It’s fair to say it wasn’t a disappointing year for the University of Stirling at the annual NUS Awards on Friday, March 24. Simron Kandola brought home the Student of the Year Award and Stirling Students’ Union won Best Campaign for the Big Rent Campaign.
Despite Simron’s active role in the Union and his passion for volunteer work, he was surprised that he had been nominated for this award in the first place. He shared what it felt like when his name was announced:
“I honestly could not believe it. I was in absolute shock and looked over at Dave Kennan and Jess Logan who were both equally as shocked as I was!
“It was an amazing experience as it was the first time that I had ever won anything in my life and to be nationally recognised as Student of the Year in Scotland in 2017 is an amazing honour and achievement, and it feels amazing to represent Stirling Students’ Union and the University of Stirling through this award.
“It feels amazing to know that I was recognised for all my voluntary work that I have done at the University of Stirling and within the Stirling Students’ Union, as well as within the local community.”
The fact that the university claimed Best Campaign Award is a clear sign of the hard work and progress made by this movement. It’s also very encouraging to see that these steps in the right direction are being recognised in the battle for cheaper accommodation.
The Big Rent Campaign kicked off after the findings of the Big Rent Survey showed that many students didn’t feel the prices of accommodation were affordable. Findings obtained from this led to the creation of the ‘Accommodation Enhancement Fund’, which Union President Dave Keenan describes as being like a “housing benefit.” This deal has also seen the university agreeing to freezing the rent prices of certain accommodations.
Keenan explains this is “ground-breaking and innovative and to the best of our knowledge, no one else seems to be doing this … The deal we have struck with the university is the biggest victory on rent we have had to date and the enhancement fund will make lasting changes to those who need it.
“It will make the University more accessible to poorer students and it is the first step on our way to securing further rent subsidies.”
The fact that the university has some of the most affordable accommodation prices in Britain means that this award is well deserved.
The NUS Awards recognises the hard work and dedication of student unions and individuals across Scotland.
The prizes scooped by Simron and the Stirling Students’ Union is definitely something to be proud of.
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