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Spirit of Sussex Award engages and recognises over 2,000 students
By: Rebecca Hart
Last updated: Thursday, 1 December 2022
The Spirit of Sussex Award are excited to share that we now have 1,123 current students participating in the award scheme and 948 award winners between 2020-2022.
Launched in September 2020, the Spirit of Sussex Award is how the university recognises and celebrates co-curricular and voluntary achievements throughout a student's degree. Since then, the number of students participating in the award has continued to grow and has reached a total of 948 awardees, with 670 receiving a gold award, 141 a silver award, and 137 a bronze award.
Kelly Coate, Pro Vice Chancellor for Education and Students, said:
"Over the last year, it has been so exciting to see an increase in the number of our students engaging in the Spirit of Sussex Award. The ethos of a student-led, collaborative award scheme has helped foster the award's positive impact, which we see throughout the impact report. I am very proud of the thriving SoSA community that we now have."
Each year, the award strives to increase student participation by 10% and aims to have 50% of the Undergraduate and Postgraduate student population participating in the scheme by 2025 as set by the University of Sussex Council. These institutional objectives encompass specific aims which focus on fostering a sense of community amongst underrepresented student groups including: BAME, Mature, Student Parents, Care experienced and Disabled students.
In addition to these quantitative targets, the award has specific project outcomes which they aim to achieve by 2025. These include engaging and co-creating with students from various social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds and enabling students to feel more connected, empowered and proud to belong to our university community.
From analysing the demographic of current award participants, it is great to see that the award is in line or continuously overrepresenting in widening participation target groups, as outlined in the Access and Participation Plan. Our key headlines are:
BAME students (30% SoSA vs 22% provider), students with a disability (32% SoSA vs 28% provider), and those from POLAR Q4 backgrounds (9% SoSA vs 7% provider) are all overrepresented in the Summer 2021 graduating cohort of Spirit of Sussex Award participants as opposed to the general Sussex population.
For the Summer 2021 graduating cohort, Spirit of Sussex Award participants achieved a 1st Class or Upper Second Class Honours degree at a higher rate than their peers; 97.2% of UK SoSA participants and 94.7% of non-UK SoSA participants attained a ‘good’ degree compared with 90.6% (UK students) and 69% (non-UK students) in the general Sussex population.
We have seen great progression from our inititial launch, and have had the opportunity to celebrate with our awardees to commemorate their achievements. The team is now working towards growing the number of engaged participants andcontinuing to measure the award’s impact on student’s confidence, community spirit, self-awareness and employability.
How can you support the Spirit of Sussex Award?
Spirit of Sussex Award student connectors regularly collaborate with University and Student’s Union colleagues to raise the profile of the award and ensure the scheme is appealing and accessible to our students. Over this academic year, we will be growing our presence within Schools and student spaces, and therefore we encourage academic and professional service staff to promote this recognition scheme. You can start promoting the award by sharing this article with your student connectors, ambassadors and representatives!
If you have any questions, ideas or potential opportunities, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and our team will be in touch.
Authored by Mark Comeda, Graduate Spirit of Sussex Award Connector and Rebecca Hart, Spirit of Sussex Award Manager.