The Excellence in Volunteering Awards (EVAs) 2012 were held on Thursday night (May 3rd) in The Cube, hosted for SUSUtv’s live stream by presenter Chris Pate. The event, organised primarily by VP Student Engagement Shane Murphy, was intended to recognise the volunteering efforts of Southampton University students within the Students’ Union (SUSU), and this year saw a total of 31 awards given out across seven categories. Scroll to the bottom of the article for a quick summary of all the winners.
The first category of the night was Collaboration, presented by VP Winchester Laura Gardner. Highly commended in this category were the Housing and Employment Law Clinics, student-led services of the University’s School of Law offering free advice on issues regarding housing and employment. The award was picked up by Employment Law Clinic volunteer Adam Calloway. Performing Arts collective SUSUPA Dance, comprised of eight dance societies within the department, were also highly commended for Collaboration. Gardner praised the group for forming a “real sense of community” amongst societies and students, and for putting on a range of popular events such as Pure Dance.
The winner of the Collaboration category was the team behind A Game of Sport, a period drama produced by members of SUSUtv, the Performing Arts and Wessex Films. Describing the film as “nothing short of a masterpiece”, Gardner praised the “incredibly professional” organisation of the production, which involved a team of around 50 students. The award was collected by co-directors and producers Carly Brown and Sam Beath, and writer Jamie Chadd, with Beath thanking all those who were involved and describing the experience of producing the film as “awesome”.
Following on from Collaboration, VP Student Engagement Shane Murphy presented the awards for the category of Impact, for which there were three highly commended nominees and one winner. Winchester School of Art student Graham Read was the first to be recognised, with Murphy describing his work with RAG as having a “resounding impact” on the students at the campus. Accepting his award, Read thanked his RAG colleagues for their help. Next to be highly commended was this year’s Glen Eyre JCR team, represented at the ceremony by President Brendan Westhoff and Welfare & Campaigns Officer Alice North. Westhoff thanked his predecessor Murphy, while North added further dedications to the rest of the JCR. SIFE Southampton received the third and final commendation in Impact, with President Chris Coates accepting the award and thanking the 131 members of the society for their commitment and hard work.
The winners of the EVA for Impact were the Medics Revue, a group of Medicine students who under the umbrella of Performing Arts produce a show every year to raise money for charity. This year they made national news with their production entitled ‘Welcome to Portswood!‘, a video parodying the various wonders and blunders of the titular area of the city set to the music of ‘Empire State of Mind’ by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys. The win marked Brendan Westhoff’s second recognition of the night, and the group thanked everyone involved in the production of the film for helping them to win the award.
Commitment was the third category of the night, presented by VP Welfare & Communities Frankie Fry. This was the most highly-competed category of the night, with a staggering 75 nominations in total. Sam Beath picked up his second award of the night with a highly commended recognition, echoing speeches from last year’s EVA ceremony by noting that “it’s easy to be committed to SUSU because we all love doing it”. The second highly commended nominee was RAG Officer Adam Moloney, described by Fry as someone with “never-ending energy and passion”. Collecting his award to rapturous applause, Moloney thanked his RAG team and “more importantly” his girlfriend, as well as everyone involved in the Union for doing a “cracking job”.
The winner of Commitment was Ethical & Environmental Officer Joshua Davies, who this year has been involved in the organisation of many high-profile events, not least the recent Southampton Blackout programme which involved over 250 student and staff volunteers. Fry praised Davies’s commitment to Trustee Board and to his various committees, as well as his spearheading of “a string of unbelievable events … all of which have been highly successful”. Picking up his award, Davies thanked Frankie Fry, Head of Commercial Development Tony Addison, and everyone else who he claimed to have helped him develop as both a student officer and a person.
VP Communications Joe Mclo presented the awards for Innovation, the category with the fewest nominations at just 18. Adam Moloney was again recognised for his dedication to RAG and “the overall good of SUSU”, with Mclo noting his “exuberating passion” for his area and the Union as a whole. Echoing what he had said only minutes earlier, Moloney added a thanks to his parents for teaching him the value of helping others. Disability Officer Matthew Higgins was the second highly commended nominee, praised for his impressive work on bringing disability issues to the forefront of student knowledge and even Parliament. Accepting his award, Higgins congratulated and thanked those involved in the Union for giving him the opportunity to make change.
The winner of the EVA for Innovation was Ben Morton, Station Manager-elect of Surge Radio, for his work on the new Surge website and, in particular, the “Listen Live and Request” Facebook application which received a silver award at this year’s Student Radio Awards. Taking time out from his role working with SUSUtv on the live stream of the EVAs, Morton made his way down from the gallery to accept his award onstage, thanking the rest of the Surge committee and everyone who helped him with the development of the new website.
