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02 April 2012
Cardiff has claimed two top prizes of Students’ Union of the Year for 2012 and the top Student Unionist in Wales at the first ever NUS Wales Awards.
Cardiff’s Students’ Union was awarded the winning accolade in the higher education category at the recent NUS Wales conference.
The awards were judged by an independent panel including Stephen Brooks, director of the Electoral Reform Society in Wales; Rachael Tooth, a higher education policy advisor for HEFCE; and Joanne Simpson, education correspondent for ITV Wales.
Academic and University Affairs officer for the Students’ Union, Samantha Reid, was also awarded joint top student unionist in Wales at the conference.
As part of her role, Samantha has trained more than 500 course representatives on how to navigate university infrastructure to fight for their rights, and has worked to pass a zero tolerance policy on sexual harassment in the Students’ Union.
She was also elected to serve as one of two representatives from Wales on the NUS National Executive Committee for 2012-13. The NEC serves to make sure the organisation fulfils the policy mandates set at the UK-wide annual conference.
NUS Wales President Luke Young said: "Cardiff University Students’ Union has been a credit to higher education this year. Its support and dedication to students is evident in all areas of the students’ union.
"Because of the Union’s work, students have been championed locally and represented nationally. All the officers, staff and students in the Union should be very proud of their achievements.
"Samantha has been a champion for students across Wales this year, and has thrived in her role of Academic Affairs Officer, effectively scrutinising government and university policy. Her passion and dedication to improving access to education is inspiring.
"Student officers across Wales quite rightly praise Sam’s ability to get things done. I can think of no better candidate to be activist of the year."
The judges added: "Cardiff Students’ Union has had an incredible year. It has a great officer team and dedicated staff. The Union provides the student body with an impressive range of opportunities, which helps both social integration while studying, but also skills development and employability for the future.
"We were really impressed with Samantha. She’s obviously an excellent academic affairs officer, but this year she also went above and beyond. For instance, she campaigned tirelessly on wider issues such as supporting women in student politics."
Samantha said: "It's an honour to be recognised as Student Unionist of the Year especially as it is for something that I enjoy doing and that I am incredibly passionate about. But at the same time, there are hundreds of student officers across the country that are equally deserving of this kind of recognition, and without their hard work the student movement wouldn't be as strong as it is today."
John McGann, the clubs and societies officer at Glyndwr University, shares the honour of NUS Wales Student Unionist of the Year.
The NUS Wales Award winners will be entered into the UK-wide NUS Awards, which take place in Exeter in July.
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