Staff Choice Award 2020


This award is chosen by the staff at the SU that work closely with students across a variety of activities and see the effort and passion students put into helping others and making a difference. This award will go to an individual or group that staff recognise have gone the extra mile and deserve recognition for their contribution.   

The winner is...

Oluwatimilehin Ajibode "Timmy" 

Timmy is now in his fourth year and has engaged in the Students’ Union for all 4 of these years. He has volunteered for the Give It A Go (GIAG) social sport programme for the last two years; leading on sessions, taking the register and collecting vital demographic information which has helped shape the programme to increase its success. This year Timmy has been responsible for both the Monday and Thursday GIAG indoor football sessions; which have been increasingly popular throughout the year engaging with 97 individuals who have attended 381 times over 31 sessions. Another role Timmy has fulfilled this year is refereeing for the Sunday Intramural Football League. He's turned up every Sunday morning without fail for 12 weeks meaning that the league has been able to run continuously. 

Timmy was also successfully elected as the International Students Part Time Officer this year and during his term in office, he has attended all Union Council meetings and submitted every report ahead of the deadline. His punctuality and contribution at the Union Council meetings is greatly appreciated and he has proven himself to be a valuable member, with the progress he is making on his campaign pledges, along with working in collaboration with other student representatives. Within the first month of his new role, he introduced himself to the International Student Advice Service. He has used his own initiative, making a good impression which resulted in being invited to future meetings, this is a relationship that the International Students Part-Time Officer position has not previously had. He has worked with the VP Wellbeing and Diversity to organise an International Forum, in April, to consult with International students and will be inviting a member of staff from the University’s Careers and Employability team. He is continuously considering how the changes he is creating will benefit the learning and social experience of his peers, his resilience and determination is a testament to this. Timmy genuinely brightens everyone’s day and we feel fortunate to be able to work with him and support him! 

“His approachable and positive demeanour is the reason so many students return to the session” 

“He is passionate about international students having a breadth of professional opportunities available to them, and is making significant progress towards this goal. We as a Student Voice team have every confidence that Timmy is a positive representative for the Students’ Union, with his professional yet personable nature.” 

 “He’s reliable and communicates clearly with not only myself as the coordinator but the other student volunteer and his peers; advertising the sessions through a range of social media meaning I have no hesitations that when students turn up they will have a great experience from start to finish.” 


The following individuals were shortlisted for this award, read more about what they’ve achieved this year: 


Levi Dawson 

Levi is an active member of our sporting community who excels in working collaboratively and makes a real difference. At the start of the semester, Levi and the University of Plymouth Tennis Club (of which he is Chair) ran their ‘Come Out Active for LGBTQ+ Equality in Sport’ Campaign as part of which they sold rainbow laces to other sports clubs and the wider community in aid of Stonewall UK.  Levi also encourages his members to volunteer in the community and has taken part in hosting tennis sessions with the Special Olympics and taking the lead on supporting the Plymouth City Council day, leading tennis in Central Park. 

 Levi has worked closely with the SU getting involved in campaigns across campus such as international women's day where he wrote a statement demonstrating the talents of the women in his club and raised awareness of the campaign across campus. He is always looking towards keeping his club sustainable moving forward, he has made sure there are various opportunities for his members with regards to coaching and other similar qualifications.  

“Overall, Levi is a great chair and has really made sure his club has a voice and is constantly working towards being better. I have no doubt his charity and volunteering efforts have not gone unnoticed by those around him and by those in the community."

“As a sports department we are lucky to have someone so engaged and so good natured around, he is always positive and generally wants to make a difference to everyone's lives for the better.” 



Abi Gilbert & Cara Baer 

Abi and Cara have been dedicated project leaders for SLV’s Special Olympics for the past two years. Their contributions to the project this year really have been invaluable; the enthusiasm and passion they bring to the role is clearly reflected in the popularity of the weekly sessions with our student volunteers with the sign-up sheets filling up with regular volunteers. Having regular volunteers has also allowed them to identify where individuals will be best suited during the sessions and always ensures that the sporting activities are fairly allocated.  

Abi and Cara have got to know the members of the club, enriched their athletic experiences and given them something to look forward to every Wednesday. In addition to running the sessions, Abi and Cara have gone above and beyond their role as project leaders and have organised a number of fundraising events to further support Special Olympics such as micro-volunteering sessions making bobble hat decorations to sell at their Christmas Fair, which saw them raise £140. They have also supported Special Olympics with the planning of their commemorative Mayflower 400 games. Without the support of individuals like Abi and Cara the club would struggle to cope with their ever-growing number of members.  

