By Patrick Sullivan, Co-Editor-in-Chief
The SU Awards season concluded with a grand event on Thursday 13 June where a wide range of students, staff, and societies received recognition.
To celebrate the end of the academic year and the student activities taken place, Bristol SU hosted their annual awards season across the week: Society Awards on Monday 10 June, Sports Awards on Wednesday 12 June, and the SU Awards on Thursday 13 June.
Hindu Society won the headline ‘Society of the Year’ award for the second time, after success in 2016, while also winning ‘Culture or Faith Society of the Year’ and being nominated for ‘The Good Times Award’ at the Society Awards. Their event with Bollywood Dance Society, Sri Lankan Society, Tamil Society, and Punjabi Society, ‘singing, acting, and dancing extravaganza’ East Meets West, won the ‘Collaboration Award’, the same prize it received back in 2017.
While presenting their ‘Society of the Year’ award, for which Bollywood Dance and Chaos were also nominated, outgoing Union Affairs Officer Stanford said: ‘All the nominated societies have done unreal work for providing a community. A lot of students face isolation when they first come to university and all the nominations said they felt at home in these societies.
‘Hindu Society has taken a leading role in the participation of events promoting diversity and inclusion. [...] They’re also just a bunch of legends.’
A group from Hindu Society also performed Thursday night, opening proceedings with a musical production from their band who fuse Western and Indian musical styles. Following the earlier accompaniment - to a near constant supply of prosecco and orange juice - by Jazz Funk Soul Society, it set a feel-good spirit for proceedings.
This was maintained by outgoing Unions Affair Officer Stanford during his introductory speech, and then by fellow outgoing officers and hosts Vanessa Wilson (Student Living), Nasra Ayub (Undergraduate Education), and Sally Patterson (Equality, Liberation, and Access). All six of the outgoing officers, those mentioned above, as well as Shubham Singh (Postgraduate Education) and Ginny Troughton (Sports & Student Development) were presented with Honorary Lifetime Memberships, along with other notable departing students and staff.
Two other key awards on Thursday were received by individuals or groups working to improve BAME representation. The ‘University of Bristol Staff Member Award’ went to Robiu Salisu, whose announcement received the biggest applause of the night, for his work as Student Inclusion Officer (BAME).
Later in the evening, the BME Network won the ‘Equality and Diversity Award’. Eva Larkai, BME Network Chair, told Epigram: ‘Irrespective of whether we won the award or not, the people we were able to connect with has been incredible to set the pace for future years.
‘I feel there’s been a move on campus to accommodate the needs and views of BME students and it’s been great to support and spearhead a lot of work that will have a lasting impact at the University.’
The ‘Campaigns Award’ was given to Bristol Student Staff Solidarity Group, who have run notable campaigns on campus including the Mental Health Marches and Cut The Rent. As they went up on stage, they made clear that the latter campaign was still ongoing, displaying large banners on the issue. Before guests arrived, they had placed flyers atop of the event programmes laid out at the table places.
Ruth Day, also nominated for the ‘Student Leader Award’, said: ‘It means a lot to be recognised by the SU, who we’ve worked really closely with, and the award shows the power of student groups.
‘It’s a basic right to have clean, affordable housing. The next step for Cut The Rent is to continue the rent strike and try to win compensation for students in poor quality accommodation.’
Elsewhere, Amy-Leigh Hatton, President of Student Action for Refugees, won the ‘Student Leader Award’; Maddy Kunkler won the ‘Sustainability Award’ for her work for Sustainability Month; Shivali Sharma of Nightline won the ‘Volunteering Award’; and Epigram’s Ed Southgate and Cameron Scheijde won the ‘Contribution to Student Media Award’ for their efforts this past year as co-Editors-in-Chief. The rest of the winners can be seen below.
Many other societies and sports clubs were presented awards at the Society and Sports Awards respectively, with 23 student groups or individuals winning prizes. The full list of winners for those events can also be seen below. All nominees can be seen on the Bristol SU website.
Featured Image credit: Epigram / Patrick Sullivan
Did your favourite societies win big at the SU Awards?