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Student leaders, activists and student-led groups have been recognised in a virtual awards ceremony, hosted by the Union of Students in Ireland.

The Student Achievement Awards Ireland (SAAIs), now in their eighth year, recognise the outstanding contribution of students towards campus life and community, and wider society, across 21 categories.

In a virtual awards ceremony, hosted by Amy Kelly, students from across Ireland gathered to hear who had been selected as the winners of each category. All entries were adjudicated by a panel of independent judges from a variety of backgrounds including the community and voluntary sector, Higher Education and local media.

Winners were recognised across a variety of categories including Club/Society of the Year, Academic Representative of the Year, Outstanding Mental Health Activism and Students’ Union Team of the Year.

Commenting on the awards, USI Deputy President and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Kevin McStravock said: “The SAAIs recognise the incredible commitment of Students’ Unions, student activists and student-led organisations across Ireland in improving the lives of students, not just on campus but in wider society. Despite all the challenges COVID-19 posed for them, students have demonstrated incredible leadership in running campaigns, advocating for their peers and raising money for charity.

“Those nominated this year are fantastic ambassadors, not only for their colleges and the student body, but for Irish society.”

Some 870 third-level teaching staff were also recognised at the event through the Teaching Hero Awards, ran in partnership by USI and the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning.

The full list of SAAI winners is:

Academic Representative of the Year (sponsored by QQI):Michael Upham, QUBSU
Access Champion of the Year (sponsored by HEA Access Policy Unit): TU Dublin Students’ Union
An Gradam Éacht ar Son na Gaeilge (sponsored by Conradh na Gaeilge): IADT Students’ Union
Charity Champion of the Year (sponsored by The Wheel): UCC Cancer Society
Club/Society of the Year (sponsored by BICS): UCC Medical Research & Technology Society
Education Campaign of the Year (sponsored by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning): Student Safety Net, QUBSU
Environmental and Sustainability Activism of the Year (sponsored by STAND): Aine Hennessy, TCDSU
Equality Campaign of the Year (sponsored by AHEAD): Destigmatising Disabilities in Education, IADTSU
Full-Time Officer of the Year (sponsored by Forsa): Collette Cassidy, UUSU
Individual Contribution to Student Media: Thomas Copeland, Queen’s Radio
International Student of the Year (sponsored by ICOS): Yi Kang Choo, QUBSU
Mature Student of the Year (sponsored by Mature Students Ireland): Jenni Martin, UUSU
Outstanding Mental Health Activism (sponsored by Samaritans): Jessica McMahon, MSU
Part-Time Officer of the Year (sponsored by Hammond Good Solicitors): Stephen O’Riordan, UCCSU
Postgraduate Champion of the Year (sponsored by SIPTU): Nicole Carr, MSU
Student Activist of the Year (sponsored by Amnesty International): Mair Kelly, UCCSU
Student Media Outlet of the Year: The University Times, TCDSU
Students’ Union Team of the Year (supported by Gaisce – The President’s Award)
Small: Stranmillis Students’ Union
Medium: IT Carlow Students’ Union
Large: TU Dublin Students’ Union
Welfare Campaign of the Year (sponsored by SpunOut.ie): Student Wellbeing in Lockdown, NWRC Students’ Union

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