About the awards

The National Societies Awards is the first national event to credit societies for their contribution to students career prospects and experience during their time at university.

The 12 official awards, supported by NUS, are increasingly becoming recognised by employers nation-wide as distinct indications of student determination and drive. Each award, represents an array of distinguishable attributes admired by employers, universities, colleges and Students’ Unions alike.

Join us for a black tie extravaganza, including a three-course meal, drinks and after-party at The Students’ Union at UWE’s new bar venue

  • 50 Universities
  • 150 Societies
  • 12 Awards

Meet the judges

The core judging panel is made up of the following:

Gem Heywood

Vice President for Societies & Communication for The Students’ Union at UWE

'A motion was passed at National Conference last year to provide national recognition for Societies so we decided to take this in to our own hands. We hope to implement this positive movement and provide national recognition for Society achievements in the UK. Officers across the country have become frustrated in the lack of national reward and recognition for Societies. The National Societies Awards team are excited to work on implementing the first of an annual rewards ceremony for Societies in the UK.'

Richard Brooks

Vice President Union Development for NUS

'I have experienced first-hand the power and opportunity that student societies can bring to someone's life. It's so exciting to see student leaders get together to organise an event like this and to reward excellence amongst their peers. I am supporting the awards as a space for us to show our admiration for each other's achievements.'

Anne Smee

Chief Executive Officer for UK Youth

'UK Youth is proud to be the official partner of the National Society Awards. University Societies do a huge amount to progress young people’s learning, support their career development and enhance their student experience beyond formal education. It’s brilliant to see their achievements being officially recognised.'

The Awards

  • Best new society
  • Most improved society
  • Academic society of the year
  • Best student-led event
  • Best fundraising society
  • Best community project
  • Best enterprise project
  • Commitment to participation
  • Committee of the year
  • Society of the year
  • The Green Champion Award
  • Sponsored bursary for outstanding contribution from an individual

Nominate Now!

This is your chance to submit your society for one of these amazing awards, just fill out the form below and your entry will be taken in to consideration for the nominee shortlist at the 4th of June ceremony! Make sure to read our eligibility rules and awards criteria below if you are unsure if your nomination is suitable.

As well as filling out the form below, please ensure you email any supporting documents to nationalsocietiesawards@gmail.com and please use the subject line "Institution-Award", for example: "UWE-Society of the year"

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  • Eligibility

    Nominations and supporting materials must be submitted by Monday 21st March 2016, in order to be reviewed and considered for the chosen award. Nominees, if successful, may then be short-listed, with results to be announced on Saturday 4th June at the black-tie awards ceremony. The subsequent criteria defines essential elements which must be fulfilled, accompanied by the desired criteria the judging panel will use to distinguish between nominees.

    Please review the award criteria information carefully before making the recommendation. The awards have been finalised based on research into other Students’ Unions using a focus group to collate responses that reflect Unions UK wide. A candidate may be nominated for more than one award category. The judging panel reserves the right to grant an award for which the candidate has not been specifically nominated. All nominations and deliberations are kept confidential. Each award will be judged by the core judging panel and supported by a nominated ‘expert’ judge who has a special interest or expertise associated with the category.

    Supporting documents could include endorsements from society members & institution staff, testimonials from invested stakeholders, evidence of society membership numbers and evidence of promotional activity. Images of event and activity turn out is encouraged.

  • Best New Society

    The Best New Society Award recognises exceptional achievement and engagement of a unique nature for societies who were set up during semester two of the 2014/15 academic year or semester one of the 2015/16 academic year.

    Essential

    • Must have been formally established with the Institution between January 2015 and January 2016.
    • A minimum of 15 registered members at the time of nomination.
    • Supporting documents for nominations must evidence regularly organised society activity since ratification.
    • Evidence of attempts to secure income to support start-up through fundraising, donations, sponsorships or application to the Institution, or external funding streams.
    • Society activities to have been inclusive and engaging.

    Desired

    • Evidence of a wide variety of different society activities organised since society ratification.
    • Evidence of a consistent & high proportionate to membership student turn-out to society activities and events.
    • Regular promotion of society activities through student media, social media and/or Union and Institution channels (e.g. lecture announcements, newsletters, noticeboards, etc).
  • Most Improved Society

    The Most Improved Society Award recognises exceptional improvement in terms of engagement and number of regularly organised society activity against the previous term or 2014/15 academic year.

