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Student Achievement Awards Ireland Ceremony









The Student Achievement Awards, now in its eighth year, is the annual opportunity for the student movement in Ireland to recognise the contribution of students to improving the experience of their fellow students, and to wider society.

Nominations for this year’s awards are now closed. The shortlist will be announced in mid-April

This year the awards will take place online via Zoom due to the ongoing public health measures that are in place because of COVID-19. The ceremony will take place on Thursday, April 29th.         

Academic Representative of the Year/Ionadaí Acadúil na Bliana

Academic Representative of the Year/Ionadaí Acadúil na Bliana

Supported by Quality and Qualifications Ireland

The recipient of this award will be the elected student, class, council or senate representative who most effectively represents their fellow classmates inside the structures of the college and/or the Students’ Union. Good representatives should seek to engage their classmates with the Students’ Union and its activities as well as represent and promote a broad range of interests.

The shortlisted nominees are: 

  • Anthony Lane (UCCSU) 
  • Bernice Basnayake (MSU) 
  • Hannah Heskin (TCDSU) 
  • Michael Upham (QUBSU)
Access Champion of the Year/Curadh Rochtana na Bliana

Access Champion of the Year/Curadh Rochtana na Bliana 

Supported by HEA Access Policy Unit

This award recognises a student, group or Students’ Union who have gone above and beyond to defend the right to access to third-level education, be that through advocacy, lobbying, or campaigns. They will have used imaginative ways to raise awareness around the current issues of barriers in accessing and funding for Higher Education. Work in this area could include tackling issues with lack of sufficient grants and financial supports to access education, high fees, lack of appropriate facilities and/or supports, working towards a making College campus and curriculum accessible and inclusive  course costs, or low staff numbers

The shortlisted nominees are: 

  • Catherine Gallagher (DCUSU) 
  • Comhaltas na Mac Léinn, OÉ, Gaillimh (CML OÉG) 
  • Trinity Ability Co-Op (TCDSU) 
  • TU Dublin Students’ Union (TUDSU) 

An Gradam Éacht ar son na Gaeilge

An Gradam Éacht ar son na Gaeilge

Sponsored by Conradh Na Gaeile

Tuigeann Aontas na Mac Léinn in Éirinn tábhacht na Gaeilge i saol na mac léinn, agus mar sin, bronnfar an gradam seo ar eagraithe an fheachtais nó ócáid ab fhearr a reáchtáladh le linn na bliana maidir leis an teanga. Is féidir le Comhaltais/Aontais na Mac Léinn, cumainn, nó daoine aonair dul isteach san iomaícht don ghradam seo.

The Union of Students in Ireland understands the importance of irish in student life, and as a result, this award will be bestowed upon the organisers of the best campaign or event  that was organized during the year regarding the language. Students’ Unions, Societies, or individuals can put themselves forward for this award.

A “feachtas Gaeilge” can be a campaign on any aspect of Irish language and/or Irish culture.

The shortlisted nominees are: 

  • An Cumann Gaelach (QUBSU) 
  • Niamh Browne, Emer Walsh, Oonagh Murray, Hilary Barry agus Grace Claro (UCCSU) 
  • Róisín Nic Lochlainn (CML OÉG) 


Charity Champion of the Year/Curadh Carthanachta na Bliana

Charity Champion of the Year/Curadh Carthanachta na Bliana 

Supported by The Wheel

This award recognises charitable efforts organised by a USI member organisation, student, society or other group. Budget and other limitations will be taken into consideration and should be clearly outlined on the nomination submission form. The award recognises a year-round commitment to fundraising, volunteerism, outreach etc. An individual, groups of individuals, organisations, societies and Students’ Unions may be nominated for the award.

The shortlisted nominees are: 

  • Jay Bobinac (ITCSU) 
  • MU Mental Health Society (MSU) 
  • TU Dublin Sailing Club (TUDSU) 
  • UCC Cancer Society (UCCSU) 

Club/Society of the Year/Club/Cumann na Bliana

Club/Society of the Year/Club/Cumann na Bliana 

Supported by BICS

This award will celebrate the work of a group or organisation and their lasting and outstanding contribution to student life in Ireland in 2020/21. The award recognises clubs, societies, or other student-led organisations which have a positive impact on broader student life. This award will be given to a recognised group or organisation whose impact is felt beyond its membership and throughout the whole college community, or to the student experience in Ireland.

