An evening of celebration and thanks for our Alumni Volunteers

On Thursday 6 October, the University held its third annual Alumni Volunteers Thank You Event and Awards, to recognise and celebrate our alumni who choose to give their time to improve the lives and boost the prospects of our students.

The evening event was co-hosted by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Shearer West and Pro-Vice Chancellor for Learning and Teaching Professor Wyn Morgan, who welcomed over 120 guests to the event and shared their experiences of the University’s volunteering projects, and why schemes like these are so important to student life.

In the last year 940 alumni have volunteered over 16,500 hours to support current students across a range of initiatives: from networking to careers talks, mentoring to business visits, all with the aim of boosting students’ confidence, employability and academic skills, drawing from our alumni's real-world, professional experience.

Wyn Morgan, Clarice Tejada and Lizzie Ruse at the Volunteer Awards 2016 Shearer West at the Volunteer Awards 2016 Volunteers enjoying the Volunteer Awards 2016

After Professor West’s initial welcome Economics student Clarice Tejada, who had taken part in the eMentoring programme and City Connections scheme, gave a touching and very personal speech about the incredible importance of alumni support, and its ability to draw out the potential within students.

“If you are to take away anything from this speech I’d like you to know that no matter how little or large your participation you have contributed more than you will ever know or realise.”

“Having the opportunity of being part of City Connections and eMentoring will be one of the most memorable experiences I will take from university. I have walked away from the experience with a handful of people who are kind enough to remind me that if I need help or advice they are only an email or a phone call away. I am here at university for me and for my Andre, but because of people like you I will be equipped with more guidance than ever before.”

Following Clarice’s speech the first awards were given to the mentee and mentor of the year, who had been involved with the eMentoring scheme run by the Careers Service. The scheme has matched 470 students with alumni mentors in the last year, an increase of 72% over last year's scheme.

This year’s Mentee of the Year was awarded to Symone Garvey, a BA German and Linguistics student, for her commitment and drive during the scheme to get as much out of it as she could, as well as the noticeable development she displayed at the end. Symone was nominated by her mentor, Rachel Wilson (LLB Law 2006).

The Mentor of the Year was awarded to Marc Tuitt (BA Architecture 2006, MA Architecture 2011) from MAACK Architects, who was nominated by his mentee, Chemistry student Bryony Parker. Marc won for his invaluable advice about the profession, as well as the confidence he gave Bryony to pursue more radical projects and ideas, helping to enhance her credentials and skills.

Following this the Awards officially opened the Steel Circle, our new recognition circle to acknowledge alumni volunteers who have gone the extra mile in their roles. We were delighted to welcome a number of the Steel Circle members to the stage on the evening and induct them into the group.

Mentee of the Year Volunteer Awards 2016 Steel Circle Volunteer Awards 2016 Mentor of the Year Volunteer Awards 2016

After a well-deserved drink and dinner the Awards continued with Professor Morgan introducing the Pioneering Alumni Award which recognises a recent graduate who has demonstrated outstanding commitment and enthusiasm. Catherine Rankine (MEng Structural Engineering and Architecture 2013) received the award for her work inspiring young engineers and for her support of the Women in Engineering project.

Next, the Alumni Leadership Award was awarded to Mirela Arqimandriti (MBA 2004) for the dedication she showed sharing the values of the University, and for her tireless work promoting the University and our International Faculty at Thessaloniki, Greece, within her native Albania. Her work truly exemplified the University’s desire to be inclusive and engaging all around the world.

For the Project of the Year Award a special commendation was given to Charter Day 2016, for its range of volunteer-organised events which took place around the world, and drew over 700 alumni together.

The overall winner of the Project of the Year Award was given to Sheffield Connections, a project which brings successful alumni back to Sheffield to meet with small groups of students to give tailored, personal careers advice. Sheffield Connections had received fantastic feedback from both students and alumni, and was particularly noted for supporting and engaging students and alumni simultaneously.

The final award of the night was for the Alumni Volunteer of the Year, and went to Madhu Rao (MSc Software Systems and Internet Technology 2011) for his exceptional work organising an alumni reunion event in Malaysia as part of Charter Day 2016, which also coincided with a visit by members of our Faculty of Engineering. The enthusiasm and creativity demonstrated resulted in a wonderful event from which 100% of the attendees said they felt more connected to the University as a result.

Pioneering Alumni Award 2016 Highly Commended Project 2016 Volunteering Project of the Year 2016

With the Awards complete alumni were left to network and reconnect with each other, drawing a very enjoyable evening to a close. As always we were delighted to welcome so many alumni back to campus, particularly those who have given up many hours of their spare time to support the University over the last year. We are sure this will continue to grow throughout 2017, and we are already looking forward to next year’s event.

Thank you to everyone who attended the event, including those watching online via the live stream, and to all those that have volunteered over the last year but couldn’t make it to Sheffield on this occasion.

For a full list of all the winners please visit the Alumni Volunteer Awards 2016 web page.

 Please click here for a full Album of Photos from the Event.

Register as a volunteer:

If you’re interested in volunteering, just fill out our volunteer registration form.

Current opportunities:

Be sure to visit our current opportunities web page for the latest volunteering activities.

Why volunteer?

You can read more about why other alumni have volunteered, and the benefits that volunteering gives to students here.

Click here for more Latest News