May 2019 saw the return of the annual Celebrating Success series of awards.
These awards are organised by the Students’ Union and recognise student achievements both within the SU and across campus. Students are able to nominate themselves, peers, groups or projects that have had a positive impact on student life or the wider community, and the awards cover a diverse range of categories which were presented at various events throughout May. These were the Athletic Union, Community Impact, Media, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, Societies, Student Rep, Contribution to the Workplace, Alumni Achievement and NUMed Awards. Aside from the Athletic Union Awards which were presented at the AU Ball at the Lancastrian Suite, and the NUMed Awards, which celebrate student success at Newcastle University’s Malaysia campus, all the ceremonies this year were held in Venue in the Students’ Union.
A selection of the most impressive winners from each ceremony was consequently nominated for the Pride of Newcastle Awards, which celebrates extra-curricular activities and how these have contributed to both the student body and the wider community, whether it be local, national or even international. This year the Pride of Newcastle event was held at the Civic Centre on 6 May with an audience of students, university staff, graduate recruiters and city leaders.
Celebrating three years as the captain of the Tennis Club, Corey Chan won the Outstanding Contribution to Sport Award. Discussing his win, Chan said: “I feel privileged to have captained such a great team for so long and I’m blown away that so many team members and other students have nominated me for the award this year. Even without this award, I am elated with the season we have had, securing our second promotion in three years and also winning the Conference Cup for the first time. It feels especially humbling to be recognised at the Pride Awards and it really is the icing on the cake this year. It’s fantastic that the University celebrates success in all fields, and it was an opportunity to witness all the fantastic achievements by our students and societies. I am proud to be a part of and to have represented Newcastle University and I’d like to thank them again for this award.”
After winning the Individual Award for Outstanding Contribution to Societies at the Societies Awards, Haaris Qureshi consequently won the Award for Outstanding Contribution to Student Life. This was in recognition of his hard work as Station Manager at NUTV, Disability Officer in the SU and Mind the Gap Conference Lead, among other accolades. Speaking of his victories, Haaris said: "It's a lovely way to mark five years of being involved with student life, societies and media at NUSU. NUSU has given so much to me, literally defining me and my aspirations, and I hope I've done my bit in return to help develop opportunities so my fellow students also get the same beneficial and amazing student experience.”
Following his success at the Media Awards, where he won the much-coveted Monica Doughty Award, Harry Parsons was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Arts, Media and Culture Award. This was in recognition of his unparalleled dedication to NSR and the Courier, including being NSR Station Manager, working as a Sports Sub-Editor at the Courier and introducing the NUSU election debates.
Dentistry student Siobhan Ewens won the Outstanding Contribution to Lifelong Health and Wellbeing Award for setting up a group which has delivered essential oral health education sessions to over 300 children in Wallsend, and Séphora Zita won the Outstanding Contribution to the Workplace Award, celebrating her four years as a Student Language Ambassador.
Two societies based at the Newcastle University Malaysia campus saw international recognition for their successes at the awards; the Voltage Society won the Outstanding Contribution to the Community Award, while Volunteer in Me won the Outstanding Contribution to Global Outlook Award after creating a student-led website to share information on volunteering opportunities.
Following its impressive range of society collaborations and events, the Afro-Caribbean Society won the Outstanding Contribution to Diversity and Cultural Awareness Award, and student Ngozi Ossai won the Outstanding Contribution to Innovation, Creativity & Enterprise Award through her creation of her own haircare brand for the afro-textured community.
Maddie Baugh and the It Happens Here Society won the Outstanding Contribution to the Student Voice Award following their participation in the #thisisnotconsent campaign, while Stu Brew won the Outstanding Contribution to Sustainability and the Environment Award following research into single-use plastic kegs and initiatives to reduce waste.
The successes of Newcastle University graduates were also celebrated at the Pride of Newcastle through the Alumni Achievement Awards. Maria Nazarova-Doyle won the Rising Star Award in celebration of her work in encouraging women to enter the finance industry, while the Alumni Impact Award was won by Dr. Theo Anagnostopoulos a science communicator and a social entrepreneur who works to make science more accessible to a broad range of people.
The night culminated with the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence. This was presented to Bridget Stratford from North East Solidarity and Teaching, which is a student-run project with over 400 student volunteers which has been nominated for Times Higher Education awards. NEST aims to help integrate refugees and asylum seekers into the North East by providing free English lessons, among other activities. Through her incredible dedication to NEST, Bridget has demonstrated continuous contribution to both student life and the wider community.
Ultimately this awards season saw a fantastic celebration of student successes within the University, the Union and the wider community.