Shirts and stilettos were exchanged for sweaters and slippers at this year’s Society, Media, Sport and Dance Awards, but this didn’t stop students celebrating their success.
Determined to honour the achievements of its hundreds of clubs and societies, Reading University Student’s Union (RUSU) premiered their annual awards ceremonies via Facebook on Monday, April 27th and Tuesday, April 28th evening.
The virtual events- which took place from 8pm each night- have so far received a total of 2.5K viewers across both streams.
The streams were hosted by students YC Lau (Society and Media Awards) and Harry Dobson (Sport and Dance Awards) who kept viewers entertained throughout the evenings.
Meanwhile, RUSU Activities Officer Daisy O’Connor announced the winners of each award and details of their achievements.
Commenting on the success of this year’s Awards which she presented from her living room, Daisy said:
“We were really, really pleased with how the shows went on the night- it’s our first time doing anything like this at all. Both shows now have over 5.9k views as people can go back and watch them at any time, whereas only around 100 people can watch them when they happen in person.
“Massive shout out to YC and Harry for presenting- they found out the results on the night the same time as everyone else, which meant they had to record everything without knowing who won.
“Nearly every single award was decided by one or two points out of 50, so I don’t want people to be disheartened if they didn’t win- not winning doesn’t take anything away from what people have achieved this year.
She added: “If you did win, hopefully it’s the icing on the cake! Either way I hope people enjoyed the show and are looking forward to what next year holds.”
Across both nights 37 awards were allocated, ranging from Media Member of the Year to Captain of the Year.
The winners- including both individuals and whole societies- were selected from 1,608 nominations submitted by students last term.
Explaining how winners were selected, Daisy said: “We received 950 nominations for the Sport & Dance awards and 658 for the Society & Media awards. Chrissy (the Sports Co-ordinator) compiled a shortlist for the former and Dan & Alice (the Societies Co-ordinators) compiled a shortlist for the latter.
“The whole Activities team (myself, Adam, and the Co-ordinators) each scored the shortlisted nominees out of 10 based only on what was written in their nominations, and whoever got the highest total score for each award was the winner.”
The 2020 award winners and runners-up are listed below:
Society of the Year: KPop Society
Best New Society: Zero Waste Society
Best Small Society: BruKnights
Most Improved Society: LGBT+ Society
Society Event of the Year: ‘What if there is something more?’ Events Week, Christian Union
Society Trip of the Year: Drama Society’s Edinburgh Fringe Trip
Society Production of the Year: Produce 101, KPop Society
Society Committee Member of the Year: James Connors, Chess Society
Society Member of the Year: Natalie Richeux, Drama Society
Society Clown of the Year: Azree Francis, KPop Society
Society Fundraiser of the Year: Drama’s Performing Arts Showcase
Most Dedicated Society: Drama Society
Society President of the Year: Leo Bowman, LGBT+ Society
Inclusion & Diversity Award: LGBT+ Society
Stream of the Year – Spark Newspaper
Most Improved Stream – Junction11
Broadcast of the Year – RUTV’s Coverage of Strictly Come Reading
Media Newcomer of the Year – Sara Mattar, Spark Newspaper
Media Committee Member of the year – Taz Usher, Spark Newspaper
Article of the Year – “What the Cluck” by Kia Mackenzie
Media Member of the Year – Colette Chan, Spark Newspaper
Sport and Dance
Club Of The Year
1st = Pole Fitness
Runner Up = Lacrosse
Team Of The Year
1st = Lacrosse Women’s 1st
Runner Up = Lacrosse Women’s 2nd
1st = Lacrosse
Runner Up = Kickboxing
1st = Netball Women’s 3rd
Runner Up = Korfball Mixed 1st
1st = Suzie Battishill (Lacrosse)
Runner Ups = Ellie Brooks (Women’s Rugby Union) and Eleanor Griffiths (Fencing)
1st = Juliette Xiao (American Football) and Katie Hobbs (Women’s Rugby Union)
Runner Up = Charlotte Abraham (Pole Fitness)
1st = Alice Kirkup (Netball Women’s 1st)
Runner Up = Amelia McCormack (Fencing Women’s 1st) and Olivia Banks (Lacrosse Women’s 1st)
1st = Amy Hine (Lacrosse)
Runner Up = Peter Curtis (Korfball)
1st = Pole Fitness
Runner Up = Ballroom, Latin and Salsa
1st = Malo Cherel (Basketball)
Runner Ups = Harry Dobson (Lacrosse) and Alex Mortimer (Men’s and Women’s Hockey)
1st = Alice Kirkup (Netball)
Runner Ups = Emma Sawyer (Women’s Rugby Union) and Rachel Penny (Korfball)
1st = Fiona Stewart (Netball)
Runner Up = Suzie Battishill (Lacrosse)
1st = Tomasz Bogdanski (Swimming)
Runner Ups = Amy Sutton/Aishling Mcaree (Women’s Rugby Union) and Phoebe Plunkett (Women’s Rugby Union)
1st = Tap and Modern AND Ballroom, Latin and Salsa
Runner Up = Ballet
1st = Strictly Come Reading by Ballroom, Latin and Salsa
Runner Up = Platinum by Tap and Modern
Inclusivity And Diversity
1st = Pole Fitness
Runner Up = Swimming
Typically hosted as a glitzy awards ceremony in RUSU’s 3Sixty, this year’s lockdown rendition of the events had an unsurprisingly different feel to them.
