Love York Awards logo Online for 2020

YUSU's annual event the Love York Awards takes place in Term 3, with a new venue soon to be revealed! This prestigious event recognises and rewards the achievements of all students here at the University of York.

Whether it's a society who has created an inclusive and social environment, a volunteer who has provided assistance to members of the local community or a course rep who went above and beyond the call of duty, these awards exist to recognise them.

This year there have been a few changes to the awards, including the addition of ‘The Green Award’ to celebrate those dedicated to helping the environment, and the ‘YUSU Student Staff of the Year Award’ to give recognition to those hard-working students who help to run the Union!

We've gone digital!

We're not going to let the new social distancing restrictions in place stop us from celebrating all our brilliant students at York! We'll be streaming a digital version of the award ceremony instead on our facebook page, on 4th June.

Watch the ceremony online now


Congratulations to all who have been shortlisted for one or more Love York Award this year!

Click on the awards to see the Shortlisters

Make sure to find out the winners during our live stream on Thursday 4th June on our Facebook page.

WINNER Josh Toplis

Previously Course Rep, and now Department Rep of the Archeology Department, Josh has done loads of great things for students. This includes, but is not limited to, securing reduced bus travel for first year students who travel to Kings Manor for lectures, creating useful wellbeing resources, rallying students to fundraise for Movember and helping his department navigate the effects that the recent strike had on teaching.

Eloise Mcminn Mitchell

“Eloise has been a fantastic academic rep for the English department for the past few years. She puts everybody’s wellbeing before her own and is completely on it when it comes to letting us know what’s going on with the department, especially during the current situation. She’s a really kind person and is really dedicated to making sure communication between staff and students goes well.”

Alex Spiby

“Alex has acted well beyond the normal remit of a Physics Department Rep. Not only does she work diligently with all reps, always ready to listen and take action, but she takes on challenges that really impact students. In particular, she has worked on the issue of sexism and the treatment of women in the Department. Through her work, talking to undergrad and postgrad students, YUSU, the GSA and the Chair of the Board of Studies, she has worked tirelessly to ensure the voice of women scientists is heard. I am so very lucky to have met such a resilient and passionate student as is Alex Spiby. Her bravery in speaking about an issue which is so readily swept under the carpet (especially in STEM), has made me feel more confident to speak up as well.”

Tom O’Neill

“Tom goes far beyond his responsibilities in looking after the department and its students, constantly engaging with all persons involved and chasing up all possibilities for improvement. Tom is a friendly face to all, and listens to all concerns, feeding back instantly. The computer science students appreciate all of his work immensely.”

University of York Boat Club - Challenge Week

One week. Over 70 athletes. 14 challenges. More than 2,800km travelled.

UYBC took part in ‘Challenge Week’, completing amazing feats such as cycling coast to coast, litter picking along the Ouse and rowing FOUR marathons!

The money raised went straight back into maintaining the club and towards purchasing proper equipment and facilities to ensure they could stay at the top of their game.

WINNER Red Flag Campaign - York Sport Union/Women & Non-Binary

“I am nominating York Sport Committee and Women and Nonbinary Network's 'Red Flags' campaign. Members of both groups worked hard to campaign about the signs of a toxic relationship and signposting support to help those that find themselves in these difficult situations. They did this by working with YUSU staff to publish 2 blog posts promoting the campaign, that contained the vital information and support links people might need, and social media posts. They also engaged various student groups across campus, who posed with a red flag to show their support.”

Free The Flow

“As a volunteer group, Free the Flow York have done a tremendous amount of work and made so much progress since being ratified last year. They are one of the largest volunteering groups on campus and have raised a very real issue (period poverty) that around half the population of those on campus face.”

Multilingual Experience

"A Multilingual Experience raises awareness about global issues through evenings of live music, poetry, art and speeches. Developing into a big campaign group this year, which directly responds to different current global crisis’s each time round, the team have collaborated with over seventy societies, networks, and individuals, to bring together a big, united force of York students to make a difference. These collaborations include YUSU, YSTV, cultural societies, liberation networks, mental health groups and many more.”

Emma Albery

“Emma is currently President of Student Minds. I began volunteering with Student Minds and from the first meeting, she was open and welcoming to all volunteers and new members. She has encouraged all of our ideas and, with the rest of our committee, led the recent “An Evening With Student Minds” that raised nearly £500 for Student mental health and well-being. She is friendly, outgoing, non-judgemental and has done so much for both sport and mental health within sport, working with uni sport presidents about the importance of mental health and wellbeing in athletes and university sports clubs.”


“Laura Burke deserves the Contribution to Student Well-Being award because of her unwavering commitment to student mental health and well-being over her time at University. When she took on the role of Constantine’s Vice Chair of community and well-being in second year, Laura always put student needs first. She ran many small events like exam de-stress breakfasts, international food events and made sure to always include mental health signposting especially to first years who were struggling in fresher’s week. Alongside this role she volunteered for Student Minds, eventually becoming Head of Publicity. Laura has expanded reach across York University and raised awareness of the great support the Student Minds charity provides for students.”

