Players from UEA’s sports clubs received glowing praise for their use of Twitter and Facebook at UEA Sport’s inaugural social media awards.

Over four months, students were encouraged to use social media to be the best ambassadors for their clubs, and by extension for UEA. UEA partnered with Matchstick Media to host the UEA Athlete Angel Social Media Project, which included a dedicated UEA web platform to showcase the best examples.

Phil Steele, director of sport at UEA, said no other university had done this type of project before. “It was an ideal time to use these celebrations to put something back into UEA whilst at the same time developing the image of the various clubs,” he said. “Yet again UEA has a first, and we never believed the project could achieve the breadth it has.”

Cathy Wood, the managing partner of Matchstick Media who ran the project, said: “‘We wanted to show the students how social media is simply an extension of who they are.” “In the world we live in today, often the first encounter someone might have with another person is an online one.” “We feel immensely proud of the work the students did and hope, as a company, we can forge a long-term relationship with UEA.”

60 sports clubs were up for a variety of awards. The club with the savviest social media was declared to be UEA Netball, with Women’s Rugby, and UEA Softball coming second and third in the 2017/18 UEA+ Sport social media project category.

Lucy Cole, the netball club’s social media officer said the project had helped her to “understand the power of social media.”

“With specific goals, the programme has shown us how many great things we do as a club and wider community which often we forget to shout about,” she added. “It’s been enjoyable creating lots of fun and different content and has helped create a community around our club. “We can’t wait to carry on all our hard work!”

Owen Wady, the baseball and softball media and recruitment secretary for Blue Sox, said the team felt honoured by their placings. “The celebration evening really showed not only how far we have come as a club in terms of social media, but for the whole of UEA sports clubs,” he said.

UEA Women’s Football Club won an award for the best use of social media to promote other clubs. This was part of the This Girl Can project to widen girls’ participation in sports.

Charlotte Jones, president of women’s football, said social media was the easiest way to express support for other clubs. “It has actually improved our relations with other clubs, and I think we’ve turned what was always seen as a rugby rivalry, into a lovely support network of sporting women,” she added.

Cathy Wood said: “It was a pleasure to work with so many varied and interesting clubs, and to see how readily they took on the advice and guidance offered.” “As a company we were, genuinely, bowled over by the creativity, hard work and enthusiasm shown for the project.” She described the process of choosing the final winners as “impossibly difficult” as “there was so much great content” showcasing “the vibrant opportunities at UEA.”