Nevertheless, pleased with RUSU’s decision not to cancel the ceremonies, students responded well to the streams; some choosing to watch them with their families, and others arranging group Zoom meetings to maintain the community spirit of the events.
One society that watched the Society & Media Awards via video call was RUKPOPS who won the awards for Society of the Year, Society Production of the Year and Society Clown of the Year (Azree Francis).
Commenting on their success, RUKPOPS- who treated viewers to a pre-recorded performance during the show- said: “We feel honoured to have won Society of the Year twice in a row. Thank you to all that contributed, especially our committee members who have worked hard consistently to provide the best events and opportunities and our members who have been involved in any of our events.
“We would not have received this amazing award if it was not for our members. We want to thank everyone that was involved in our Produce 101 event.
“We are also delighted that our Social Secretary and Welfare Azree, who has gone the extra mile to make new members feel welcomed and makes everyone laugh effortlessly, was awarded Class Clown.
“We chose to have an online party with members of the society on Zoom so we could watch the Awards Show and celebrate together. The celebrations came at different times due to technical delays, but this only made it an even more enjoyable experience.”
Reading University Drama Society (RUDS) were also delighted by their success in the Society Awards and felt it was the ideal tribute to their successful year. The society said: “RUDS are so proud for everything we’ve achieved this year, and to have it recognised in the awards we’ve won is really exciting.
“Winning best trip for our Edinburgh fringe and best fundraiser for Showcase really boasts what our members are able to do.
“We’re also so happy that Nat Richeux’s outstanding contributions can be recognised beyond our society and across the whole campus as she really is the most dedicated, hard working individual.
“Lastly to win most dedicated society says it all— all of our members work so hard to make our shows and our society what it is, and we couldn’t do it without each and everyone. Thank you RUSU, and congratulations to all the other winners.”
And another society to excel in this year’s event was the LGBT+ Society who won the Inclusion & Diversity Award, and Society President of the Year (Leo Bowman).
Commenting on the LGBT+ Society’s success, Leo Bowman- who Daisy described as “leaving a lasting legacy” on the society- said: “On behalf of the LGBT+ Society and committee, we’re absolutely thrilled, a lot of hard work has gone into making the society this year.
“We always want to make the soc a safe and welcoming space to anyone who needs it, and seeing that recognised with the Diversity and Inclusion award is amazing.”
They added: “Personally, I can’t believe I got president of the year, the society has meant a lot to me at my time at uni and I just wanted to create something that would be there for students who needed it.
“I’m really upset that I have to leave the soc behind when I graduate but I know it’s going to massively help people for years to come.”
Reading University Zero Waste Society likewise commented on the results: “To win best new society is really the icing on the cake for us after having such an Incredible year.
“Creating this society and being surrounded by people who are passionate about making a positive environmental impact has been one of the most rewarding experiences at university for us.
“Watching the society grow and being the first committee ever has been really exciting and we all can’t wait to see what happens in the future for the Zero Waste Society.”
The achievements of UoR’s three student media streams were also praised during Monday’s Society & Media Awards.
Station Manager of Reading Uni TV, Ben Stone- whose stream won Broadcast of the Year for their coverage of Strictly Come Reading said: “It feels great to have won Best Broadcast for Strictly Come Reading. As my final project as station manager of RUTV is was great to end on a high.”
Meanwhile, The Spark Newspaper commented on winning Media Stream of the Year. Incoming and outgoing Print Editors Eden James and Taz Usher said: “The Spark are really chuffed. Thank you to those who nominated us and a big thank you to Dan and Daisy from RUSU as well as our readers, writers and members for their ongoing support and making all of our hard work worth it.”
Winner of the Media Newcomer of the Year Award, Sara Mattar- who has managed The Spark’s Photography section this year- also expressed her thanks. She said: “Thank you for everyone who believed in me and nominated me. I would like to give a big thank you to the committee for making it a lovely year and honestly without them I would not have been able to end final year with a good note. A special thank you to Kia McKenzie and Taz Usher.”
Lucia Martin, Head of Station for Junction11 Radio, likewise added: “Junction11 are so proud to have won ‘Most Improved Media Stream’ for this academic year. Although this year has been littered with technical difficulties, I am SO proud of my persistent, hardworking and absolutely lovely committee members.
She added: We wouldn’t have won this award without everyone’s ability to work as a close knit team, even in times without a working stream. Onwards and upwards for Junction11.”
And despite not yet competing in the University’s annual Varsity tournament which has been postponed due to the Coronavirus, UoR’s sports clubs also had lots to celebrate during Tuesday night’s event.
Winner of both the Captain of the Year and Female Sports Personality of the Year awards, Captain of UoR’s Netball 1st Team Alice Kirkup said: “I feel really honoured to have won captain and female sports personality of the year; It’s come as quite a shock.
“ RUNC watched the awards through a Zoom call and the ladies were thrilled with the club’s achievements, as was I.
“I would not have been able to do this year without their support and I’m really going to miss all that Sport at Uni and in particular RUNC has to offer.”
Juliette Xiao of American Football was also praised on the night when awarded joint first place with Katie Hobbs of Women’s Rugby Union as Committee Member of the Year.
Juliette said: “ I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end my time as a Knight and I’m so grateful to Chrissy and Daisy for being so lovely to work with! Big shout-out to my amazing housemates who celebrated with me over Zoom as I was freaking out.”
For more information about the Awards go to https://www.rusu.co.uk/your-union/awards/.
A huge congratulations to all of this year’s winners, keep up the great work!