WINNER Holly Plews

“Holly is the founder and chair of Free The Flow. She tirelessly set up the group herself after volunteering at a food bank and noticed the lack of basic sanitary products available for homeless people. She then realised that this issue is also prevalent on campus. So, she created Free The Flow with the aim to end period poverty on campus and remove stigma around menstruation. Through this, she has organised many events to spread the message and educate people. She created a winter collection of products and raised more than 1000, half of which was sent to a local homeless charity and the other half sent to Gambia in aid of a collaboration called 'For Now, For Life' with a charity called 'Project Gambia'.”

Cezara-Lidia Jalba

Cezara-Lidia pitched the idea of free period products as part of the LibInspo competition this year. This involved extensive research into period poverty and its effects on students at York. She went on to become a finalist in the competition and pitched her idea (of a pilot scheme of free products to be provided in the Library) to a panel of judges. This was accepted and talks began with the Library to launch this popular idea. Unfortunately due to the Covid-19 pandemic this has been put on hold for now, but there are still plans to launch this when business goes back to normal!

Rose McKean

“Rose is one of the most delightful and intelligent people you can meet at York. She is constantly helping to organise talks, events and fundraisers for social justice issues.

She is very altruistic and uses her creativity to help educate those around her about social inequalities. She’s also a bad-ass feminist!”

Hamza Abdikadir

“Hamza has made a huge difference in promoting diversity within a number of student groups including the Students Support the Strikes campaign, the Working Class Network, and the Labour Club. He has encouraged us to think critically about race and class, using his own experience to help coordinate campaigns in an inclusive and effective manner.

He has also worked with the Student Hub alongside the Working Class Officers to set up the First Generation University Network and the fantastic launch event in freshers week. His passion shines through and he has stepped up where needed due to his dedication to the cause.”

WINNER Victoria Cornford

“Victoria has been an absolute stellar disabled woman, activist, leader, and stalwart rock for disabled students in particular. Whilst my work as the UK's disabled students' officer often means I get to work with hundreds of disabled student leaders across the country, Victoria stands out head and shoulders above. From organising amazing, inclusive, and creative disabled student events on York's campus (which has some of the best engagement I've seen across universities across the UK all year) such as the Accessival that was in October.

Further, Victoria has relentlessly campaigned on behalf of disabled students - from highlighting barriers to digital accessibility, challenging the university on its Covid response decisions, to everyday signage issues and VI banding.”

Nadiya Rashid

“Nadiya champions equality, inclusivity and diversity in both her personal life and in her contribution to student life. She founded the Social Self Improvement Society, home to nearly a hundred students who are interested in self-development and personal development. She runs a weekly meeting session, which covers different topics from mental health, productivity to love languages, attracting the most diverse set of students that I have ever seen. She was also on the BAME committee and a frequent attendee and supporter of Feminist society events.”


“MicroShield is best described as a creative space for exploring new and exciting innovations in the field of microbiology. It is run by a team of three students, who work tirelessly to test new boundaries under the supervision of university research academics.

The projects have seen support from the Laidlaw Research and Leadership Scholarship, York Business Summer Accelerator and the York Proof of Concept Fund twice over. Collectively, over £10,000 has been raised which has allowed for cutting edge lab research to be undertaken. Alongside, the project has received commercial guidance from business consultants, including an award-winning consultant with a successful Dragons’ Den appearance.”

York Negotiation Society

“This year, the team has organised the inaugural student-led national intervarsity negotiation competition with the University of Nottingham, UCL and LSE; sponsored by six prestigious law firms and law schools, including Clifford Chance, Mayer Brown, CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang, Norton Rose Fulbright, BPP University Law School and The Corporate Law Academy (‘TCLA’).

Previously suffering from a lack of awareness and lack of engagement on campus, this novel and innovative collaboration addressed various challenges including the reputation/ standing of the society on a national level, the inherent entry barriers to an extremely competitive career such as law and the physical barrier of understanding the professional work environment between Yorkshire and London.”

WINNER A Multilingual Experience

“A Multilingual Experience raises awareness about global issues through evenings of live music, poetry, art and speeches. Developing into a big event this year, which directly responds to different current global crisis’s each time round, the team have collaborated with over seventy societies, networks, and individuals, to bring together a big, united force of York students to make a difference. These collaborations include YUSU, YSTV, cultural societies, liberation networks, mental health groups and many more.”

URY Freshers: working with YUSU

“URY’s presence during the entirety of Freshers Week was in itself unique and impressive. Throughout the week, URY attended departmental stalls, events and welcome lectures in subjects from Electronic Engineering and Computer Science to Music and History. We also put a differently themed outside broadcast (where we set up our speakers and do a day of shows from a location on campus) each day - from hosting the Halifax and Langwith College move in days, to a rowing machine competition in James College featuring giveaways from York Sport, through to more relaxed request based shows from Derwent College and Vanbrugh College, which featured other student groups as guests.

As if this wasn’t enough of an effort, we then closed out the week with our most ambitious Freshers’ Fair yet. Testing both our technical and creative capabilities, we broadcasted from the top of Central Hall for six hours, sending teams of presenters out onto the campus lake to join the broadcast with wireless microphones. This involved contacting YUSU Health and Safety months before the event, discussing plans for the meantime, and a very lengthy risk assessment on their part - but it certainly paid off, as existing students were bewildered to see absolutely anything happening on the lake, and the new students were impressed with the technical capabilities of an entirely student run group.”

