The National Societies & Volunteering Awards recognise the contributions of student volunteers and student-led societies from UK higher and further education institutions. This year Student Hubs is honoured to be hosting the awards in partnership with Organised Fun.
Since Student Volunteering Week in February we have been watching the nominations come flying in. We received over 340 nominations from 52 different institutions. It’s been a joy to read all the incredible things students have been doing over the past year across the country. Our judging panels start this week, and over the next three weeks, student leaders and sector specialists will be reviewing the top 12 nominations in each category – the longlist – and identifying the shortlist (top 6 nominations), winners and runners up.
Today we are excited to announce the longlist for each category. We received so many wonderful nominations, it was really hard to pick the longlist to go forward to the judging panels. We want to recognise everyone this year, and hope that even if you didn’t make it through this round, you’ll still join us on 23rd May in Reading for the in-person awards evening.
Take a look below to see if you made it! We would have loved to include everyone’s entire nomination but to make it more accessible, key details about each nomination has been lifted from their application.
The Collaboration Award
Recognising those that have worked alongside others to achieve something special, the collaboration award celebrates students who have worked together, across different groups or teams. We know that collaboration takes work, time, and dedication, but can have a huge impact.
Notts Oscars Awards at Nottingham Trent Students Union held by Film Society, Filmmaking Society, Swift Society, Drama Society and Events Society
This was their first time working as a team, and for many of the organising committee it was their first big event as well. This was an event inspired and fuelled by the collective passions of all five societies and was amazing to watch unfold as it utilised the skills of all the different students involved. The idea was born from how much the five groups enjoyed watching the Oscars on TV, and the idea that they could create an interactive, mock version of that event. The overriding reason for which this group of students and their event are deserving of the award is the dedication with which they approached their plans, and the teamwork they demonstrated in achieving their eventual goal.
Entrepreneurs Society and Computer Science Hackathon at Exeter Students’ Guild.
Through their collaboration, and also with JunctionX, they organised what is set to be the largest hackathon event in the Southwest, with opportunities for around 120 students to showcase their abilities at solving real-world problems brought to the table by international companies such as Atos. This collaboration brings together the community within Exeter University by connecting students with knowledge and passion for innovation and computer science. Furthermore, it provides critical skills development that helps with employability, connects students directly to employers, and increases global recognition of Exeter University through the JunctionX brand.
One Health Bristol at University of Bristol.
Earlier this year One Health Bristol collaborated with INSPIRE to organise a One Health Showcase. The aim of this event was to bring together students from various institutions and allow them to showcase the research they conducted within One Health. The end goal was to demonstrate how interrelated different disciplines can be and how research conducted in one field often has applications within other fields. One Health Bristol has historically struggled to attract non-veterinary students, but during this last year they have outdone themselves in terms of diverse faculty engagement. With the help of various collaborations with multifaceted groups such as INSPIRE as well as smaller, faculty specific groups like Centaur and Galenicals, they were able to reach a significant number of students from other faculties.
Labour Society at Exeter Students’ Guild.
The society have worked with 16 societies and groups this year (Politics Society, Debate Society, Conservative Association, Liberal Democrat Society, Socialist Students, Feminist Society, Pro-Choice Society, Xpression FM, All Hands Together, Be the Change, Period Poverty, UN Women, UCU Exeter, Exeter Labour for a Green New Deal and Devon Rape Crisis). The society is also involved politically in the local area, and cohosted a discussion on climate change with Exeter Labour for a Green New Deal highlighting their reach and activism both inside and out of the university. Focusing on local political collaboration, the Labour Society had an event on the 27th of January where the Labour Parliamentary Prospective Candidates for Exeter and four other local constituencies, giving students the opportunity to hear from some potential future MPs, whilst also collaborating themselves and giving members a chance to network.
Elevate NI at Queen’s University Belfast.
A small group within the computing society committee came together and ran their first ever student conference, held in the QUB SU building on Friday 3rd March. They included almost every society at Queens that they could get involved, led by students for students. Having about 70 attendees (and more getting involved on the day) covering topics from Disability and Inclusion, Chess for beginners, LGBT+ Sexual health and wellbeing, Game Design, to more subject specific talks from Physics, Maths, Politics, Primary Education. They included sponsorship from local companies, mostly tech companies to hold a charity raffle and raise money for Pure Mental NI!
RAG and Paramedic Society at University of Worcester.
On 13th-14th March 9am-9am the RAG Team and Paramedic Society ran an 24 hour CPR Training marathon. This event was put on as a fundraiser but also to promote awareness of CPR and how important it is to administer as it could save a life. It was completely free to enter and available to all staff and student to come and take part. It consisted of someone administering CPR to a training dummy for a whole 24 hours as well as a training area for people to come and learn further and gain confidence in delivering CPR. All money fundraised was split between two charities, Beat the Clock, a charity that strives to ensure their are more local and accessible defibrillators and Blood Bikes, in honour of the late student paramedic Shane Davies, who unfortunately passed away this year.
