This award will go to an individual or group who has shown commitment and enthusiasm for a project or event that has run this academic year. The outstanding and successful project or event could be ongoing or a one off.
The winner is...
Come Out Active for LGBTQ+ Equality in Sport (University of Plymouth Tennis Club, Levi Dawson)
“56% of sport fans who see rainbow laces agree that more needs to be done to make LGBT people feel more accepted in sport”
“Sport has the power to bring people together and gives people a sense of belonging, and therefore I found it was important that us as sports clubs need to ensure we are as inclusive as possible”
In November 2019, the University of Plymouth Tennis Club (UPTC) ran their “Come out Active for LGBTQ+ Equality in Sport” campaign, led by Levi Dawson. The aim was to promote inclusivity in sport throughout the UPSU sports clubs, to unite the clubs by all wearing rainbow laces and to raise funds for Stonewall UK.
During the week-long campaign they ran a charity pub quiz and bake sale to fundraise and raise awareness, and liaised with several other sports clubs, eventually involving 15 other clubs at the university. The club sold over 250 pairs of rainbow laces to support the LGBTQ+ community. On BUCS Wednesday the club encouraged other clubs to purchase the laces and wear them at their fixtures, sharing pictures on social media in a show of solidarity. Levi contacted his old school and they chose to purchase a batch of rainbow laces to give to their students to wear during PE lessons. The club used social media as a tool throughout the campaign and as a result another school also purchased a batch to share with their students.
The campaign raised an incredible £600 for Stonewall UK over the course of the week all thanks to the hard work and dedication of Levi and the University of Plymouth Tennis Club.
“Whilst UPTC is a small club, I believe Levi has gone above and beyond what was required of him to lead this campaign and has done a fantastic job of it, and continues to have a positive impact on the study body.”
“Sport has the power to bring people together and gives people a sense of belonging, and therefore I found it was important that us as sports clubs need to ensure we are as inclusive as possible.”
“This campaign is one I hope that UPTC can take lead on for years to come, it is essential to “play our part to make sport everyone’s game” (Stonewall, 2020). With the success of this year’s campaign, I believe we can make this bigger and better next year and get even more clubs involved!”
The following projects were shortlisted for this award, read more about them here:
BUCS Fleet Race National Championships (George Kennedy and Joseph White)
In 2017, Plymouth won the bid to host the 2019 BUCS Fleet Race National Championships. The Championship is the largest and most prestigious sailing event in the British Universities Sailing Association (BUSA) calendar and with an expected 230 competitors from all over the country, from as far and wide as Edinburgh, organising it was not going to be an easy job. George Kennedy and Joseph White from the Sailing and Powerboat Club took on the challenge and worked closely with the SU to coordinate an event that would provide students with the opportunity to compete and have fun while staying safe.
George and Joseph communicated regularly and effectively and not only built a competitive racing team but then sourced 40 volunteers from the club to make the event happen.The process of doing so led to many training sessions ahead of the event and creating the opportunity to support six club members to gain RYA Powerboat Level 2 qualifications.
Volunteers at the event gained significant expertise and an incredible experience. Unfortunately, on the day of the event we suffered a storm and the conditions were not safe to carry out the event as initially planned. However, George and Joseph quickly adapted to the conditions and had a backup plan for social activities for members and guests to do, enabling the competitors to all come together and participate in activity off the water.
Naked Calendar (Plymouth Marrow)
This year one of the many projects Plymouth Marrow have run is the sports team Naked Calendar. This project was an incredible collaboration between Plymouth Marrow and 12 different sports clubs. They handled the challenge of managing the busy schedules of all the different clubs well and pulled together to worked very hard to create a new and innovative fundraising campaign.
The aim of the calendar was to raise vital funds for Plymouth Marrow but also to raise awareness of the incredible work Plymouth Marrow does. The calendar managed to raise an incredible £1,500 to support the life-saving work that Anthony Nolan does. This project as a whole not only raised funds for Anthony Nolan to continue its lifesaving work of saving people with blood cancer but also increased awareness of the charity - in the student body, people who bought the calendar and the local media - which is vital for it to continue. This project is sustainable and there are already plans to do it next year.
Winter Campaign in aid of Devon Mind (University of Plymouth Amateur Dramatics)
This year the University of Plymouth Amateur Dramatics wanted to do something that was more than just a showcase. Alongside their showcase ‘States of Mind’ they decided run a campaign on mental wellbeing. The aim was to do things that helped to improve the wellbeing of their members as they tackled heavy issues in the showcase. This included confidence and public speaking workshops to help members utilise the skills that acting can give you when it comes to public speaking but also proved useful for upcoming academic presentations. UPAD also organised litter picks to help make a positive change to the local community and because contributing to something positive is a great way to improve wellbeing.
Throughout the campaign they also arranged mindfulness walks, coffee chats as well as game and movie nights – all of which enabled their members to build strong bonds with each other, increasing morale in the society in general. Another aim of the campaign was to raise money for Devon Mind. To do this they held bake sales, socials and of course their showcase. This was the first year they ran so many events in the run up to their showcase and they raised a staggering £500 to support the work of Devon Mind, benefitting those people who would otherwise be unable to get the mental health assistance they need.
“We plan to think big about how we can have an impact in the society and as well as perform. We want to offer our members the opportunity to make a big impact as well as act on stage.”
Special Olympics (Student Led Volunteering)
Every Wednesday a group of passionate and dedicated volunteers work hard to improve the lives of adults with intellectual disabilities. The Student Led Volunteering (SLV) Special Olympics project has helped university students to make new friends, take a well-deserved break from studies, and develop new skills and confidence.
The positive impact that this project has on its beneficiaries is evident in the enthusiasm shown by the community partners who are always eager to express how appreciative they are for the student volunteers. Special Olympics means the world to the athletes. The project is part of their routine and, for some, it is often their only chance to get out and socialise. The SLV Special Olympics project allows students the honour of being a part of this incredibly important cause, and the opportunity to make that weekly event even better.