A student at Ulster University’s Magee campus has been shortlisted for a prestigious national volunteering award.
Final year mental health nursing student Gary Rutherford beat off stiff competition from students across the UK to be shortlisted for the 2015 Student Volunteer of the Year Award, as part of the annual Student Volunteering Week celebrations across the UK.
Commenting on Gary’s nomination by the Ulster University’s Students’ Union (UUSU), Rachel Tait from Student Volunteering Week, a joint initiative from NUS and Student Hubs said: “The judging panel spent several hours deliberating over the dozens of nominations that we received this year - it was a very difficult decision but Gary stood out and the judges unanimously agreed that he belonged in the top five.”
Final year nursing student Gary will now be whisked to a lavish Parliamentary Celebration Event in the House of Commons on February 23rd, to launch Student Volunteering Week where the winner will be announced. The party will be hosted by Julian Huppert, MP and the winner will win £1,000 to donate to a charity of their choice.
Gary, 34, from Belmont in Derry said: “It has been a privilege to be involved in positively impacting the lives of people in my community. Being shortlisted for this award is an incredible honour. Receiving recognition from my peers and the wider community has been a surprising and humbling experience and I am thrilled to have had this opportunity to promote volunteering to a wider audience.”
Gary was nominated by his Students’ Union for his commitment to helping the local community and also his role on campus as senior course representative helping out fellow students. Mandy Mulholland, Academic Representation Co-ordinator said: “Gary is a model student and is active on campus, from organising mental health awareness events to helping to mentor other students; he is an inspiration to others. His work in the local community also inspired UUSU to nominate him, from his role helping late night revellers get home safe from a night out to participating in cross community initiatives. He is a fantastic example of students effecting positive change in their community.”
Student Volunteering Week (SVW) 2015 will take place from 23 February to 1 March 2015 and aims to bring together individuals and organisations across the UK to celebrate the achievements and impact of student volunteers in their local communities; encouraging and inspiring more students to volunteer. For more information visit www.studentvolunteeringweek.org.uk