University of York Boat Club - Challenge Week

One week. Over 70 athletes. 14 challenges. More than 2,800km travelled.

UYBC took part in ‘Challenge Week’, completing amazing feats such as cycling coast to coast, litter picking along the Ouse and rowing FOUR marathons!

The money raised went straight back into maintaining the club and towards purchasing proper equipment and facilities to ensure they could stay at the top of their game.

University of York Dance Society

“This past year the University of York's Dance Society (UYDS) has focused on bringing charity work into their society for the first time in recent years.

In the past academic year, we have raised £1273.53 for a variety of charities: Ambulance Wish Foundation; Calm; Cancer Research UK; Coppafeel; KEEN; Tea and Coffee Volunteering Society (Tackling loneliness in York's elderly community); and York Minds. All of which provide support for those in need in their own unique way.

We are extremely proud to have supported all these charities this year and give back to the student, local, and national community. We are confident UYDS' new committee will continue to build upon the societies fundraising efforts started this year and smash the above record.”

Sasha Sequeira

For her 21st, Sasha shaved her head (18 inches of hair) to raise awareness and funds for the environmental charity ‘World Land Trust’. She managed to raise £831 exceeding the targeted £610, through her amazing family, University community and friends who believed in the cause. Sasha is extremely passionate about nature and raising awareness of climate change, and this was the reason she decided on this beneficiary and decided to pursue an Environmental career and study Environment, Economics and Ecology. The added benefit and one of equal importance was that her hair was donated to The Little Princess Trust and would be re-used to make hair pieces (wigs) for children who have lost their hair to cancer and other illnesses.

WINNER Movember Student Ambassador - Kieran McGowan

“As a Movember Student Ambassador Kieran McGowan led the fundraising for Men's Health on campus in November 2019 raising over £26,000 in the single month of November, making the University of York the 7th highest fundraising University in the UK. The Movember Foundation is a charity which raises funds and awareness for Men's Health causes, specifically mental health, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.”

Individual Entry - Chelsea Fawcett

“Chelsea has raised over £1000 for mental health charities in the last few years. A highlight was when she ran 27 miles to raise awareness of student mental health. She is very committed to her causes and raised funds even when she was going through a particularly difficult time. She is an inspiration.

Chelsea also maintains a blog where she writes about being a student nurse. She shares great tips & advice on various topics including essay writing.

She's not yet qualified but it's evident she's going to be an asset to her future profession of mental health nursing.”

WINNER Tea and Coffee Club

“They meet regularly (once a week) with local elderly residents with the aim of reducing loneliness in the community. Many of the elderly visitors live alone and do not have many opportunities to socialise or even leave their homes, so Tea and Coffee Club offers a brilliant and vital chance for them to create friendships with university students. This group is a wonderful way of connecting the university to the wider York community and, in doing so, make a real difference in our locality.”

Open Minds

“This year has been phenomenal for OpenMinds. With over 100 new volunteers, the group have been able to stretch further and wider than ever before.

Just one example of their incredible achievements include a whole sixth form assembly focusing on mental health and looking after mental well being during such a challenging period of life. The audience was over 100 students, and the feedback was exceptional, with students claiming they wanted more of these assemblies, allowing us to make a solid connection for next year.”

York Marrow

“York Marrow has had an incredibly successful year, even if it was unfortunately cut short due to the pandemic. As of 13th April 2020, York Marrow has raised £1363.57, with ongoing fundraising events, and recruited 412 people to the stem cell register. Since 1 in 100 people recruited through Marrow go on to donate their stem cells, 4 lives have potentially been saved through these recruitment events alone.”

Emily Miller

“She has been involved with the society Kids Enjoy Exercise Now (KEEN) York since she started in first year and has served on the committee for 2 years as Outreach Officer and as secretary. Her description of how great KEEN was and how fun and fulfilling it was to make a difference in the children's lives caused me to join up and it has been a big part of my life for the last 2 years. In particular Emily's work with non-verbal children and zest for learning the sign language Makaton has been particularly great and she built great relationships with the kids and will be sorely missed next year.”

Theatre in Schools

“For the last six years, Theatre in Schools has been helping primary school pupils bring their dreams to life through drama, craft and script writing workshops. This year, we have done a wide range of different sessions and been, in our imaginations, to many different places, ranging from a giant’s lair atop a Spanish mountain to outer space! Our sessions have included everything from improvisational Shakespeare at the Rose Theatre to fun games and craft sessions at local schools and community centres.”


“MEG, York’s Music Education Group, have had an extremely positive year, although it was unfortunately cut short due to COVID-19. Our aim is to bring a high level of music education and activities to areas of our local community, where music may be lacking or underfunded, providing more people the opportunity to experience music. This year we have had a committee of twenty-three members. One hundred and seventy-seven new volunteers signed up to receive our weekly email updates, a big increase from last academic year.”


It has been an outstanding year for YSTV, with the student group further establishing their role as one of, if not the leading student TV station in the country. Coming off an already successful year 2018/19, the team behind YSTV managed to achieve several significant milestones within the past 12 months, while continuously producing high quality programming, catering to their constant viewership of York students, and supporting uni services, societies and YUSU through providing them with videos (covering their events, campaigns or services) and regular livestreams.

