On Thursday October 5th, the Old Student Centre Atrium filled with past and present students from UCD who had been recipients of the President’s Award for Excellence in Student Activities. The event was in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the awards.
Attended by successful alumni such as the likes of Rossa Fanning, Gavan Reilly, and David Matthews, the event sought to highlight how involvement in student activities could help further students’ futures in both their careers and personal lives.
Also launched at the event was a book of testimonials from past award recipients. In his foreword of the book, UCD President Andrew J. Deeks says “Our students are the lifeblood of our University, and I am extremely grateful for their ever-growing engagement through our sports clubs, student societies, the Students’ Union, and other student activities.”
The event commenced with an address from President Prof. Andrew J. Deeks, and continued with a panel discussion led by Eoghan Murphy (former chair of the Society’s Council) with Gavan Reilly and Sinéad Ingoldsby. The latter two received Presidents’ Awards, in part, for their work as Editors of the University Observer.
Reilly now works as political correspondent on TV3, and Ingoldsby is a producer with the BBC. In discussion, both credited their involvement in student activities as that which shaped their time in UCD, as well as aiding in their careers.
In order to be awarded a President’s Award, a student must be nominated for their non-paid work in student activities. The nominations are reviewed by a committee who have, what was described at the event as “passionate arguments” about which students are most deserving of the prestigious award.
Nominations open in the second semester with the Award Ceremony taking place in the O’Reilly Hall towards the end of that semester.
The take-home message from the event was clear. Time in university should not be spent striving for awards, but engaging with others, taking risks and doing something you believe is worth doing. UCD boasts over 80 student societies, nearly 60 sports clubs, a Students’ Union, a radio station, and two newspapers. Whilst all involved in the running of these do not receive Presidents’ Awards, all are contributing to making UCD a better place. Acknowledging and celebrating such activity is the reason the President’s Awards exist.