The annual ncl+ Awards saw the very best in Newcastle awarded for their contributions to the University
It was the Pole Dancing Society that were the talk of this year’s ncl+ awards, scooping ‘Most Improved Society of the Year’ as President Harriet Slack was crowned joint-winner of ‘Society Officer of the Year.’
However, the spotlight shone brightest on final-year Combined Honours student Aimee Philipson, whose outstanding achievements in transforming both her Combined Honours course community and student media at Newcastle saw her presented with the ‘Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Personal Achievement.’
Awarded only once previously, in 2010, this is a phenomenal achievement, only rivalled by the fact that it is also Aimee’s fourth consecutive ncl+ award.
Colin Bryson, Director of Combined Honours, who presented the award, expressed his delight that such an outstanding student has received the recognition she deserves:
“From her very first week in Newcastle, Aimee has been tireless, ever-innovative and inspirational in what she has given her fellow students, the staff and the wider community. More than anybody else, Aimee has helped transform Combined Honours into a great community and really put us on the national map too. What is particularly amazing is the breadth and depth of roles and tasks she has taken on and delivered so brilliantly! I couldn’t ask for better role model. We are going to miss Aimee so, so much.”
In its fourth year of implementation, the ncl+ awards, a joint venture by the Students’ Union and University, celebrates and rewards the achievements of students and their extra-curricular and society activities.
Held this year at the Great North Museum, they recognize community-based work to entrepreneurial finesse, articulating the efforts and perseverance of the best of Newcastle’s students.
In the society-based awards, the coveted ‘Best Society of the Year’, presented by co-organiser, Activities Officer and crowd-pleaser of the evening Ania Kurek, was awarded to the Speech and Language Therapy Society, for their continued efforts in working to promote a nation-wide campaign.
Runner-up went to the ever professional, ever unstoppable NUTS, (Newcastle University Theatre Society), for their consistently high-quality productions, and meticulous organisation.
They were also represented by Tom Pope, Lead Director of Sweeny Todd and winner of the ‘Arts and Culture Award’ alongside runner-up Edward Byers for co-founding Cinema Politica Newcastle
Circus Skills came a close runner-in the bid for ‘Most Improved Society of the Year.’ Commenting on the success of the winners, Pole Dancing, Ania said:
“They have showed true passion and commitment to their society what with the numerous events they have put on. I can honestly say they have bent over backwards this year and I expect even greater things for them in the future!”
Media and Communications was awarded to Deputy Editor of The Courier Elliot Bentley, responsible for the construction, maintenance and design of The Courier Online this year.
Runner-up was a much deserving Jonathan Anderson of NSR, whose technological flair has seen major improvements all year-round for the station in both output and campus presence.
The caliber of the student shortlists were exceptional enough in themselves to merit a rejig of the original prizes.
In the ‘Environmental Champion’ category, two runners-up and one overall winner was announced, shared between Betahan Daltry for her commitment to SCAN, Gongbao Wang for his involvement in international youth activities and Jade Wilkes for her hard work as President of the Conservation Society.
Similarly ‘Society Officer of the Year’ was presented to not one, but two winners. Alongside Harriet Slack, whose exceptional efforts and drive in changing the ingrained perceptions of pole dancing, Sam Steventon’s achievements in both the Comedy and Biology Society were rewarded.
In the ‘Contribution to Sport Development Award’ Hamish Adams-Cairns was announced runner-up for his contribution to charity fund raising in order to build the first ever Rwandan International Cricket Stadium. Overall winner fell to Claire Lynn for her overwhelming dedication to Gaelic football.
SIFE President Katie Griffiths was presented with the ‘Academic and Peer Representation Award’ for her hard work and commitment in the Students in Free Enterprise Society while runner-up was Fiona Moss for her dedication to student advocacy on behalf of Postgraduate Researchers.
The winner and runner-up of ‘Community Spirit Award’ was Charlotte Williams and Rong Zhang respectively, while Natalie Diver was presented with the award for ‘Entrepreneurial Spirit’ for her various successful business ventures. Runner-up was Alex Hawke, for his innovative and successful online ventures.
Compared by the seamless pairing of Education Officer Liam Dale and Athletic Union Officer Alice Holloway the evening was a huge success with over 170 guests.
Ania Kurek made a closing comment on the evening:
“All those shortlisted at the ncl+ awards this year have truly excelled in all aspects of their extra-curricular work. It’s so nice to be able to recognise their efforts and to see the diversity of all activities taking place alongside students academic work”