These are just the main reasons for why YSTV deserves to be recognised as Student Group of the Year. They continue doing excellent work in their respective field, excelling over comparable student TV stations at other unis, create a huge amount of content for York students and, arguably more important than that, have also created an atmosphere of friendship and team spirit within their own group.

WINNER Norman Rea Gallery

This nomination is for the Norman Rea Gallery - they should be recognised for this award because of the tangible and significant difference they have made to the lives and environment on campus, but also within York as a whole.

Our events offer a sense of community and strengthening of the arts on campus, but also are fun events that bring together live music on culture. We honestly believe that of the 250 people that came to the last exhibition, each of them was impacted and enjoyed the event. We feel that this particular aspect of our society - the ability to impact so many from such a wide range of backgrounds - makes us special.


As the oldest independent radio station in the UK, for 52 years URY has been run by and for students. Despite our long history, we think this might be one of our best years yet; it’s seen us step up our content, improve our training, and better support student audiences and creators in the recent tough times.

URY is an amazing society to get involved in! Not only can you meet wonderful people, who have completely different interests, but are bound together by this shared love for making radio, but it is also outstanding, especially in the media landscape of this University: Their coverage of the YUSU Elections, as well as the General Elections was informative, as well as entertaining and the different shows (eg. music, speech, entertainment) and podcasts, are always aimed at a high standard, which the many nominations/awards at the Student Radio Awards and I Love Student Radio Awards show.

It is a diverse, fun and hard-working society that is never scared to get involved on campus and deserves this Award because of the many possibilities that it offers to its many members , as well as for non-members. Or to phrase it with one of their slogans: It is "by students, for students!"


Nouse is York’s oldest and, in our opinion, best student group. With an enormous paying membership of 114 we are also one of York’s largest. Tasked with holding the University to account, being the voice for students and a source of entertainment, Nouse rarely disappoints. This year has been no different.

With numerous high quality print editions a year, we reach every corner of campus. Our articles have appeared on the curriculum of the University, have amassed a huge digital audience on our website, and have helped shape University policy. Spanning all aspects of student life at York, whether it be covering sports games or announcing the candidates for the YUSU elections, Nouse is a vital component for student life for its members and readers alike.

University of York Labour Club

The University of York Labour Club (UYLC) has consistently gone above and beyond expectations this year. In previous years the society was consistently active, but events and meetings this year have been much better planned with higher levels of engagement and creativity than ever before. The club has had a strong impact in the lives of many of its members and is an amazing community to be a part of. The committee this year has been excellent and changed the expectations of what the society is about, so much so that it will have a lasting improvement for the society. Expectations about what UYLC is and does have significantly changed. A notable highlight was the club hosting its first ever formal, which sold-out. Another highlight was when the club held a conference which saw various Labour MPs come to York, attracting audience members from the local community and Labour students across Yorkshire. This goes above and beyond what is expected of a student group which is why UYLC deserves to be awarded the ‘Student Group of the Year’.


MEG, York’s Music Education Group, have had an extremely positive year, although it was unfortunately cut short due to COVID-19. MEGs aim is to bring a high level of music education and activities to areas of our local community, where music may be lacking or underfunded, providing more people the opportunity to experience music. This year MEG has had a committee of twenty-three members. One hundred and seventy-seven new volunteers signed up to receive MEGs weekly email updates, a big increase from last academic year.

As passionate young musicians MEG want as many people as possible to have musical opportunities. As well as helping educate staff members, giving them the confidence and resources for them to use in everyday situations. Thus, MEG allows music to be more accessible within York for all ages and backgrounds.

Harry Clay

Harry Clay has been nothing short of a brilliant leader. Not only has he brought the Lemon Press to new satirical heights, he has dug up formerly condemned newspaper York Vision from the ground and made it into a highly-functioning source of campus information in less than a year.

Harry is truly an asset for any media group, as he is not only competent, but excels in all areas of journalism and leadership. He has ensured that the future teams of York Vision have a secure and highly-regarded publication to work with, and his work in doing this for both publications truly shows his utter commitment to student media.

WINNER Jonathan Wellington

Student Media is more than just journalism and content. It is bigger than just awards and numbers or scoring cheap points against your 'rivals'. In every possible way, Jonny has exemplified what it is to be a positive influence and a brilliant journalist. He has exposed the University's dishonesty relating to students' personal data with his own talent for investigative journalism and led the newspaper to great achievements on a national scale, but above all he has achieved these great feats with an unparalleled sense of putting people first. Every email, every article and every meeting always has the people involved at the heart of it.

Jonny Wellington lives and breathes Nouse at this point. His hard work and dedication as well as leadership skills have made him an incredible editor. He’s a talented writer, an excellent leader and an even better friend to those in Nouse. His work has helped shape the paper over the past year, with some ambitious projects and unwavering dedication keeping the paper looking sharp and reading well, edition after edition. I’m sure I speak for the whole of Nouse when I say that there is no one who deserves this award more than Jonny.

Holly Palmer

Holly Palmer is an outstanding member of the University of York student media community who deserves greater recognition for her work. Over the past year, she has been a member key to the success of three different student media groups, each of which are indebted to her.

