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Student Volunteer of the Year Award 2014 Winner’s Case Study

Posted on 8 Dec 2014

“Volunteering is a vital part of any thriving community and students make a significant impact in the work that they do, no matter how small or insignificant they think that it may be.” - Aidan Bannon, Winner of Student Volunteer of the Year Award 2014.

During Student Volunteering Week 2014, we announced that Aidan Bannon, a fourth year Medic from Queen’s University Belfast, had won the Student Volunteer of the Year Award. With nominations for the 2015 Award closing at 6pm on Friday 12 December, we thought we’d have a look back at his story…

Each year, the SVW Team receive nominations for the Award from volunteering managers and coordinators, friends and support workers, and it’s always a tough job to sift through the nominations and chose a long-list of 10 students who make a significant positive impact in their local communities. This inspirational bunch then gets presented to a panel of judges, who have the challenge of narrowing the list down to the final 5 and naming the winner for the year.

In 2014 Aidan stood out due to his commitment to a wide variety of charitable projects, as well as his clear enthusiasm and ability to inspire his peers.

He founded the Queen’s University Red Cross Society, dedicating many hours to the development of the society and ensuring an engaged student community of 60+, who have reached over 3,500 young people through their campaigns and workshops. Aidan’s clear enthusiasm for volunteering has resulted in his work as a peer leader for the Volunteer Academy at QUB, and training his fellow students to support the personal development of 10-18 year olds in Belfast. Spearheading a suicide awareness campaign amongst the student community, Aidan also demonstrated that he is clearly very aware of current issues being faced by his peers and effectively brought in funding to ensure this vital campaign could run.

Aidan did all of this whilst studying for his degree in Medicine and being a member of the steering group for the Patient and Client Council report on young people and healthcare policy.

Jane Clark, the Head of Campus Recruitment across Europe & Asia for Barclays, commented, “the judges were unanimous in choosing this year’s winner for the Student Volunteer of the Year Award – a natural, energetic and ambitious student leader who has dedicated over 500 volunteer hours whilst still performing to a very high standard academically. We praise this individual for their entrepreneurial skills in securing funding, designing and delivering programmes reaching more than 3,500 young people in local communities.”

We announced the 2014 winner at the Student Volunteering Week Celebration Event, held in the Houses of Parliament and hosted by Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson. Aidan said, "I'm delighted at being chosen as the UK Student Volunteer of the Year. It truly is an honour to represent student volunteers around the UK and to champion the excellent work they do. I hope student volunteering continues to be an integral part of the student experience and that students continue to be champions and ambassadors for their communities."

Aidan also received a £1000 prize that he donated to two student societies - the Queen’s University Red Cross Society, which he founded, and SWOT (Students Working Overseas Trust), a student led group who fundraise for hospitals in the global South. Jonny McDowell, the outgoing SWOT President, said, “The money will be donated to hospitals and we can safely say it will go a long way to making a difference in the lives of those who need it most.”

Aidan being awarded his certificate by the CEO of Volunteer Now

Nominations for the 2015 Award are open online until 6pm on Friday 12 December. Do you know of someone at your University or College that you think deserves to be nationally recognised for the positive impact that they make in their local community?

The SVW Team

The national team from Student Hubs & NUS coordinate SVW activities for the nationwide campaign.

Categories: Award