This event has had a huge impact as it has taught people a life saving skill. 200 people took part and can now confidently administer CPR, they knock on effect that can have is unquantifiable. Student groups and staff all came together to not only learn but to complete these challenge of administering CPR for 24-hr which is not an easy as the process is tiring and physically draining, but together these students achieved it.
Audrey Lo (Bristol Hub) at University of Bristol.
Audrey Lo is a 2nd year Social Policy student who has been engaged with Bristol Hub volunteering projects for 18 months. As Campaigns Coordinator they have collaborated with the Sustainability Network to explore student voices around the Conference of the Parties 27 themes and share student thoughts with the conference and university to ensure everyone is heard. Additionally, they ran a campaign for LGBT+ History Month, Audrey connected with the LGBTQ+ society and the local university TV society (UBTV) to run a creative space campaign, resulting in video interviews of several students exploring what being queer means for them and submitting pieces from around the university celebrating queer history. Audrey’s best collaboration this year was her work in getting academics involved with Bristol Hub. The Hub had not had a lot of engagement with academics championing or understanding the benefits that come from volunteering outside of the admission teams that support us with recruitment. This year, Audrey ran two more professional events to involve academics sharing their passions around social and environmental issues in the community, and the research they have done to engage with it.
The Charity Showcase at Essex Students’ Union.
Oluwanifemi Wilson-Adu, Kieran Phillips, Edward Lee, William Tennison, Dorothy Akuamoa worked as a team to produce the first ever charity showcase for a local charity to raise vital funds for their work whilst also giving students from all areas of the uni the opportunity to perform on the main stage on campus. The event attracted 150 members to the show and this alongside a sponsored walk in the lead up to the show raised over £1200 for the charity. In particular, the One Man Down show which was the entire second act of the showcase shows exactly why these students deserve this award. The show was an original piece written and directed by some of the above students and it was based on the real life story of a testicular cancer survival who works closely with the students as the Robin Cancer Trust outreach manager. To take someones story and make it a play to perform in front of them and many others to raise money for charity, raise awareness of testicular cancer and bring hope to those currently fighting the illness, is something that every single one of these students should be proud of and deserve to be recognised for.
UCL Film and TV Society at Students’ Union UCL.
UCL Film and TV Society and TeamUCL (specifically UCL Netball, UCL American Football, UCL Rugby and UCL Football) came together to create innovative student led content to promote the varsity programme and to stream the matches with live commentary and post match interviews so that all UCL and Kings students could access and support their clubs regardless. This was a beautiful example of an ArtsUCL group coming together with TeamUCL to create not only great, engaging content to celebrate and showcase varsity, but to provide opportunities for live production, presenting and design for film society members.
The content was extremely high quality, with multiple camera angles, roaming interviews and live graphics, all arranged, designed and operated by UCL Film and TV society. They meticulously planned their work over the five day event, with the venues being all over London. They personally organised and transported all of the equipment to each game, set-up, tested and produced the live streams independently with the sports clubs.
Engineers without Borders Glasgow.
Engineers Without Borders Glasgow ran a Sustainability in Engineering Conference in Freshers’ Week in collaboration with EWB Strathclyde. The conference aimed to address problems within the engineering curriculum by bringing together students from across various universities and colleges in Glasgow to push for positive change within engineering education!
The conference was highly educational, providing attendees with a wealth of information and insights into the role of engineering in creating a more sustainable future. Through its various panels, workshops, and presentations, the conference helped to deepen our understanding of the subjects we are studying and the impact that engineering can have on the world
Salsa and Bachata Societies at Northumbria University and Newcastle University.
The two rival societies in Newcastle collaborated this year to improve students’ experience and the level of dance classes. Two society committees worked together to deliver the best possible experience for students. Since the taster sessions they organised different activities for students almost weekly. Including ice skating, a trip to a museum, going for a walk, playing pool, a beach trip, a traffic light social at a club with a ball pit, a collaboration ball, karaoke night, Halloween costume competition, board games night and so on. Many students complimented the society because it is a non-drinking society as most of our socials were sober socials.
The March for All at Essex Students’ Union
The March for All was a peaceful demonstration on 10th February 2023, which was held in solidarity with all victims of sexual violence and harassment, no matter their gender, cultural background, sexuality, religion, or any other characteristic, to highlight how anyone can be affected by such crimes. At the end of the march, the group watched two students, the VP Welfare, and one alumni – the previous Women’s Officer – deliver speeches on the subject. Some were celebratory in regards to the significant progress that has been made on campus, others were solemn considering how much needs to be done across the world, and how they had coped with their personal experiences of sexual violence.
The Wellbeing Ambassadors volunteers also provided welfare support. These volunteers are trained for empathetic listening and signposting, which was essential considering the potentially triggering nature of the event. They ensured that during the speeches it was made clear where students could go to access support, on and off campus, if they are affected by these issues. This also meant that passers-by may be hearing this information and learned how to access help, in addition to the marchers.
You can get your tickets to the in-person awards ceremony on Tuesday 23rd May at 3Sixty Reading, at Reading University Students’ Union here. Early Bird ticket prices are available till 21st April!