Including The York Historian, which before her work, wouldn't have even been eligible for this award. A specialist magazine focusing on accessible, but high quality history, Holly has served as Co-Editor-in-Chief for the past year, and will be serving a second term. She is bringing the publication into print for the first time in years. The dedication that takes is admirable, but on top of that is the continuous online output, of which she paid out of her own pocket to keep sustainable, which delivers fantastic, high quality essays to students across the University, regardless of their degree.


You can’t imagine University Radio York without Naomi Gildert. For 6 years, she’s been part of the URY family, and for 4 she kept us on air as Programme Controller, instilling her passion for high quality content and drive to make URY the best it can be in 4 different batches of freshers. But it’s her willingness to give back and champion others that makes her truly special.

Over her time at URY, she has trained over 100 new members to use our studio; it’s this sort of commitment and kindness that has won her the URY Person of the Year Award 4 times in a row. Naomi has left a permanent mark on URY, and we are extremely grateful for it.

Alex West

Alex has always been at the heart of student media at York, from introducing new efficient processes to inspiring other students with his inclusive projects. Alex is a delight to work with and his passion for student radio is amazing to witness.

He is the very best of York’s student media: highly talented and ever the perfectionist. But Alex stands out because of the way he always, always looks beyond his own individual success. In a field where we so often see students asking, “What more can I get?”, Alex asks, “What more can I give?”. What else can I say? He’s never one to stop at ‘outstanding’.

I can’t really imagine York student media without Alex West, the man who always knows what’s going on and who is bursting with creative ideas. But he is also incredibly humble about his achievements, and instead prefers to celebrate and lift up other’s for their successes. I really believe after everything he’s done and all he has given it Is time for him to receive the recognition he deserves.

Matthew Strattford

Matthew Stratford has been involved at URY and YSTV for almost four years now, but when you look at his list of achievements it could be closer to 40.

Matt is one of the most productive members in URY Computing history, having contributed over 15,000 lines of code across various software projects. It’s not an uncommon sight to see a message from him at 4 in the morning, saying “I’ve fixed ”. His knowledge of our systems outstrips any current member (though that’s not to say that he hasn’t worked hard on documenting them, to preserve that knowledge for future members), and when we experience a problem the first reaction is often “What would MattStrat do?”

Sadly for us, Matt is graduating this year, and next year’s freshers will not get to meet him outside of reunion events. Nevertheless, his countless contributions to both URY and YSTV, which have improved nearly every member’s lives over the last four years, will certainly not go forgotten.


“This was CHMS' biggest show of the year. It had a cast of 26 incredibly talented individuals who rehearsed tirelessly for 5 months to put on the musical 'Chicago'. This production gave these people the opportunity to be involved with CHMS' highest budget performance of the year and allowed them to make friends with so many people with the same passion - musical theatre.”

WINNER YSTV - “Please Sir, There’s Been a Murder”

“The worlds first live, interactive film. Please Sir, There's Been A Murder! was the biggest event of the year for YSTV, bringing together every year group and students from a variety of courses, in order to attempt something that has never been attempted in professional broadcast TV (and they did it!).”

Multilingual Experience

“A Multilingual Experience raises awareness about global issues through evenings of live music, poetry, art and speeches. Developing into a big campaign group this year, which directly responds to different current global crisis’s each time round, the team have collaborated with over seventy societies, networks, and individuals, to bring together a big, united force of York students to make a difference. These collaborations include YUSU, YSTV, cultural societies, liberation networks, mental health groups and many more.”

URY at Freshers' Festival x 2

“This year URY had a heavy involvement in YUSU’s Freshers’ Festival, including announcing the main stage acts, providing the main stage hosts, and putting on our very own acoustic stage. This stage was managed by our Music Team, who sourced artists and liaised with Technical Stage Services and YUSU’s Events Team to ensure that the evening went off without a hitch. We polled the student body weeks in advance for which York-based acts they’d like to perform, and offered slots to several student artists, allowing them to showcase their talent and support some bigger names. To our delight, we had audience feedback and applicants not only from the University of York, but across the country, ultimately succeeding in making this event as accessible as possible for student and up and coming performers.”

Intergenerational Music Project by MEG

“In November MEG (Music Education Group) held an Intergenerational Music Project which culminated with a big performance in the Lack Lyons in November. This project was headed up by our amazing chair Lori who put her heart and soul into the project. The concert consisted of many elements including singing, African Drumming and a soundscape in conjunction with a recital of The Night Before Christmas. Committee members provided weekly workshops to two primary schools and a care home in the four weeks prior to the performance, in order to develop the participants skills, confidence and musical material.”

‘Up North - Young Artists’ exhibition hosted by the Norman Rea Gallery

“The exhibition was curated by 25 dedicated members of the Norman Rea Gallery in a short turn around of only 3 weeks in February 2020. During this time, we formed a community of people dedicated to giving a platform to Northern Emerging Artists, many studying at the University of York itself, whilst other artists showcased came from a range of locations across the North including Middlesbrough, Kendal, Manchester, Alnwick and many more. The gallery provided a platform for over 30 artists.

The opening event, on the evening of 25th February was free and was attended by over 180 people, the largest event the gallery has hosted in its history.”

Lucy Walsh

“President of People and Planet Society.

