New award unveiled to celebrate student leaders

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600+ years of student leaders. Photo: University of St Andrews
600+ years of student leaders. Photo: University of St Andrews
600+ years of student leaders.
Photo: University of St Andrews

As many of you will be aware, here at the University of St Andrews there is an abundance of different awards that recognise the exceptional work that students do on a daily basis, be it academic or within the community. A new award to add to this list is the St Andrews Student Leader of the Year Award, which is being launched for the first time this semester in order to recognise leadership and all of the different forms that it takes within the St Andrews community.

It is encouraging to see that the University has created this prize because without student leaders (of all shapes and forms) quite frankly nothing would run; sports teams would be in disarray, the charity campaigns would have no focus and The Saint would probably not even exist. Therefore, it is it only right that the effort that many students put in to managing both their peers and their own personal agenda is recognised.

Indeed, one of the main aims of the award is to recognize and celebrate the excellent examples of leadership shown by the students that made the biggest contribution to the growth and vitality of the University of St Andrews or the broader community. Furthermore, as well as being a celebration of peer leadership and the benefits of this, the award also aims promote personal development. This is a worthy aim as personal development is something that can be overlooked by the more experienced students among us, as the challenges that were at first difficult become routine. Therefore, by making sure that personal development is now recognised by the University, the award will hopefully prompt more students to leave their comfort zones and challenge themselves to engage with leadership in one of its many forms on campus.

The award is open to all matriculated students at the University, both undergraduates and postgraduates, and recognises all forms of leadership (including self-leadership or peer leadership). Moreover, this is not an academic award so the selection panel welcome applications from a broad variety of backgrounds including sports, student societies, charities, student enterprise and start-ups. Furthermore, both team members and team leaders can benefit from the award. Given the wide range of opportunities that all students have to engage in a leadership role in one of these areas at the University, there is no doubt that this is an award that any student could aspire to earn.

If you win the prize you will receive funding up to £300 to attend a personal development event of your choice; the award will also figure on your degree transcript. This would be an amazing accolade to include on a CV as leadership skills are highly sought-after in the workplace and are often difficult to give concrete evidence of on paper. In fact, this award presents the perfect opportunity to hone one’s response to the classic interview prompt: ‘Tell me about your leadership skills.’

What is certain is that the application process will not be a reason to put you off from applying, as it is very simple. In order to apply you need to fill out an application form, which can be found on the University’s website. This form will ask you to provide examples for having demonstrated specific skills associated with leadership. All you have to do then is email it to profskills@st-andrews.ac.uk with the subject “St Andrews Leader of the Year – Nomination” by Friday 15 April at 12 pm.

All students are welcome to nominate themselves, but if you decided to nominate one of your peers instead just send an email to the same address and with the same subject detailing the name and email address of the nominee. The PSC team will then reach out to him or her with regard to the next steps in the application process. Applications opened on Monday 4 April 2016 so if you want to nominate either yourself or one of your friends, you can do so straight away.

After the closing date for applications a selection panel will interview shortlisted candidates.  This panel consists of an academic representative, a representative from CAPOD and a representative from the student body. Shortlisting and interviews will be carried out from 18 to 22 April and the results will be announced on Monday 25 April.

In terms of what this selection panel is looking for, all applicants will be judged according to criteria including innovation and vision in leadership activities, resilience and adaptability to new challenges, personal effectiveness and working with others within the team or the broader community.

Even if you are not in a position to enter yourself for the award this year, take this new opportunity as inspiration to enhance your leadership skills; this could mean improving your self-leadership or becoming more involved in a sports team or society by taking on a leadership role. You never know, by next year you could be running the show or, if you involve yourself in the leadership side of Mermaids, you could even be running a show.

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