We are excited to announce the winners of the first-ever Cambridge Students' Awards! This project was launched to recognise the outstanding volunteering work students do across the university and the wider Cambridge community. With over 230 nominations received, it was a hard job to shortlist and pick the winners. A huge congratulations to everyone nominated and our winners!
Winner: Emma Johnson
Emma Johnson has built on the success of their The Cambridge Period Project through tireless work and determination. As president of their society, they have lobbied the university to meet the needs of students and lead a society that has had a huge impact on them. They have had a significant impact on reducing period poverty within Cambridge University by expanding the scope of their society to increase awareness and use of sustainable period products. As well as this, they successfully ensured the University upheld its commitment to provide free period products in all college and departmental bathrooms through the creation of college and department guides. They have inspired The Cambridge Period Project to bring about real change to the University through their excellent leadership and impact on the University.
Event of the Year
Winner: Latin American Research in Education Collective for the Paulo Freire Conference
This event aimed to expand on the debate of popular education. The event brought together an extensive number of participants, volunteers, and thinkers. It was 100% student-led and aimed to be open and accessible to all, even outside of the University community. This event prioritised community learning, teaching participants about someone they may not have been familiar with before, which was really important to demonstrate diverse thinking across their geographical region.
This event was well organised and thoroughly enjoyed by those who attended. To connect this many people virtually to share diverse experiences and thinking was why this is the Event of the Year.
Contribution to the City of Cambridge
Winner: Farhan Ali, Sahar Mulji, and Aleena Islam (Islamic Society Outreach Subcommittee)
Farhan Ali, Sahar Mulji, and Aleena Islam have worked to serve the local community through outreach projects. Each week, they spend their evenings preparing food and hot drinks to distribute to unhoused individuals in Cambridge. In addition, they have organised other community projects throughout the year such as the Crisp Packet Project, where over 300 empty crisp packets were collected and used to make thermal blankets for the people experiencing homelessness in Cambridge. Their tireless work on this project has helped the city immensely and inspires others to give back to the community.
Contribution to Acess & Widening Participation
Winner: Abdul Malik Al Nasir & Rhiannon Jones
Abdul Malik Al Nasir & Rhiannon Jones were part of a group that created a policy document on widening participation. They worked on amending legislation in large UK governance institutions. The result was that a new bill was produced that amends the Higher Education Research Act of 2017, to make it more equitable for Black students and other marginalised groups who are underrepresented in Higher Education. The policy document that will accompany the Bill will be published this year and will make recommendations for good and best practices in positive action and widening Participation.
Contribution to Equality & Liberation
Winner: Ashna Biju
Ashna is an incredibly empathetic and hardworking person. Beyond their personal journey, they persistently advocated for minority groups, deafness, and accessibility in their field and college. As their college Disabilities and Mental Health Officer, they helped individual peers and successfully implemented a centralised system to distribute student support documents, easing some of the burden of disability advocacy for students.
They were invited to speak on ITV news, challenging a recent poll where 47% of the public thought deaf people could not be doctors. They spoke about the impact of disability on mental health, barriers to education, and their support systems, hoping to inspire more deaf people to apply.
Contribution to the Student Community
Winner: Kitty Beck
Kitty has shown a remarkable commitment as the president of their society, playing an instrumental role in getting this society established as a major student institution, with a full committee and a range of excellent events. They organised the behavioural science careers event, which attracted over 100 students from departments across Cambridge, and offered an excellent opportunity for our students to learn more about different careers in the field.
They are prepared to stand up for student interests in their cohort, but also to acknowledge where their department has got things right, and this balance has been hugely helpful in maintaining a positive dialogue with our students during a very challenging 3 years.
College Officer of the Year (UG & PG)
Winner: Srijit Seal (PG)
Srijit has contributed to the student community at their college like no other in the last two years. They support all students with their unique inside knowledge of the inner workings of the college and the university.
They have provided a successful 24/7 mental health phone line cover for students, the removal of alcohol charges for non-drinkers at Formal Halls, and the introduction of halal meat on the menu at Friday dinners. Their most remarkable achievement has been their contribution towards the acquisition of their first College Punt in a decade. Everyone in Clare Hall knows them and knows how much they improved the overall quality of life with their jokes, happiness, and infinite energy.
Winner: Tom Moran (UG)
Tom has gone above and beyond in their role. They have taken on the mammoth task of improving the formal bookings system and are in charge of issues regarding all the rooms in the college.
They have visited college residents individually to see how any issues can be addressed and single-handedly visited each room with a tape measure to ensure fairness in sizing. As well as this, they sent out surveys to improve the students’ college experience, lobbied to create cheaper meal deal options, achieved a reduction in hall prices of £100 a term, and fought for rent compensation of £200. Tom has impressed the students in their college by fighting for what they believe in.
Academic Rep of the Year
Winner: Benjamin Knight
Benjamin is a very committed Academic Rep who has made a huge impact on the students around them. They always engage closely with the issues that affect students and work extremely hard to ensure the student voice is represented, going above and beyond the remit to fulfill this role.
They were proactive in working towards lecture capture within their department and wrote an open letter that gained over 360 signatures! They supported the University with research into the undergraduate student experience, are lobbying the University to add academic representatives to fly sheets, and writing several papers to support student voice mechanisms within their School.
Benjamin continues to engage with a range of issues that affect the student body and is all around a lovely person to know and see advocating for their peers.
Society of the Year
Winner: African Caribbean Society (ACS)
African Caribbean Society has an incredibly welcoming community that has provided its members with a safe space at the university. The Committee are friendly and welcoming people, who take the time to regularly check in with society members. This society has done a large amount of access work, and organised a huge range of events and projects for current members, such as games nights, a Christmas formal, collaborations with Oxford, and a university challenge night. One individual said that ACS for them is “a home away from home’" and that ‘‘they have started a fire which I believe will burn into the future of the society.’
Outstanding Contribution to University Life
Winner: Islamic Society
Islamic Society support a strong and rapidly growing community of students within the University. Every year the committee runs a huge number of events and activities, which cater to a variety of needs and interests among their membership. This year alone, the society committee has hosted a freshers’ fortnight packed with activities, organised visits with their Oxford counterparts, taken its members on fun outings all around Cambridge, and raised over £46,000 during their annual charity week. Islamic Society gives a truly holistic experience for Muslim students.