This year, Lucy helped set up this new society and has organised special speakers to come talk. She also helped establish the Gardening Society last year. She is incredibly creative and always helping with the arts and craft for pretty much any environmental group in York.”

Patrick Thelwell
  • “Ran as a Green candidate last year.
  • Is always inspiring to talk to about what we can do as ordinary people to help battle climate change.
  • Has been interview many times in national news such as The Guardian as he is a member of Extinction Rebellion.”
Sarah Burnard

“Sarah Burnard is the outgoing campaigns rep for Amnesty Society. Since September 2019 she has been tirelessly coordinating University of York's contribution to the York strike for climate, a UoY climate assembly, and an open mic for climate to name a few.

Her incredible amount of time sacrifice to leaflet for hours in the cold, promote and talk to hundreds of students about the need for significant and systematic changes on all level to tackle the climate crisis has made a real difference. She is helping to change the message from lots of individual changes being all we can do to empowering people to take action to influence those in power to make the changes we so desperately need. People like her give me hope a better future is possible.”

Sasha Sequeira

Throughout her 4 year University experience, Sasha has sought and taken up every environmental opportunity possible, this year has stood out as delivering the biggest efforts to deliver a green change.

One example of this was on her 21st birthday, when she shaved all 18 inches of hair on her head to raise funds for the environmental charity ‘World Land Trust’. She managed to raise £831 exceeding the targeted £610, which was donated to the Trust; which funds the creation of reserves to protect nature and develop partnerships with local communities; to engage further support and commitment in project areas.

WINNER WILD Magazine UK, York Team

“In December 2019 the York WILD mag team pulled together a selection of local sustainable businesses from North Yorkshire for a special collaboration with Thomas's of York Bar, who recently had a 'green upgrade' of their menu and premises! The team coordinated the planning and set up of various stalls and delivered interactive green quizzes with the public. In combination with a raffle, all donations and ticket sales went to St. Nicks: Centre for Nature and Green Living, based in York. Special mentions include University of York students: Amy Beckford, Katy Watson, Annabel Mulliner, Gabi Everett, Megan Tarbuck and Flynn Moore who helped bring the event together. “

Mark Matthews and Merry Dickinson

“Merry Dickinson and Mark Matthews have worked extremely hard to make environmental issues heard at the University of York. They have approached the urgent climate situation with passion and vigour, lobbying the university on a wide range of environmental issues and engaging in activism. Their lobbying efforts (and of many before them) toward the university to encourage them to pledge to divest from fossil fuels resulted in the new Vice Chancellor announcing the University would fully divest.

They've also worked with YUSU to declare a climate emergency and make tangible change to YUSUs events and business practices.”

Kelly Richards

“Kelly Richards is amazing. Working on helpdesk, she always goes above and beyond to help students out with any queries, especially in my experience as a PTO. She's so kind, caring and hard working she deserves so much recognition for her work.”


"She is a supervisor at vbar and works hard at her job. She makes the place more welcoming and is always a friendly face at the bar. She takes time to get get know regular customers and welcoming new customers. She is someone you always want to have serving you."

Andrew Battersby

“Andrew Battersby has been a great asset to the YUSU Bars team at Courtyard for a while now and he certainly deserves any recognition that he can get. As a member of the kitchen staff, he is only rarely seen by students visiting the venue, but anyone who knows him personally can testify to how committed he is to his work. Despite going through incredibly tough times and personal hardships throughout this year, Andrew continued to put a lot of effort into his position at Courtyard, soon becoming one of the more senior faces at the venue.”

Becca McCallum - Fundraising and Volunteering Assistant

“Becca joined the Community Team in YUSU in September 2019, as the first Fundraising and Volunteering Assistant. Although there was a role description and supervision, Becca began to shape the role to get the best out of it. She brought new and innovative ideas to the role, to engage our existing volunteers and recognise their achievements.”

Maisie Clarke - College Sport Assistant

“Maisie has worked at YUSU for two years now and has been highly influential in the development of College Sport. Although many may not see it, Maisie is always working away in the background to make sure facilities are booked, referees are in place and scores are up to date, amongst many other things! Alongside this Maisie was at the centre of the College Varsity planning group. Maisie brings creativity, organisation and leadership to the team and College Varsity could not have happened without her.”

Nisha Desai - BUCS & Sports Assistant

“Nisha has held various roles at the University which ranged from Swimming & Waterpolo president, York Sport Committee events officer to the BUCS & Sports Assistant. She is always a pleasure to work with and commits herself to any of her roles.

As a student staff member in the sports team at YUSU, she has adapted very well during unforeseen circumstances, she has helped out across other team projects and she has performed exceptionally in her allocated tasks.”


“I'm nominating Issy Tee, our Student Opportunities Assistant, for this award. She has been nothing but an utter joy to work with since she first walked into her interview.. A real bundle of energy, Issy's enthusiasm for, well, everything is completely infectious. She took to her key task of managing the Give it a Go scheme immediately, and set about improving systems and widening engagement and participation in the scheme from her first day.”

Keiron Buttle

“Keiron single handily transformed our opinions of YUSU bars, staff and events. He gives each student time and helped introduce our gang to other groups, which has led us to make a close and expanded friendship group. He knows all the events going on, all the drinks deals and what the best things are on the menu. He goes out of his way throughout his shifts to provide the best service but in a way that you get from a friend. We would go to Courtyard in term 2, partly because it was closer than spoons but mainly to see Keiron who is often a one man stand up show.”

