University student scoops Unionist of the Year title
An enthusiastic volunteer at the University of Sheffield, who has dedicated hours of her time to charity and student activities, has been named NUS Student Unionist of the Year.
Rachel Colley, aged 21, who is the new Students' Union Activities Officer received the award last week (1 July 2010) ahead of 349 nominees from around the country. The title is awarded for going above and beyond normal expectations for the benefit of the union, its members and the academic and wider community.
Rachel, who has recently completed a degree in History, began her new role as Activities Officer for the Union of Students this week (5 July 2010). Rachel was elected to the post after winning 2,674 of almost 4,300 votes cast, in which she stood against three other candidates.
As Activities Officer, Rachel will be responsible for looking after and developing student activities, such as societies, volunteering, charitable fundraising and community projects in the residences, as well as representing students of the University, locally and nationally.
However, Rachel's passion for helping students make the most of University life began long before her election as an officer.
During her time at the University so far, Rachel has been elected as 'Communities Liaison' on the Volunteering Committee and has led a Sports Day event for nearly 200 local school children. She has also helped create a display on local history at a Sheffield Museum and visited school pupils to teach Ancient Egyptian history.
In addition, Rachel has helped raise cash for charity as part of her chairing role in RAG. The University's fundraising group, which has already donated £145,000 to charity this year, has organised a 13 mile night hike, a cross European Treasure Hunt, a community art event, sponsored walks and many other fundraising initiatives in which Rachel has played a central role.
Rachel was also elected as a joint 'New Society Rep' on the Societies Committee in 2009/10. Over the year, she has personally corresponded with 96 new society applicants, helping 53 to be established and offered advice to new starters.
Rachel Colley, said: "I had a great time at the ceremony, and I was really shocked to have received the award. There were so many great students nominated last night, so to have been singled out as the winner is a great honor. I think the award reflects all the great work the Students' Union does. I wouldn't have been inspired to do so much if it wasn't for the great work the team at the Union already do to forge links with the local community. I hope the award has encouraged others to get involved in the activities available, as they can be so rewarding, and a great way to give something back to the community which becomes home for the students who study here."
Claire Monk, last year's Activities Officer for the Union of Students, who nominated Rachel, said: "Rachel Colley is known by societies, volunteers and a huge proportion of the Union membership, however she is also known, valued and respected by staff at the Union, University and the wider community. Rachel has left a legacy which will be known for years to come and we are confident she will carry on this incredible work as Activities Officer."
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