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Leaders of today graduate Student Leaderships Awards

Friday 4 October 2019 11:54am

Student Leadership awards 2019
The 2019 graduates of the University of Otago Student Leadership Awards with Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne. Absent: Ben Hoatson. Photo: Sharron Bennett.

Fourteen Otago students are the newest graduates of the Student Leadership Award programme.

The students were awarded their certificates from Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne at a ceremony at Staff Club on September 30.

The University of Otago Student Leadership Award, first piloted in 2012, is an extended leadership programme designed to enhance student leadership potential. The programme involves mentorship, leadership development planning, communication workshops and reflection journaling.

The students also complete at least 170 hours of leadership and service work in their chosen fields – with some volunteering in student associations, while others volunteer in medical fields, charities, and other community groups.

“The University of Otago Student Leadership Award is about leadership for social change, not self-gain. You don’t commit to a two-year award programme just to boost yourself.”
Sze-En Watts, Social Impact Studio Manager

Run through the Social Impact Studio (formerly the University Volunteer Centre) the award supports students to develop their own leadership practice with a purpose, working towards positive social change.

Social Impact Studio manager Sze-En Watts says since the programme began students who have been involved in the programme have collectively contributed 22,000 hours of volunteering and leadership in the community.

“The University of Otago Student Leadership Award is about leadership for social change, not self-gain. You don’t commit to a two-year award programme just to boost yourself.”

Of the 14 students who graduated from the programme there was a wide variety of leadership roles.

Tom Bergen, who is completing his Bachelor of Science honours in Sport, Exercise and Health, says when he began the programme he wanted to better himself and get some leadership experience.

He did just that – pushing himself out of his comfort zone and joining the executive for the School of Physical Education Māori Association, where he served as Treasurer last year and President this year.

He took up the President position for the Otago University Handball Club, but he also widened his horizons by volunteering for Relay for Life and at the Dunedin Night Shelter.

“One of the things I’ve learnt through this is that to better myself is to better others. I can take what I’ve learnt and push that out to other people.”

The award is going from strength to strength. Award co-ordinator Kiri Lenagh-Glue, herself a past recipient, says this year they have accepted their biggest intake yet, with 60 students accepted into the award this year and a total  of 125 current students in the programme.

“It’s very special the University caters to students who want to develop their leadership.”

Another highlight for the Award is the announcement Canon will be sponsoring it for the next three years.

2019 Student Leadership Awards graduates

  • Ben Hoatson – Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery
  • Tom Bergen – Bachelor of Science Honours
  • Gawin Chang – Bachelor of Applied Science
  • Wanli Cheng – Bachelor of Biomedical Studies
  • Sally Davis – Bachelor of Arts
  • Shireen Hasolkar – Bachelor of Health Science
  • Samuel Haysom – Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery
  • Nathan Hollows – Bachelor of Science
  • Jennifer Palmer – Bachelor of Science
  • Honor Sandall – Bachelor of Arts
  • Fiona Seal – Bachelor of Law, Bachelor of Arts
  • Elizabeth Shen – Bachelor of Science
  • Hamish Singh – Bachelor of Biomedical Studies
  • Berenice Wong – Bachelor of Physiotherapy