May is the time when we traditionally celebrate just some of the achievements of our students and staff with the Volunteer of the Year and Make a Difference Awards. This year is certainly making a difference to our lives, but we didn’t want to let current circumstances stop us from recognising the amazing effort, hard work and achievements. So as with lots of things in life these days – on the 7th May we went virtual with both events!
Volunteer of the Year Awards
First, viewers tuned in to watch the Volunteer of the Year awards on the @UoMVolunteering Facebook page. The online ceremony announced the winners of the Social Justice Photography Competition as well as the staff, student and alumni winners of Volunteer of the Year awards. You can see all the winners and nominees online, but here’s’s as summary of the student winners:
Social Justice Photography competition: Overall winner
Stand by Me, I’ll Stand by You by Marie Guest, School of Social Sciences
Student Groups Category: Student Angels
Student Angels, a night-time safety initiative, sees teams of trained students heading out over the weekend to support the Manchester community through first aid, chats and getting people home safely.
Student Category: Holly Smith
Psychology student Holly won for her work with the Want Not Waste shop – a shop which provides sustainable goods, refillable dried products and recycles many items that are often thrown away. Her volunteering has seen the shop grow from a small outlet in the Students’ Union to its own premises.
Making A Difference Awards
Later on in the day, students, alumni and friends from around the world to celebrated the incredible and inspiring work of our University community in the Make a Difference Awards. They were broadcast online, with our winners joining Lemn Sissay, the University’s Chancellor, via Zoom to receive their awards.
The awards highlight the extensive range of social responsibility initiatives that our staff, students, alumni and external partners are involved in , and include categories such as research impact, widening participation, environmental sustainability and equality, diversity and inclusion.
A record number of 180 entries were submitted this year, with judges recognising 17 winners, 28 highly commended and two special recognition awards. Student winners included:
Refugee and Asylum Seekers’ Conversation Club: Alice Lavery
Refugee and Asylum Seekers’ Conversation Club are a student led volunteer group that runs conversational English lessons for refugees and asylum seekers across Manchester that aim to help ease their transition into life in the UK by improving language skills and providing a friendly and welcoming environment.
The Black Pharmacists Collective: Unekwuojo Agada and team.
The Black Pharmacists Collective (BPC) is a group of black MPharm undergraduate students, working together to close the enrolment and attainment gaps between white and black students. The BPC is working on improving access to studying, enhancing soft skills and widening career prospects of black students through events and workshops
The University’s commitment to social responsibility has never been more important, and another highlight of the evening was the debut of this short film that takes a look at just some examples of how our University community has been responding to the current crisis.
Details of all the winners and highly commended can be found on the social responsibility website and short films about each of our winners are available on the social responsibility YouTube channel or you can watch the whole event on Facebook (the event starts at about 17 minutes).