Clark Brydon

“His work as department representative has helped the student community greatly- being such an approachable person he made all our thoughts heard and made us all feel like our opinions really mattered, and through this brought about huge change in our course and department. He does this all tirelessly alongside his out of uni life, working several part-time jobs, but he is always chipper and loves to be busy. His work keeping the music society and department community together during the COVID crisis has been excellent, through means of vlogs and throwback concerts on the social media. It’s made us all feel a little closer together.”

Senah Tuma

Senah Tuma has contributed heavily to the arts at University during their time here, through their involvement with the Norman Rea Gallery, Wentworth art Studios, Art History Society as well as the Scott Award and as my time as Department Representative for History of Art. Senah has been heavily involved with a huge amount of aspects of artistic and culture life at York, and has dedicated herself to making a difference in terms of availability of artistic resources and events, as well as diversifying and shedding a light on challenges that the arts faces while at University.

Ross Davidson

For the past three years, Ross has shown commitment not only to the university hockey club, but also Langwith’s hockey team; demonstrating his enthusiastic and dedicated nature, and his genuine love for the sport. This year has been a great year for the club, with no relegations, the Ladies 1s getting to the finals of the conference cup and the men’s 1s and ladies 3’s getting promoted. I thoroughly believe these successes would not have been possible without the dedication and involvement of Ross. Ross is explicitly clear that he is such a passionate person: about hockey, sport, but also the university of York as a whole. He has made mine and numerous other individual’s university lives positive, and I hope his hard work can be recognised through this award.

WINNER Alex Spiby

Throughout her time at university Alex has contributed greatly to the lives of students and is always willing to give up her time to help out.

Within the department Alex has always been one of the first to volunteer. She has volunteered at every PhysFest, has been a part of the Physics Awards planning committee for 3 years and also been a proactive student ambassador for 3 years. Most notably she is the Department Rep. Within this role she has organised A-Cake-Demic events, supported the reps, helped to build a community in the department and always been visible and present in the department whilst actively trying to improve student voice. This meant that she also took a lead in organising a very successful 3rd and 4th year social.

Alex West

Over his time at York, in his several roles at URY, broader contributions to student media, development of the Club of PEP as its President, and outstanding level of support to the community as a whole, Alex West has made an enduring contribution to our community, and supported the growth of invaluable student opportunities.

Alex has been an active and dedicated leader in the student community, working with groups and students across the University to create opportunities for students, and long-term success for the groups he has been involved with. His contribution to our community has been outstanding, and will leave a mark long after he leaves, so he is incredibly deserving of this recognition.

Sasha Sequeira

Throughout Sashas university experience, they have striven to seize every opportunity they could avail of and they should be extremely proud of all that they have achieved. Sasha has built their confidence and taught them that they are capable of anything they set my mind to. Maintaining a high grade in their degree has been very important to them, but she is a firm believer that university is much more than just a place to get a degree. Sasha is so thankful to have attended the University of York and especially for everything it has given to them!

The winner and shortlist for this award is chosen by Sabbs, PTOs and student committees who hope to shine a light on students that are yet to take the spotlight but do outstanding work behind the scenes for student life.

Award Categories

Take a look at this year’s award categories. Click on the titles for a full description

This award recognises those who strive to make improvements to their course or the general academic experience of students studying at University. This could be by being an Academic Rep, helping to organise alternative lectures or working closely with their department to improve the student experience.

Strong student-led campaigns make a difference to individuals or groups on campus, in the community, nationally or even internationally. All varieties of campaigns are accepted for this award, from diversity and liberation, environmental, promotional, political and much more.

This award recognises the work of an individual or group who have shown dedication, passion and innovation to improve the wellbeing of students or have raised awareness of specific issues with relevance to contribution to student well-being.

This award will be given to an individual that has made a positive contribution to equality, inclusivity and diversity on any scale. Please note that any nominees for this category must self identify as one or more of the below:

  • BAME
  • Mature
  • Disabled
  • Woman
  • Non-Binary
  • Working Class
  • This award recognises the creativity of a student or student group who have addressed any demand or issue using an innovative and enterprising solution, by working in partnership with another body. This could be starting up a new business or enterprise (project/event).

    Charities change the lives of people in need and this award recognises the great fundraising contributions to charity by individuals.

    The Volunteering Award is awarded to an outstanding volunteer, active citizen or group in recognition of their dedication, efforts and impact in the community or wider nationally, or even internationally.

    This award recognises the outstanding achievements of a particular student group that is for with or by students, whether that be a society, sports club, network or volunteering project if your student group has made a difference to the lives of students; we want to hear from you.

    Student Media takes skill, hard work and dedication to produce - with many roles behind the scenes. This award recognises outstanding individuals that demonstrate the benefit of student media at York or those who have made a significant impact to improve the quality of student media.

    Events can pull people together, celebrate successes and educate. At a time where nightlife and venues dwindle in town, this award is to celebrate the ingenuity and the hard work of students who have put on an event that has been exceptional at breaking down barriers and doing something different.

