Writers Lois Arcari, Sophie Clayton and Sandra Tse are UEA Award Ambassadors for LDC. Clayton co-hosted the Award Ceremony, Tse was in the decorations and meet and greet team, and Arcari also worked on meet and greet as well as presenting a speech about her experiences of the award.
At the close of the spring term, the UEA Award team hosted their fourth annual UEA Award Ceremony. On Wednesday 20 March, a team of UEA Award Ambassadors and Champions transformed the LCR into a cabaret-style venue for one magical night. Gleaming balloons for each color of the Award levels – Bronze, Silver and Gold – floated over the tables as students gathered for drinks. Posters designed by Award Ambassadors decorated the walls. Co-created and co-produced by students, the ceremony celebrated the wealth of vibrant activities that awarded students undertake to make themselves and their degrees stand out from the crowd.
A total of 54 certificates were presented to students across Bronze, Silver and Gold levels. The Award certifies the experience and skills students had gained during their time at university across activities such as campus and personal, work related, academic and career management activities, gaining skills such as commercial awareness and professionalism. Prizes were also presented for the best submissions in categories such as outstanding achievement in work or volunteering and best reflective write up, making the night a true showcase of UEA students’ talent.
Current students and alumni spoke about their Award experiences, alongside keynote speeches from Professor Sarah Barrow, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Arts and Humanities, and James Kearns, Chief Executive of BUILD Charity, who highlighted the Award’s relationship with staff and employers. Students and staff alike were encouraged to take advantage of the wealth of talent in the room with a networking buffet after the ceremony, accompanied by professional photography and a comical photo booth. As student-selected music played in the background, guests enjoyed food ranging from rice dishes to chocolate brownies, sharing their experiences of the Award. It was an inspiring night that gathered guests from a variety of industries and students at different levels in their award journey.
Richard Bowater, Associate Dean of Employability for Science, said: ‘It was a terrific event, and it was particularly good to see the energy and enthusiasm that the Student Ambassadors brought to its organisation and delivery. The breadth of topics highlighted by the Award winners was very impressive. Within their activities they picked up a wide range of skills and expertise that will be valuable in their future endeavours and careers.’
Alexandros Efstratiou, Senior Award Ambassador, helped to organise the music and lighting for the night as well as co-hosting the event. He said: ‘This year’s Award ceremony was by far the most ambitious and large-scale ceremony we have ever done. I remember walking into the venue on the day and just being taken aback by how wonderfully the decorations team set up the whole place, it really made it feel like a student celebration! Hearing all of these unbelievable student achievements and stories was just something else. I kept thinking to myself that the room was full of people who would go on to stand out, people who would go on to do amazing things, and having the privilege of helping to recognise their achievements was truly fulfilling. For me personally, co-hosting the ceremony was the culmination of my Award journey. I came to university not knowing how to articulate my skills or even being confident enough to do so. Joining the Award completely changed that, and, using what I learned through it, I was successful in securing a paid position as an Award Ambassador shortly after. Opportunities begun flowing in following that, and I developed skills from public speaking to event management owing to the incredible trust that the Award team showed in me – so much so, that I was granted the title of Senior Ambassador in my second year of working with the team. Being called to co-host the ceremony meant the world to me. I could see myself in every single person waiting to get their certificate, and every single student who was there to be recognised for all their hard work.’