Note: By student-led organisation, we mean a club, society or organisation that is recognized within the college. Externally based organisations who engage students but are not formally established within college or Students’ Union structures would not be eligible for this award.

The shortlisted nominees are: 

  • An Cumann Drámaíochta (UCC) 
  • Feminist Society (OÉG) 
  • Malaysian Student Society of NI (QUB) 
  • Medical Research & Technology Society (UCC) 
Education Campaign of the Year/Curadh Oideachais na Bliana

Education Campaign of the Year/Curadh Oideachais na Bliana 

Supported by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning

At the heart of the USI constitution is the pledge to protect and promote education. This award will recognise the campaign which sought to promote these values on campus and which brought about tangible benefits to the student body. Budget and other limitations will be taken into consideration and should be clearly outlined on the nomination submission form. An individual, groups of individuals, organisations, clubs, societies and Students’ Unions may be nominated for this award. 

The shortlisted nominees are: 

  • Academic Integrity (NCI SU) 
  • Don’t Drop Out, Drop In (DCUSU) 
  • Report on Student Feedback of Online Learning (UCCSU) 
  • Student Safety Net (QUBSU) 
Environmental and Sustainability Activism of the Year/Gníomhaíochas Timpeallachta agus Inbhuanaitheachta na Bliana

Environmental and Sustainability Activism of the Year/Gníomhaíochas Timpeallachta agus Inbhuanaitheachta na Bliana 

Supported by STAND

This award recognises the contribution of an individual, group of individuals, society, or Students’ Union to advancing the cause of environmentalism and sustainability. Increasingly important, both on and off campus, the student movement is now an integral part of the wider movement to ensuring a more sustainable planet. Initiatives, campaigns, and lobby efforts are ongoing across the country, and this award recognises that growing body of student activism.  

The shortlisted nominees are: 

  • Aine Hennessy (TCDSU) 
  • Barry McLaughlin (UUSU) 
  • Katie Smirnova (TCDSU) 
  • UCC Environmental Society (UCCSU) 

Equality Campaign of the Year/Feachtas Comhionannais na Bliana

Equality Campaign of the Year/Feachtas Comhionannais na Bliana 

Supported by AHEAD

Equality has long been at the forefront of the work of the student movement, with USI and its membership leading and significantly contributing to social justice for decades. This award will recognise the campaign or ongoing advocacy that has highlighted injustice and advanced the cause of equality on campus, in the public eye and/or wider community.  Budget and other limitations will be taken into consideration and should be clearly outlined on the nomination submission form. An individual, groups of individuals, organisations, clubs, societies and Students’ Unions may be nominated for this award.

The shortlisted nominees are: 

  • Black History Month (TUDSU) 
  • Destigmatising Disabilities in Education (IADTSU) 
  • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at UUSU  
  • Period Poverty (TCDSU) 
Full-Time Officer of the Year/Oifigeach Lánaimseartha na Bliana

Full-Time Officer of the Year/Oifigeach Lánaimseartha na Bliana 

Supported by Forsá

This award will go to the nominee who has demonstrated the most impressive leadership in the student community during the academic year 2020/21 within their role as a full time sabbatical officer. Through their work the successful nominee will have campaigned to protect and enhance the student experience for their peers and, in doing so, will have become a role model within the student movement.

The shortlisted nominees are: 

  • Collette Cassidy (UUSU) 
  • Dajana Sinik (NCISU) 
  • Kelly Rennick (MSU) 
  • Megan O’Connor (TCDSU) 
  • Rebecca Gorman (TUDSU) 
  • Róisín Nic Lochlainn (CML OÉG) 

Individual Contribution to Student Media/Ionchur Aonair do Mheáin na Mac Léinn

Individual Contribution to Student Media/Ionchur Aonair do Mheáin na Mac Léinn 

Student media has a long and proud history in Irelanand in recent years it has become more importanand prominent than ever. This award will go to an individual who has demonstrated a clear commitment to developing student media as a means of engaging the student population, whether that is as a journalist or broadcaster, or in a support capacity to a media outlet. This award recognises that there is a wide variety of ways in which an individual student can contribute to the success of student media.  