“Their approach to the club members is one of compassion and acceptance and it is so clearly evident that they truly care about making a positive impact to all of the Special Olympics club members.” 

“These two really are an asset to the project and together they have made a real difference to Special Olympics throughout their time at university.” 



Elsa Armstrong Ortega 

Elsa has shown incredible commitment and perseverance to provide new extra-curricular and personal development opportunities for her fellow students. Elsa has a passion for ceramics and has worked closely with the SU's Societies Team to get Cer Soc (Ceramics Society) off the ground. Despite her hardwork and excellent abilities to organise her time and communicate effectively, her efforts to get this society off the ground sadly did not come to fruition. Elsa faced a number of challenges but remained determined to get something in place for those students with an interest in ceramics, Elsa turned her attention to collaborate with the Arts Soc instead and has now managed to get ceramics sessions to form a part of the latter society's programme of activities. 

Elsa also showed this resilience and commitment in her role as an SU Peer 2 Peer Trainer. She worked hard to research and create a training session for fellow students concerning "Motivation Through Time Management". It was heavily student-focussed, with the relevant tools and information, to help students begin organising themselves from the moment they left the workshop. Despite challenges beyond her control which saw her session postponed twice, Elsa's determination to undertake the session saw her finally deliver it, with great feedback from those who attended. A hardworking and thoughtful individual, Elsa fully deserves to be recognised for her dedication and hard work this year. 



Emma King 

Emma has worked tirelessly to increase the profile of the Archery Club as Chair and has succeeded in not only creating a supportive atmosphere within the club but also making it one of the largest archery clubs in the region. FOr students who were brand new to the sport she has organised beginners courses, giving them the skills to learn how to shoot. 

As well as this the club have run many successful events, regularly hosting their own competitions for members to hone their skills and also for other local clubs to attend. Emma has been a driving force in developing new links with local non-university clubs and has helped their club become known in the wider region. In addition to this she has started to work more closely with the Archery national governing body, forging a new partnership with them that will benefit the university archery club for a long time to come. This along with the work they have done for charity has ensured that other the year the club have greatly benefited the local community. 

As well as all this Emma has reached an exceptional standard in her own archery, recently winning the gold medal at the national BUCS competition, meaning she is the number 1 student in the country for her discipline. This is a phenomenal achievement and shows the incredible high standards Emma is able to achieve -  especially when you combine this with the amount of work she does organising for the club, having reached well over the 100 hours logged on her volunteering profile.  

“As a person I have really seen Emma grow this year as she has become a lot more confident through all the things she has achieved in her role, which has been great as she has had such a big impact on her club and the wider SU"

“Emma would be the last person to nominate herself for an award but is one of the most deserving people we have worked with this year. Under her leadership the archery club have had a record breaking year, attracting more members to the club than ever before, growing to a total of 90 members.” 

“She has created a wonderful and supportive atmosphere within the club, encouraging all members to give things a go and supporting them to the best of her ability. She should be proud of everything she has achieved this year and we at the SU are incredibly thankful for all the hard work she has put in.” 



Adam Chambers 

Adam has been a real asset to Student Led Volunteering (SLV) this year. In his role as project leader he has taken students out volunteering with the Barn Owl Trust. Adam makes a concerted effort to ensure the students who attend the practical volunteer days take home more than just a day’s experience of habitat management. At the beginning of every trip he provides a warm welcome to all the volunteers coming out on the day, lets them know the structure of the day and what they will be getting involved with. He also takes the time to get to know the volunteers, finding out about their interests and ensures everyone is feels included and valued. He works with the Trust to actively include information about the trust itself, their values and the owls currently under the Trust’s care. 

He also ensures that student volunteers have the opportunity to see the owls and ask questions so they can gain a greater understanding of the local wildlife, the Trust and its work. In addition to his own project Adam regularly volunteers his time to drive for the other SLV projects, something which has helped no end this year and without his support it is unlikely we would have been able to deliver as many trips as we have this year. He is also a regular volunteer with SLV’s Special Olympics project, attending almost every session both this year and last year to help enable adults with learning disabilities to partake and compete in sport. Adam really has gone above and beyond in his role this year and deserves to be recognised for this.