    In line with YUSUs declaration of a climate emergency in September of 2019, this award recognises the efforts of students to make greener choices easier by making changes, big or small to sustainable efforts, either in the community, at the university or within the union.

    This award is for a student staff at YUSU who have gone above and beyond in their role. Student staff keep the Union running; from working tirelessly in our bars to make sure you have a good night out, to helping to organise our biggest events of the year.

    This award recognises a student who has made a positive contribution to university life across their time at York so far. Whether they have been heavily involved in one area or many, their dedication and involvement will have been considerable. This award takes into consideration the contribution from their entire student life.

    The winner and shortlist for this award is chosen by Sabbs, PTOs and student committees who hope to shine a light on students that are yet to take the spotlight but do outstanding work behind the scenes for student life.

    Please note: you cannot submit nominations for this award.

    Meet The Judges

    Samara Jones

    YUSU President
    Samara Jones
    Favourite thing about York

    I love that you're never too far from a green space or river.

    Best memory of your time at University of York

    Roses 2019 was one of the best weekends during my time at York, I was on the sport committee so spent the 3 days at all of the different events and when we found out York won it just made the weekend.

    The highlight was standing on the stage at the closing ceremony, with the whole committee holding the Carter James trophy full of white roses.

    Hobby/activity you do in your spare time

    Ballroom and Latin dancing (just like Strictly!)

    How long have you lived in York?

    Just under 4 years

    Joan Concannon

    Director of External Relations and Director of York Festival of Ideas
    Joan Concannon
    Favourite thing about York

    Heritage combined with independent bars, restaurants and retail (well normally!) and walkability!

    Best memory of your time at University of York

    It’s a community of people who really want to make the world a better place!

    Hobby/activity you do in your spare time

    Cooking, reading and watching black and white movies!

    How long have you lived in York?

    10 years.

    Charlie Jeffrey

    Vice Chancellor
    Charlie Jeffrey
    Favourite thing about York

    Food! From small local bakeries and delis, great market stalls, top fish and chips, and brilliant restaurants (top tip: Los Moros - hope to go there again as soon as we are allowed)

    Best memory of your time at University of York

    Many - great students, great academics. But retaining the Roses title in online mode this year stands out

    Hobby/activity you do in your spare time

    Running/cheesy rock music, ideally together

    How long have you lived in York?

    9 months

    Kelly Balmer

    Student studying Social and Political Sciences
    Kelly Balmer
    Favourite thing about York

    It was Fibbers, but I guess now it's Flares?

    Best memory of your time at University of York

    The Roses Opening Ceremony 2019, I feel as a first year at the time it really secured my love for the 3 VKs for £6 deal, as well as the community spirit and showcase of talent York as a University has to be proud of, because roses are and always will be white.

    Hobby/activity you do in your spare time

    The creation of sound, I'm super into music, playing it and writing songs that no one but my unfortunate housemates get to hear

    How long have you lived in York?

    I have been at York for 2 years now and I am still intimidated by the geese!

    Mary Haworth

    Director of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement
    Mary Haworth
    Favourite thing about York

    So many things that it is impossible to single just one out: its museums and heritage, that it smells of chocolate, that you can walk everywhere, that it's just beautiful!

    Best memory of your time at University of York

    Every year at Graduation when the stage is given over to our Student Orators to speak on behalf of the graduating class. So many times you could hear a pin drop, there isn't a dry eye in the house and you can tell that the experience that the student has shared resonates with every student in the room.

    Hobby/activity you do in your spare time

    Chasing my kids around the Museum Gardens, running and then drinking red wine (usually but not always in that order)

    How long have you lived in York?

    9 years

    Some Previous Winners

    The following were awarded at the 2019 Love York Awards.

    Academic Representation Award

    Winner: Baylee Williams

    Baylee has served as an academic rep for psychology for the past two years - last year as a course rep, and this year as a department rep. Baylee's contribution to the general community feel within the department, as well as within student voice, has been beyond exceptional (even going as far as being labelled "our super-rep" by the faculty).

    Campaign of the Year

    Winner: Fossil Free York

    Fossil Free York, the campaign for the University of York to divest from the fossil fuel industry, was a significant achievement that was only possible due to the dedication of numerous student activists. From crafting a clear campaign plan to creating a consistent brand (a black handprint, symbolising the University having oil on their hands) and an engaging social media strategy, this campaign worked to effectively engage students and lobby the University to divest the £217 000 they have invested in fossil fuels.

    Contribution to Student Well-being

    Winner: Aneeska Sohal

    As the President of University of York Student Minds, Aneeska has mobilised a range of societies and groups from across the university in order to raise awareness and make changes for student mental health. Aneeska has built up links with YUSU, and has teamed up with them for Keep Your Cool week, handing out positive notes in the library during crunch time to help her fellow student community.

    Diversity & Inclusivity Award

    Winner: Vanessa Sefa

    Knowing that retention of BAME students has been a problem at York, Vanessa searched for the University’s Widening Participation Team’s details in her first year, reached out to introduce herself and her ideas and began to develop a relationship with the team. This lead to, as of September 2019, incoming BAME students receiving a welcome pack which included items like A “BAME 101” pack with relevant support, advice and contacts helping BAME students integrate more quickly into the York.