The shortlisted nominees are: 

  • Cormac Watson, The University Times (TCDSU) 
  • Dearbháil Kent, Trinity News (TCDSU) 
  • Eliana Jordan, The University Times (TCDSU) 
  • Lauren Boland, Trinity News (TCDSU) 
  • Matthew Moynihan, Motley (UCCSU) 
  • Thomas Copeland, Queen’s Radio (QUBSU) 

International Student of the Year/Mac Léinn Idirnáisiúnta na Bliana

International Student of the Year/Mac Léinn Idirnáisiúnta na Bliana 

Supported by ICOS

This award will be presented to an international student who has been an integral part of student life throughout the academic year 2020/21. International students often face barriers to integration in Ireland, not least because they are far from the comforts of home and family, but play important and valued roles across activity on and off campus. The recipient of the award will have integrated into campus life and stands out as a role model for students, having demonstrated the ability to be an ambassador for student life in Ireland.

An international student is “one whose normal place of residence is outside the island of Ireland but who is resident in Ireland for the purpose of study over a shorter or longer period.” (ICOS).

The shortlisted nominees are: 

  • Mansi Kesarwani (CML OÉG) 
  • Mia Brzakovic  (TCDSU) 
  • Ruth Ikenyirimba (TUDSU) 
  • Yi Kang Choo (QUBSU) 


Mature Student of the Year/Mac Léinn Aibí na Bliana

Mature Student of the Year/Mac Léinn Aibí na Bliana 

Supported by Mature Students Ireland

This award is dedicated to recognising the achievements of mature students in higher level education. Mature students face a plethora of challenges when returning to education and overcoming these challenges requires resilience and commitment. This award will go to a mature student who has been an active participant in student life.

A mature student is a student who was 23 years of age or older on or before 1st January on the year of their admission to college.

The shortlisted nominees are: 

  • Colette Ansell (UUSU) 
  • Jenni Martin (UUSU) 
  • Jimi Donohoe (TCDSU) 
  • Mark Cawley (TUDSU) 
Outstanding Mental Health Activism/Gníomhaíochas Sármhaith Meabhairshláinte

Outstanding Mental Health Activism/Gníomhaíochas Sármhaith Meabhairshláinte 

Supported by Samaritans

Mental health forms a large part of the work of the student movement. This award will go to the campaign, society, or individual activist which has done the most to promote or protect the mental health of students in Ireland in 2020/21. Budget and other limitations will be taken into consideration and should be clearly outlined on the nomination submission form. An individual, groups of individuals, organisations, societies and Students’ Unions may be nominated for this award. 

The shortlisted nominees are: 

  • Jamie Fraser (UCCSU) 
  • Jessica McMahon (MSU) 
  • Katie Ní Chléire (QUBSU) 
  • Making Mental Health Matter (UUSU) 

Part-Time Officer of the Year/Oifigeach Páirtaimseartha na Bliana

Part-Time Officer of the Year/Oifigeach Páirtaimseartha na Bliana

Supported by Hammond Good Solicitors

Students’ Unions, and particularly sabbatical officers, rely hugely on the work done by part-time SU officers. These officers frequently sit on the Students’ Union Executive, where one exists, and give up their time to assist in the development and implementation of policies and campaigns. This award will go to the part-time officer who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that 2020/21 was a successful year for their SU.

General guidelines: 

  • For the purposes of eligibility, “part-time officer” shall refer to students’ union positions only – in the case of society executives, only those who are considered part-time officers of the affiliated Students’ Union are eligible for this award;
  • Part-time officers may be paid or unpaid, depending on their union;
  • A small number of part-time officers may be fulfilling their role while on sabbatical or on a year away from study. For the purposes of eligibility these students will be considered members of their union unless we are otherwise instructed by the relevant union;
  • Part-time officer is a broad term without formal definition. All elected part-time roles in affiliated students’ unions are eligible, with the exception of class representatives/equivalent roles e.g. student councillors/senators for which there is a separate award.

The shortlisted nominees are: 

  • Daniel O’Reilly (TCDSU) 
  • Jemma Molloy (MSU) 
  • Joel Rajesh (UCCSU) 
  • Lydia Roets (QUBSU) 
  • Margaret Hutchinson (AITSU) 
  • Stephen O’Riordan (UCCSU) 
Postgraduate Champion of the Year/Curadh Iarchéime na Bliana

Postgraduate Champion of the Year/Curadh Iarchéime na Bliana 

Supported by SIPTU

USI has begun to build a national approach towards engaging with our postgraduate members. This development has been mirrored by many within the student movement. This award recognizes anyone that has made an outstanding contribution towards postgraduate engagement and celebrates those who have been a champion for postgraduate students within their campus. An individual, group, society or Students’ Union may be nominated for this award. 

