Two Aberdeen students have been honoured at a national level for their outstanding contributions to volunteering. Edward Pollock (20) and Shadya El Shafiy (21), who are both studying Events Management at Robert Gordon University (RGU), have been awarded the national Saltire Awards’ highest accolade, ‘the Saltire Summit’.
A national initiative, the Saltire Awards are a Scottish Government endorsed scheme which, split into four award levels and regionalised, recognises the volunteering contributions of young people in their communities.
Recipients of the ‘Saltire Summit’ are nominated for the prestigious title for outstanding volunteering efforts, exceeding expectations having successfully volunteered their way up to achieve the first three awards on offer – the ‘Saltire Challenge’, the ‘Saltire Approach’ and the ‘Saltire Accent’.
Edward and Shadya, who are two out of three Saltire Summit recipients in Aberdeen this year, were nominated for the honour by RGU’s Students’ Union, which works closely with the student body to provide, promote and encourage volunteering and development opportunities.
Both students are heavily involved with volunteering at RGU: Union and have gone above and beyond in their numerous roles, clocking up a staggering 1129 of volunteering hours between them in the last year.
Stevie Kearney, student development and volunteering co-ordinator at RGU: Union who nominated both students for the award, said: “Both students have shown outstanding commitment to their volunteering roles and fully deserve all the recognition which comes their way.
“The benefits of logging volunteering hours and having it recognised are numerous, particularly for employability which is a key for all our students. The Saltire Awards is a nationwide scheme which is recognised by all employers and so it means a lot to achieve one.
“The Saltire Summit is not given out often so it’s really encouraging to see that two of them went to RGU students and demonstrates how RGU:Union can support students to achieve their goals.”
Edward’s passion for events has led to his involvement in all manner of volunteering projects for the university, charities and the community, while his student faculty officer role at Aberdeen Business School has seen him volunteer to represent the student body over the last academic year.
Edward says: “I am extremely grateful for the opportunities I have been able to get involved with and I’m immensely proud that my volunteering work has been recognised in such a prestigious way. It’s fantastic to be rewarded for something which I am very passionate about.”
Shadya, who relocated from The Netherlands to study in Aberdeen, was nominated for her outstanding efforts in establishing an Erasmus Student Network at RGU (ESN RGU), which in its first year grew to be the university’s largest non-academic student society and won Society of the Year at RGU’s 2015 Student Achievement Awards.
Shadya says: “I am extremely honoured to be presented with the Saltire Summit award and I’m delighted that the success of ESN RGU has been honoured. It is great that the Saltire Awards recognise students for their volunteering work which helps to encourage others to get involved with the various opportunities available.”
Catherine Garrow, volunteering development worker at Aberdeen Council of Voluntary Organisations (ACVO) which administers the awards in Aberdeen on behalf of Saltire, said: “ACVO is delighted to celebrate young volunteers around Aberdeen. The Saltire Summit is for outstanding volunteering and only 12 Saltire Summits are awarded in Aberdeen each year so this is a huge achievement.”
For more information on the Saltire scheme visit www.saltireawards.org.uk