    Essential

    • Evidence either: improvements made between first and second semesters, or improvements made between the previous academic year and the current academic year.
    • Evidenced and endorsed increase in satisfaction of membership
    • Increase in student participation in society activities in comparison to previous year.
    • A broader range of society activities organised in comparison to previous year.

    Desired

    • Increase in registered members in comparison to previous year.
    • Increase in society activities organised in comparison to previous year.
    • Increase in society achievements (awards won, money raised etc.) in comparison to previous year.
    • Increased promotion of society activities through social media, student media and/or Institution channels (e.g. lecture announcements, newsletters, noticeboards, and blackboard).
  • Academic Society of the Year

    The Academic Society of the Year Award recognises exceptional society activity to complement members studying the relevant academic course.

    Essential

    • Must be a society categorised as ‘academic’ (contact the NSA team if unsure).
    • Minimum of 15 paid or registered members at time of nomination.
    • Evidence of regularly organised society activity which complements the course this academic year, or from point of ratification.

    Desired

    • Evidence of a strong working relationship with the Institutions academic department or other services.
    • Evidence of career development opportunities for members.
    • Evidence of a high number and wide range of different society activities this academic year, with high levels of student participation.
    • Regular promotion of society activities through social media, student media and/or university/college channels (e.g. lecture announcements, newsletters, noticeboards, and blackboard).
  • Best Student-Led Event

    The Best Student-Led Event Award recognises a student-led society event which triumphs all others held across the country.

    Essential

    • Event led and organised by students.
    • Evidence of high student turnout/participation in event.
    • Accessible to a large proportion of student population.
    • Event implemented for a good or useful cause.
    • Promoted using social media, student media and/or university/college channels (e.g. lecture announcements, newsletters, noticeboards, and blackboard).
    • Evidence from attendees of the events success (this can be done through society members nominating the society for this award).

    Desired

    • Event did one or more of the following: raised money for charity, gave members the opportunity to compete, gave members the opportunity to develop skills and employability, and raised awareness of a campaign or a cause.
    • Evidence of a handover process for the event to remain sustainable.
    • Evidence of collaboration with one or more of the following: another society or network, another Institution, a department or service, an external charity or organisation.
    • Creative approach to use of promotional materials used.
  • Best Fundraising Society

    The Best Fundraising Society Award recognises exceptional fundraising efforts of an individual society.

    Essential

    • Raised over £100 across the two academic terms.
    • Evidence of quantity of items and/or money raised.
    • Evidence of encouraged participation for all the society.

    Desired

    • Worked with the charity to create a collaborative approach to their fundraising.
    • Adopted a charity through a university/students’ union charity scheme.
    • Society members to express a keen interest in the cause.
    • Evidence of promotion of fundraising activities through social media, student media and/or university/college channels.
    • Evidence of raising awareness of the cause through social media, student media and/or university/college channels.
    • Creative approach to use of promotional materials used.

    NB: RAG activity will not qualify for this award as it is recognised by the national RAG awards

  • Best Community Project

    The Best Community Project Award recognises exceptional efforts working outside of the Institution in and/or with the local community.

    Essential

    • Promoted the volunteering project through one or more of the following: student newspaper, university/college radio, other channels available (lecture announcements, newsletters, blackboard, and posters) or in the local press.
    • Evidence to ensure a minimum of 5 registered members participated in the project.
    • Evidence the positive effect the project has had in the local or wider community and for the students involved.

    Desired

    • Evidence of additional member recruitment to the society through their involvement in the project.
    • Project ran in collaboration with another society or an external business.
    • Creative approach to use of promotional materials used.
  • Best Enterprise Project

    The Best Enterprise Project Award recognises an Enterprise Project that has made the biggest impact and/or made the most improvement or success since start-up.

    Essential

    • Evidence of a stable business model (break even, profit and loss accounts).
    • Evidence of primary and secondary research.
    • Evidence of a balance sheet.
    • Evidence of target audience and market research.
    • Evidence of wide interest from consumers.
    • Evidence of utilising student’s skills.