The shortlisted nominees are: 

  • Fund Our Postgrads (QUBSU & UUSU) 
  • Nicole Carr (MSU) 
  • Sebastiaan Birema (CML OÉG) 


Student Activist of the Year/Gníomhaí Mac Léinn na Bliana

Student Activist of the Year/Gníomhaí Mac Léinn na Bliana 

Supported by Amnesty International

This award will be presented to a student who has shown leadership in campaigning and advocating on a student issue or issues within their campus or wider community. It recognizes the commitment of a student to an issue that matters to them or their peers, not limited to, but could include: advancing student rights, raising the student voice on or off campus, equality and social justice, encouraging more student involvement in campaigns or initiatives, or advancing and defending the quality of education.

The shortlisted nominees are: 

  • Bethany Moore (QUBSU) 
  • Courtney McGrath (TCDSU) 
  • Mair Kelly (UCCSU) 
  • Tina Adinga (MSU) 

Student Media Outlet of the Year/Ardán Meáin Mac Léinn na Bliana

Student Media Outlet of the Year/Ardán Meáin Mac Léinn na Bliana 

The quality of content and the reach that student media has on and off campuses is an integral part to creating a sense of student life and community. This award recognises the student media outlet or platform that demonstrates high commitment to editorial, journalistic, or broadcast standards. It could go to an individual, group of individuals, organisation, society, or Students’ Union. It could include a publication, journal, radio station, blog, podcast or any other form of media. The budget and other limitations of any outlet will be taken into consideration and should be clearly outlined on the entry form.

The shortlisted media outlets are: 

  • Motley Magazine (UCCSU) 
  • Student Independent News (CML OÉG) 
  • Trinity News (TCDSU) 
  • The University Times (TCDSU) 

Students' Union Team of the Year/Foireann Aontas na Mac Léinn na Bliana

Students’ Union Team of the Year/Foireann Aontas na Mac Léinn na Bliana (Small/Medium/Large)/(Beag/Meánach/Mór)

Supported by Gaisce – The President’s Award

These Awards recognise the dedication of the elected Officer teams who lead and shape the direction of Students’ Unions around the country. Each year, teams of Sabbatical Officers and Part-Time Officers set the direction of their SUs and work on a plethora of campaigns and issues for the students they represent. Each Award recognises how these teams acted collectively and cohesively, that they identified things that needed to change, and that they sought to implement innovative and exciting new ideas so that they could represent students to the best of their ability.

Note: There will be three separate awards made in this category to the Small (<7000 students), Medium (7000-14,000 students) and Large (>14,000 students) SU of the year. Entries will be sorted into three categories after nominations close based on the following.

The shortlisted nominees are:


  • Athlone IT Students’ Union (AITSU) 
  • Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology Students’ Union (IADTSU) 
  • National College of Ireland Students’ Union (NCISU) 
  • Stranmillis Students’ Union (Stranmillis SU) 


  • IT Carlow Students’ Union (ITCSU) 
  • Maynooth Students’ Union (MSU) 
  • MTU Cork Students’ Union (MTUCSU) 


  • Queens’ University Belfast Students’ Union (QUBSU) 
  • TU Dublin Students’ Union (TUDSU) 
  • Ulster University Students’ Union (UUSU) 
  • University College Cork Students’ Union (UCCSU) 
Welfare Campaign of the Year/Feachtas Leasa na Bliana

Welfare Campaign of the Year/Feachtas Leasa na Bliana

Supported by

Protecting students is one of the core missions of USI and local Students’ Unions. This award will go to the campaign which has done the most to promote or protect the welfare of students in Ireland. Budget and other limitations will be taken into consideration and should be clearly outlined on the nomination submission form. An individual, groups of individuals, organisations, clubs, societies and Students’ Unions may be nominated for this award.

The shortlisted nominees are: 

  • Keep Well (UCCSU) 
  • SHAG (MSU) 
  • Student Wellbeing in Lockdown (NWRCSU) 

 Terms and Conditions

 Data Privacy: USI collects and processes data on nominees for events and awards for the purposes of managing the event.  Personally identifying information is collected and retained securely.

Personal data such as email address and telephone number will not be shared with third parties. Only names of nominees, and nominations submitted in support of the award will be shared with third parties (SAAI judges) for the purpose of the selection process.

Non-personal information, such as anonymised versions of the nominations submitted may be retained by USI, for up to a maximum of three years from the date of the event, for the purposes of the creation of sample answers for future awards. All other personal data, including names, email addresses and telephone numbers will be deleted within one month of the event taking place (29th April 2021).