The 2020 #ProudToBeStaffs Awards winners are...

If you didn't manage to tune into our online Awards Ceremony, check out this article to find out about some incredible people at Staffs.

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Staffordshire University Students' Union celebrates all of the fantastic people who make us #ProudToBeStaffs

Here at Staffordshire University Students’ Union, our vision is that every Student will be Proud to be Staffs.
Each year our students, staff, colleagues and partners do incredible things and we invite our community to tell us their stories, so that we can share in what makes them proud.
This year we had nearly 400 nominations with stories about inspiring individuals and groups in our community.
You can read about some of them here.


Moving online

On May 29th, due to the circumstances of a global pandemic, we produced our first ever Digital Awards Ceremony, hosted by student and Union Team Member, Maxie, and featuring videos from various people across our University community.
To find out exactly who won the awards, you can watch the full show above via our YouTube channel, or if you just can't wait, scroll down to find the winners...


Connected Communities Award


Honourable Mention: 'Better Together', Community Support for Springfields and Trent Vale

Winner: Mature, Parent & Carer Network and Staffordshire University Mountaineering Club.

Together, our winners ran a Christmas Fun Day for student parents, with student volunteers from the Mountaineering Club leading the climbing wall and no cost to the families. This type of event epitomises the community we have, with students coming together to put on a fantastic event. Our Mature, Parent and Carer Network face a unique set of challenges to study whilst being a parent and events like this help their families to be part of Staffs.


Inclusion Award


Honourable Mention: Trust Diya, Lecturer in the School of Life Sciences & Education

Winner: Helen Holt, Head of Partnering & Digital Skills

Our winner's tireless work has meant that students have been able to continue to study and be part of their online University communities without barriers. There's certainly no handbook of how to deal with a global pandemic, but this individual was able to support a diverse range of students in this challenging new learning environment, with other 100 laptop loans delivered to houses and even securing dongles to ensure students can take part in their online learning.


Everyday Hero Award


Honourable Mention: Our entire community... as we've all adapted to the "new normal".

Winner: Jo Johnson, Counsellor

Here's Director of Student Services Ian Munton to tell us a bit about our winner...


Inspirational Tutor Award


Honourable mention: Tonia Barrett, Lecturer in Staffordshire Business School

Winner: Martin Dunn, Lecturer in the School of Creative Arts & Engineering

Our Inspirational Tutor for this year has gone above and beyond during these difficult times. Some of their actions may seem small, but they have worked to keep students connected and supported with a range of activities. Earlier in the year, Martin was actively and crucially involved in Formula Student, supporting the team and problem-solving - all in his spare time.

Many students told us about the kind nature of our winner, making them feel welcome from day one and taking the time to get to know students, their needs and working out how we can support them. All whilst having that magic ability to put a smile on everybody's face. We were moved by the amount of students who echoed these sentiments!


The "Lecturer I'd get out of bed for" Award


Honourable mention: Karl McCormack, Lecturer in the Staffordshire Business School

Winner: Diane Atherton-Blenkiron, Lecturer in the School of Law, Policing & Forensics

Like many of our nominees, this individual was nominated by seveal students, with all of them telling us that she is "absolutely fantastic". But what really stood out is the emotional support that she has offered to her students and how that has directly resulted in positive course outcomes for her students. Her students told us that her lectures are "never boring" and she has managed to pick up a module half-way through the year and still ensuring students were ready to achieve the best they can.


Student Experience Award


Honourable mention: Tyrone Messiah, Head of Technical Services

Winner: Adam Treacy, Student in the School of Computing & Digital Technologies

This student has spent their whole year supporting their Student Group, fundraising and once again, when the country went on lockdown, they reacted to ensure that the supportive and entertaining community that have been provided all year, didn't stop. 

Throughout the year, RAMS have been working with Uproar - a mental health foundation and it was the work of this individual that got this up and running, ensuring that members of the society had the support that was right for them, if and when they needed it. It was this compassion, understanding and support that was shown through the different nominations we received.


Student Voice Award


Honourable mention: Ciara Hicks-Evans, Student in the School of Creative Arts & Engineering

Winner: Amanda Payne, Student in the School of Health & Social Care

Our winner had several nominations that all echoed how amazing they have been. They have supported a number of campaigns and made sure that the students who need to know information, get it! As a Course Rep AND Department Rep, they have been fighting for their course and managed to pull together strong relationships between the staff and students they represent. 

During lockdown we also received a heartfelt message of how our winner has taken the time to check-in and showed real compassion for someone they barely knew.


Union Team Member of the Year


Honourable mention: Our entire Union staff team, they've all worked so hard during the pandemic!

Winner: GreenPad Team

Here's Elected Officer, Scott William-Smith, to share why we've recognised GreenPad this year...




Sustainability Award


Honourable mention: Theme Park Society, Student-led Group

Winner: Project Earth Society, Student-led Group

This award goes to an inspiration set of students who have been driving sustainability at Staffs every time they meet. The society have changed the way so many students think about sustainability, taking every opportunity to normalise what can be a daunting change. They joined us at the Christmas Fair, selling recyclable Christmas cards and eco-gifts, they've ran their own events with Clothes Swaps and litter picks and arrange inspirational speakers to come and give talks. They even look out for the little guy... with the Staffs 'Hedgehog friendly campus' initiative. 


Volunteer of the Year


Honourable mention: Ella Stewart, Student volunteer for Staffordshire University Dance Club

Winner: Annie Thompson, Student volunteer for Staffordshire Scarlettes (Cheerleading Club)

Annie received so many nominations from her peers, all of which showed just how brilliant an individual she is and how she selflessly volunteers her time. As a club coach, our winner has not only been coaching the team, but they have been supporting the learning and development of the next coach to give them all the tools they need to succeed, taking extra time to ensure that the needs of the club are always put firts.

All of this has been achieved whilst overcoming personal loss and whilst completing a Masters. Despite dealing with these incredibly difficult circumstances, they have still found time to show kindness and support for others. 


Student of the Year


Honourable mention: Aaron Phillips, Union Team Member

Winner: Jack Marshall, Student in the School of Law, Policing and Forensics.

Our Student of the Year was awarded the British Empire medal at this year's New Year's honours list after 14 years of fundraising. He has raised over £10,000 for charities such as MOVE, a charity that helps children and young disabled people to walk and move. Despite his own challenges and suffering from a rare neurological condition called Moebius Syndrome, he has taken part in the Great North Run, climed the three highest peaks in the UK and been skydiving too - again all for charity!


Thank you so much to all of our nominees and to everyone that shared a story with us this year, we hope to see you again soon and keep on telling us who makes you #ProudToBeStaffs.


Don't forget if you're part of a Student Group, join us on 5th June at 6pm for the Student Group Awards!


Have you got something to say about some of the amazing #ProudToBeStaffs stories OR have some feedback on the Awards? Share your views with us by emailing

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