations on campus also participated, including the Lobby Corps Community which lobbies local senators.

"It got students involved in more activities," Drouin said.

For the 2003-2003 school year, Drouin served as a statewide affairs representative for student government. Part of her responsibilities included travelling to various CSU campuses where other student delegates would get together to discuss student affairs, such as the budget and voter registration.

Drouin has also served as a Panetta Congressional intern in Sam Farr's office in Washington, D.C. and been involved with the Multicultural Club, the Student Grievance Commitee and the Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee, among others.

Jones said one exceptional trait Drouin posseses is her genuineness.

"She's really into politics, but she doesn't put up that politician front," Jones said. "She means what she says."

Drouin said she was honored to recieve the award, but also sad because she's friends with some of the other nominees. She credits the intimate atmosphere at CSUMB for allowing her to be involved in so many activities.

"CSUMB is really unique -- because of it's size there's a lot of opportunities to step up and take on leadership roles," Drouin said.

"She is a really well balanced individual and she exemplifies the type of student CSUMB produces," De Soto said. "She's a very giving, well-rounded person and she's contributed a lot to our community.

"We'll miss her a lot, but she's a bright young lady and she'll do good things elsewhere."