Every year, we come together to celebrate some of the fantastic work that our student groups do; be it their fabulous events, their contributions to the local community, or highlighting individuals that have contributed tremendously to The SU over the years.
This year it was supposed to be a big one- and we aren’t just saying that. Throughout the course of the year, staff and officers within The SU had been working behind the scenes to plan a full-scale, Oscars-style celebration hosted at Komedia and including an afterparty open to all. When we made the tough decision to cancel the awards, we were absolutely gutted; not only because of all the planning, but more importantly because we always love sharing such a magical evening with our student groups. However, the impact of this virus shouldn’t stop us coming together as a community and celebrating these achievements. After reading all the nominations it became apparent that we would be doing a huge disservice to our student groups by not celebrating in some way, so we went virtual.
The first award was Best New Group. This award is for a group that’s new to The SU this academic year and to celebrate how they’ve grown from nothing with a brand-new committee. Congratulations to Bath Tamil Society for winning this award for the fabulous range of events run throughout the year to share their culture and make students feel so at home.
The next award presented was Most Improved Group. This award is for any group that has shown significant growth and development over the past year and was a tightly contested one. This year, Bath University Boob Team were the recipients of this awards as they gained more than 100 new members (including increasing their male percentage from 7% to 20%), doubled their Instagram following and also collaborated with many groups to raise funds for charity. Well done!
Best Collaboration is an award for groups that have worked together on an event or campaign throughout the year. Save The Planet from your Plate was a speaker talk in Claverton Rooms about a plant-based diets and improving your overall health followed by a meal. Tickets for this event sold out before the event and there were even more tickets sold on the door. Congratulations to Bath University Baking Appreciation Society, Meditation Society, People & Planet and Vegetarian Society for collaborating so well on this event!
Our next award was the Change Makers Award. This award is for any group or individual who has worked to make a change to improve the student community, or on local, national or global issues. Student Minds received this award for their fantastic work on personal tutoring and how the system has an impact on students’ mental health. The launch of the ‘Time for Tutees’ campaign included focus groups with both staff and students and had such a big impact this year.
Best Fundraising Event is a pretty self-explanatory award. We’ve seen some really fantastic fundraising initiatives this year from all of our student groups and a staggering amount has been raised for charity. This award went to LGBT+ for their Drag for RAG night. This was the very first award of its kind at the University of Bath and was so well received by everyone that attended. In total, £769 was raised for Off the Record, a charity in Bath that focuses on improving the emotional health and wellbeing of young people, and particularly those who identify as LGBT+ - such a fabulous event for an incredible cause
The next award presented was Event of the Year. Our groups are well known for putting on great events for members and non-members alike including one-offs or events that happen year upon year. Bath University Guides and Scouts received the award for their Roman Rally. This was a Roman themed weekend camp for over 300 students from 39 Universities.
Our SU groups wouldn’t be half as great without the dedication of our committee members. These are the people that are responsible for the success of a particular group. Committee Member of the Year is an award that we give out each year to an individual that’s gone above and beyond for their committee. This year we’re proud to be awarding this to Yousuf Alghurair for Nightline. Yousuf has completed over 400 hours of volunteering for Nightline over the past 3 years and his caring, driven and inspirational approach has been so important to the volunteers and other committee members.
Committee of the Year is given to a committee that has shown such dedication to the group they’re a part of. This year, People and Planet have gone from strength to strength and have been working closely with the University and The SU on their climate strategy. They’ve also been working with the Accommodation and Hospitality Services to implement food waste bins around campus and running sustainable events. Congratulations!
Student Groups do a lot to help out in the local community; not just through fundraising. As Bath has such a high population of students, it’s always great to hear stories of them contribution to the local community. This year, Bath University Debating Society have won Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community for their work with local schools. They hosted a debating competition for local schools and taught students vital skills in public speaking and debating. This is something a lot of the children wouldn’t usually have access to and has made a really impact to their confidence.
We were then joined by The SU’s Chief Executive, Andrew McLaughlin who presented Outstanding Individual Contribution. We had so many fantastic nominations that choosing just one winner was tough. In the end, the award was given to Simon Connolley. Throughout his time as a Nightline volunteer, he has been on shift for more than 1000 hours. Simon's passion for giving others the possibility to speak up has also led him to be on the committee for Enable, which he successfully relaunched into the Disability Action Group this year. All in all, Simon’s commitment, honesty, and passion make him such a deserving winner of this award and we’re all going to miss your smiling face around The SU next year.
There were two other nominees that we though deserved a special mention and both Mitch Thorngate and Lyam England received Highly Commended. Mitch has been described as the beating heart of URB and has been a positive example to all of the new members over the years. The list of all of the things that Mitch does is too long for us to type out, quite frankly, and he’s always going above and beyond to help out within Student Media and The SU in general. Lyam England has been RAG Chair for the past year and has “basically single-handedly run RAG this year”. He’s consistently thought of new ways to help raise money and has been a real support to the new Volunteer Co-ordinators as they get settled into their roles. Congratulations to both of you.
Our last award of the evening was Best Overall Group, and we were honoured to have Professor Ian White, University Vice Chancellor presenting this award. The winner of the best overall group was Nightline. They’ve been working really hard this year to raise awareness of their work. They’ve made sure that Nightline was open every night of the semester and have really focused on supporting their volunteers. The positive impact they have on our community is indescribable, and they provide such a vital service. As one of the nominations said, “they give up an uninterrupted nights sleep for a stranger on the other end of the phone, even though they too are a student themselves with deadlines and exams”
We also wanted to give Bath Arab Society a Highly Commended in this category. This group has had such a positive impact on its members, particularly Freshers who said that being part of the group made them feel more settled at University. They tripled their membership over the course of this year and put on new events open to everyone, regardless of nationality.
We wanted to try and replicate the same feeling we have in the traditional awards ceremony online, which was no easy feat. Thank you to everyone that sent in video submissions for us to include, notably Bath Indian Society and Salsa Soc who sent performances for us to include throughout the stream. We also want to take this moment to thank Jordan Edwards, our fantastic compere. Jordan, the awards ceremony really wouldn’t have been the same without your jokes, location-changes (thanks for reminding us how much we miss the royal crescent) and support in general throughout this lockdown period! Thank you to everyone that watched along with us, and to everyone that was nominated for an award, thank you for your incredible contributions. We hope wherever you were in the world you were celebrating x
To see the full shortlist and to watch the awards ceremony back, head to thesubath.com/suawards