After a year of collaboration and preparation with the city council and local communities, the University and the Students’ Union presents a new student competition to find the Best Neighbour on Campus. The project, launched on Monday 5 February, aims to reward students who have been active members of their community and respectful neighbours.
"Students get a bad press because of the loud parties, the noise, or the litter and what this competition is about is actually showing that the majority of students are really decent people", said Marc Lintern, Careers Service Director.
A diverse judging panel, including residents, council representatives and Nick Brown, in order to determine the winners of the title and prize, will assess each month, nominated student households.
The Best Neighbour on Campus will receive up to £1,000 worth of contribution to living costs. The winning household will be able to choose whether the prize should be a contribution to rent, utility bills or food, excluding alcohol and tobacco. The prize is a real incentive for students to make an effort to get to know their neighbours and live in consideration of them.
“Students get a bad press because of the loud parties, the noise, or the litter, and what this competition is about is actually showing that the majority of students are really decent people"
Marc Lintern, Careers Service Director
To be eligible, households must be nominated by local residents with case studies of good work and consideration. Activities range from community volunteering to helping out a neighbour with small tasks to simply being considerate. For example, if a house party is planned, giving neighbours a few days’ notice and managing the volume of the music after a certain time is respectful. The Students’ Union GoVolunteer programme will be able to suggest local projects for students to get involved with.
Students do not have to be living in a popular student area such as Jesmond to be included. Any Newcastle University student household can be nominated. The initiative also appreciates that student households neighbour each other so residents could live across the street from active students.
Newcastle University stated that the aims of the campaign were to: ‘It will promote among residents the many good things which students are doing, which residents often don’t know about’ to encourage students to ‘think about things which could improve the relationship which they have with their neighbours’ and to ‘have an opportunity to meet with residents and other members of the judging panel, and discuss how things are going.’
The awards will run from February through to May and depending on the success of the initiative, awards will start again the following academic year.
Ultimately they aim is to remind students of social responsibility and to “build on some bridges”, improving relationships between students and local residents.
As representatives of the university in local areas, students have a chance to demonstrate respect and belonging to communities, and the scheme not only encourages but provides opportunity to do this.
Ronnie Reid, President of Newcastle University Student Union commented: I do hope that BNOC will be a great success, and illuminate much of the great work that students do when going above and beyond in the local community.
Often students get a bad wrap in Jesmond and across the city, but with a 16% decrease in anti-social behaviour, things are certainly moving in the right direction.
The awards will run from February through to May and depending on the success of the initiative, awards will start again the following academic year. Each winning household of this year will be invited to the Pride of Newcastle Awards Ceremony held at the Civic Centre on 7 June.