    Desired

    • Evidence of profit put to good use.
    • Evidence of growth in reach and profit.
  • Commitment to Participation

    The Commitment to Participation Award recognises exceptional efforts to include all and encourage high participation within society activities.

    Essential

    • Evidence an increase of membership by 10% compared to the last academic year.
    • Evidence of regular high levels of student participation in a wide range of society activities.
    • Evidence of a range of different opportunities and activities being offered for members.

    Desired

    • Evidence attempt to make activity more financially accessible for all members.
    • Evidence attempts to make the society activity more accessible (e.g. for students from different locations, students with disabilities, students for whom language may be a barrier etc).
    • Evidence attempts to diversify membership (e.g. diversifying gender, culture, ages, year groups, courses of participating students).
  • Committee of the Year

    The Committee of the Year Award recognises exceptional organisation, commitment and achievements of the society committee members.

    Essential

    • Strong organisation and cohesive committee who represent their members, facilitate and empower their development.
    • Evidence of strong working relationship with the Students’ Union and/or departments.
    • High level of communication with the Students’ Union.
    • Evidence of strong working relationships between committee members and teamwork.

    Desired

    • Evidence of regular, structured committee meetings (formally submitted agendas and minutes).
    • Society members or externally endorsed recommendation of the committee for this award by submitting nominations or supporting evidence.
    • Evidence that the committee has dedicated a lot of time to running the society and provided regular opportunities to their members.
    • A creative approach to hosting events and/or society activities.
    • Evidence to show committee involving the society in projects and delegating jobs.
  • Society of the Year

    Essential

    • A well democratically run society
    • A strong structured schedule of activities, trips and society administration.
    • Minimum of 20 members paid or registered at time of nomination.
    • Evidence of high levels of engagement in regularly organised society activity.
    • Strong working relationship and communication with the university/college, Students’ Union and any relevant staff or services.
    • Excellent ambassadors for the Students’ Union and University/College.
    • Evidence of a high number and wide range of different society activities this academic year, with high levels of student participation.
    • Promotion of society activities through promotional channels (e.g. society webpages, message centre, events listings, news items, graphics and posters, social media).
    • Strong cohesive committee.
    • Society has done one or more of the following: raised money for charity, developed links within the wider community, driven an environmental initiative, given members the opportunity to compete, gave members the opportunity to develop skills and employability and raised awareness of a campaign or a cause.

    Desired

    • Evidence of the society giving back to the community (e.g. through partnerships with external organisations, community and volunteering projects, collaboration with other Institutions, events engaging the public as well as society members).
    • Evidence attempts to make the society activity more accessible (e.g. for students from different locations, students with disabilities, students for whom language may be a barrier etc.) and evidence of attempts to diversify membership (e.g. diversifying gender, culture, ages, year groups, courses of participating students).
    • Evidence of significant achievements of the society or individual members that has served to enhance the reputation and profile of the society this year.
    • High number of nominations for Society of the Year award.
  • The Green Champion Award

    Essential

    • Evidence of promotion of green/sustainability activity through social media and/or university/college channels.
    • Evidence of encouraged participation/increased awareness for all the society.
    • Evidence of championing the green cause
    • Implementing an environmental initiative/new way of working that significantly impacts on the society, Students’ Union and/or university, or local community.

    Desired

    • Evidence of outcome achieved and societies impact on the wider community.
    • Creative and sustainable approach to creating and managing the event/activities.
    • Evidence demonstrating collaboration with one or more ‘eco’ businesses.
    • Evidence of raising awareness of the importance of being green through social media and/or university/college channels and/or the local press.
    • Evidence of a good turn out to events/activities via tickets purchased or photos.
  • Sponsored Bursary for Outstanding Individual Contribution

    Essential

    • Evidence of outstanding commitment to the society.
    • Evidence of developing and improving a project or the society for the long-term.
    • Evidence of strong working relationships and collaboration with all stakeholders.
    • Enhancement and development of the reputation of the society within or externally to the institution.
    • Excellent ambassador for the Students’ Union and university/college.
    • Involvement/commitment beyond what would normally be expected of a volunteer/society member.

    Desired

    • Has received endorsement from stakeholder(s) external to the society.
    • As an individual, has made a high contribution to society activity, reputation and achievements.
    • Evidence of creativity and uniqueness driving the society forward.

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