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Student Leadership celebrated at USU Annual Dinner - 9 November 2009

Two outstanding winners from a gifted student body received the University of Sydney Union Alumni and Friends Leadership and Excellence Award for 2009.

Winey Suen and Angus McFarland were each presented with the Award as the USU celebrated its 135 year anniversary at the Annual black-tie Dinner on 31 October.

Both winners received a $2000 cash prize in recognition of their efforts and were warmly applauded by the dinner attendees, including USU and University figures, students and alumni.

Winey Suen was praised for her leading work with Clubs such as Women in Engineering and the Sydney University Young Vinnies Club. As SU Young Vinnies’ inaugural president, Winey established the Front Lawns Winter Sleepout – an annual charitable event that attracted hundreds of students to brave the elements and understand the perils facing the homeless. She was also instrumental in reviving and reshaping the much-loved Engineering Revue. Co-winner,

Angus McFarland meanwhile, was lauded for his leadership within a number of key clubs and committees over his tertiary career. During his time at the University of Sydney, Angus served as a USU Board member, President of the Student Representative Council, Chair of the Clubs and Societies Committee, Undergraduate Fellow on the University Senate and President of the National Union of Students. His role in these posts saw him launch a number of key initiatives, including the ‘youTHINK’ forum, which linked up more than 1000 students across the country via video conference to discuss issues facing vulnerable young people in Australia. His engagement within the field saw the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations seek his feedback on such issues.

There were also awards handed out for exceptional contributions from the extensive Clubs and Society network within the USU. The first award was presented to a Club with under 100 members, won by the Sydney University Wind Orchestra (SUWO). The USU remarked how the Club has grown in popularity due to its welcoming attitude and community outreach initiatives. SUWO’s primary school free concert and workshop series provides musical opportunities to hundreds of disadvantaged school children around the city. The funding for this great initiative was generated through fundraising activities such as BBQs, chocolate drives, cake stalls, barefoot bowls and even busking. SUWO are still active beyond the university calendar, with an upcoming end-of-year concert at the Conservatorium of Music and a tour to play in regional schools in NSW. SUWO’s President Madeline D’Arcy accepted the award.

The other award for a Club with more than 100 members went to the Movement and Dance Society (MADSOC), a large club boasting around 330 members. MADSOC has been providing its members with free regular dance classes and workshops, as well as treating others to a major showcase at the end of each semester. Dance classes ran weekly, attracting a huge turnout, eager to polish up their repertoire of dance moves. The popular end of semester showcases at Manning Bar highlighted MADSOC’s impressive range of performances, including a collaborate effort with the Scottish Country Dancing Club. President of the Club, Rachel Weiner accepted the award.

The celebration of student achievement didn’t stop there either. A successful 2009 performance saw Tim Mooney win the Chancellor’s Cup for Debater of the Year. Tim’s success on the national and international debating stage for the USU team, including second-best speaker at the Cork Worlds in Ireland, secured him the prestigious title.

Meanwhile the USU and PKF chartered accountants presented the annual Volunteer of the Year Awards, presented to outstanding and tireless volunteers from current and new students. The Volunteer of the Year Award, carrying a $1000 cash prize, went to Marina Lauer, while Poh Wan Amy Lai accepted the New Volunteer Encouragement Award, receiving $500 in cash.

Both students were exemplary in their volunteering efforts, devoting hours as tutors in the school tutoring program, as SPOCs (student guides) at O-Week and completing intern work within the USU.

The presentation of the awards capped an enjoyable evening, held in the Refectory room in the Holme Building. The final winners were selected from a competitive field of hundreds of inspired, proactive USU-affiliated students, whose collective effort each year amplify and enhance the student experience at the University of Sydney.

March 2012

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