College Students Association scoops top accolade

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Banff and Buchan Students’ Association were delighted to win the NUS Scotland Student Union of the Year Award at a ceremony in Irvine recently.

The Fraserburgh association fought off stiff competition from much larger colleges to gain the prestigious prize and were particularly applauded for their efforts in the Budget for Bursaries Campaign.

Officers of the association made a huge effort to raise awareness of the threatened cuts to the bursaries budget and gathered hundreds of signatures in protest.

Their efforts paid off when the budget was voted through with the following concessions: an extra £15m for bursary funding and an extra £8m to fund 1,200 extra college places.

College principal Paul Sherrington said: “Four years ago Banff and Buchan College Board of Management made the conscious effort to step up the prominence of their Students’ Association with the appointment of a Student Engagement Officer – Susan Gall. Since then the students have gone from strength to strength. They have become a lot more involved in national issues and in the last two years they have set up a presence on Facebook to keep students up-to-date with current developments and campaigns. The current officers are also working on setting up a Students’ Association website.

“We are very proud of our students for winning the NUS Scotland Student Union of the Year Award. We are delighted to have such an active, engaged association whose campaigns have made a significant national impact, which is even more outstanding given the size of our college.

“The outlook for our Students’ Association is bright and I am sure they will continue to rise to any challenges in the future and ensure the student voice continues to be heard.”

Association vice-president Anna Gillanders said: “This is a fantastic achievement for our association. It is testament to the hard work and commitment of our student officers, class representatives and other students who have been behind all our work and campaigns to date.

“Our uniqueness stems from the fact that we work in partnership with managers and staff of the college, inputting at every level to the life and work of the college. As officers, we sit on college committees with staff where our contributions are welcomed and valued.

“Our student president is a member of the College Board of Management, making key strategic decisions alongside the other members of the board.

“Over the past couple of years, this college has undergone major changes. A new principal was appointed and recently a new management structure implemented.

“We have been involved in the selection process for the new principal and assistant principles which demonstrates the extent to which our input to college life is valued by the senior management team.”

Jennifer Cadiz, Depute President of NUS Scotland said: “We hosted the NUS Scotland Awards this year to celebrate the remarkable work that students and students’ associations across Scotland do day in and day out. The commitment of students and students’ associations is truly inspiring and it was amazing to have the opportunity to fully acknowledge this at the awards. The ceremony gave us the unique opportunity to highlight the incredible achievements of students and their students’ associations that too often goes unnoticed outside of their immediate campus or community.

“We received over 80 nominations for College Union, Student Media, Community Relations and Best Club/Society in just our first year which is an incredible starting point. In recognising these achievements in Scotland students are automatically entered into the national NUS Awards event. We hope that by recognising these student successes at the NUS Scotland Awards it will encourage other students to get involved with their union and broaden their student experience.”

Kieran Pirie who is the Students Association Communication Officer said: “Winning this award has been a massive achievement for the Students Association and the college.”