Engagement was the next category, presented by VP Sports Development Jonny Brooks-Bartlett. Law Academic President Callum Beamish was the first to be highly commended, praised for his efforts throughout the year to engage with students from all three years of study in the Law School. Amy Nicholass, Secretary of Green Action, picked up the second highly commended recognition. The third highly commended award went to Nicola Manuel, Image Editor of the Wessex Scene.
The winner of Engagement was Claudia Bellwood, who was recognised for her efforts in the role of Dance Societies Representative on the Performing Arts committee. Bellwood took the stage for the second time of the evening, after collecting the SUSUPA Dance award in the first category, thanking the teams involved in the societies.
The category of Leadership, presented by VP Academic Affairs Sasha Watson, was the final of the standard awards to be given out at the ceremony. Highly commended first was Laur Evans, who unfortunately could not make the event herself; her award was accepted by Frankie Fry and Josh Davies. Second to be highly commended was Alice Rutherford, recognised for her work organising this year’s Humanities Ball.
The winner of the Leadership award, receiving his second recognition of the night, was Chris Coates, the President of SIFE Southampton. Again, Coates thanked his 131 members and received a large round of applause from the crowd. Speaking about leadership in particular, Coates specifically thanked his Vice Presidents, who he claimed had been great support for him throughout the year.
The final category was The Volunteer, described by Union President Sam Ling (who presented the category) as “the most prestigious award” of the Union, bestowing upon its 12 recipients honorary lifetime membership of SUSU. Past winners of this award have included now-sabbatical Shane Murphy, and former media department heads Dax Wood and Hayley Taulbut. Giving out the awards, Ling made some exceptionally passionate speeches regarding the volunteering efforts of the winners, showing his appreciation for their dedication to improving SUSU for the whole student body.
This year’s winners were drawn from many different areas of SUSU. Firstly, from SUSU Media, Surge Station Manager and VP Communications-elect David Gilani received The Volunteer. Presenting the award, Ling dubbed Gilani “Mr. SUSU” and claimed to be “excited to have the opportunity to work with him” as part of the Sabbatical team next year. Also from the media departments, SUSUtv Station Manager Dom Kullander, who next year will be working as the Development Officer on the National Student Television Association committee, added The Volunteer award to his Council Star from earlier in the year. From the Wessex Scene, Winchester Editor Emily Cotton was also recognised, praised for her work at bringing students at the Winchester campus into the production of the Union’s newspaper to a larger extent than before.
Under the remit of VP Student Engagement Shane Murphy, Union Films Cinema Manager Natalie Ralph was also awarded honorary life membership at the ceremony, but unfortunately had left early and so was unable to collect the award in person. Two members of the Performing Arts received The Volunteer award: Sam Beath picked up his third EVA of the night and reiterated his comments from his second speech (“I don’t deserve this award, but thanks anyway”), while Performing Arts Officer Peter “Peewee” Ward was also recognised for his dedication to the area. The final recipient of the night was Charlotte “Farley” Pearce, the founder and President of Health & Beauty Society which last year won an award for Innovation.
The remaining awards were given out to Law Academic President Callum Beamish, who dedicated the win to former President and mentor Charlie Jamieson; Physical & Applied Sciences Faculty Officer and Soton Tab Editor Luke O’Brien, who unfortunately could not make the event but was represented by a large team from his editorial team; Medicine student Nathan Highton; SIFE member Mike Austin; and Ridwan Barbhuiyan.
Excellence in Volunteering Awards 2012 winners
- H/C: Housing and Employment Law Clinic; SUSUPA Dance
- Winner: SUSUtv and Performing Arts: ‘A Game of Sport’
- H/C: Graham Read; Glen Eyre JCR 2011/12; SIFE Southampton
- Winner: Medics Revue
- H/C: Sam Beath; Adam Moloney
- Winner: Joshua Davies
- H/C: Matthew Higgins; Adam Moloney
- Winner: Ben Morton
- H/C: Callum Beamish; Amy Nicholass; Nicola Manuel
- Winner: Claudia Bellwood
- H/C: Alice Rutherford; Laur Evans
- Winner: Chris Coates
- Callum Beamish
- Charlotte Pearce
- David Gilani
- Dom Kullander
- Emily Cotton
- Luke O’Brien
- Mike Austin
- Natalie Ralph
- Nathan Highton
- Peter “Peewee” Ward
- Ridwan Barbhuiyan
- Sam Beath