Many UI students are learning to make decisions that affect not only their college experiences but also their lives beyond the University. The IOWA Challenge urges students to make choices deliberately and thoughtfully, keeping overall goals in sight.

In 2015, the Office of the Vice President for Student Life and the Office of the Provost renamed the Choose Award the Kelly S. Bender Choose Award, in celebration of Kelly’s life and in recognition of her dedication to alcohol harm reduction work at the University of Iowa and in our surrounding communities. Embodying the spirit of this award, Kelly was a consistent voice behind the important message to students that they take their choices seriously and approach their new-found freedoms wisely. Under Kelly's direction, we achieved significant progress in harm reduction and a substantial increase in student involvement in harm reduction efforts. We all can be proud of Kelly’s time as a professional staff member in the Office of the Vice President for Student Life and her lasting impact on the University of Iowa, our surrounding communities, and the lives of countless students.

You can live Kelly's legacy, too, when you:

  • Choose a path that’s right for you—don’t let others choose for you, and surround yourself with people who support your choices.
  • As a student, you’ll be asked to set priorities and make choices in new ways. It’s okay to make mistakes but learn from the consequences of your decisions.
  • become a UI student can be liberating, but the demands can be unexpected, exhausting, and sometimes stressful. Learn when to seek advice or assistance.
  • Don’t be afraid to take risks that help you explore your goals, but don’t feel obligated to do things that aren’t in your best interests.