Students benefit from staff generosity

The Director of Alumni Relations and Philanthropy is urging staff teams across the University to start up their own prize-giving event for students, saying staff receive a lot of personal satisfaction in helping students pay for text books and items to help them study.

On Wednesday last week, Colin Taylor and his staff held their second annual prize top-up reception in the kitchen of AR&P's headquarters, at building 71.

Nine students were awarded prize money generously donated by staff in Colin's team through casual Fridays, but also through workplace giving where amounts are deducted from staff pay and re-directed to a funding pool for student prizes.

"What that turned into was a very nice little endowment which lets us do things like this prize-giving event," Taylor says.

Prizes are awarded by the University to students to help them buy materials to assist with their studies, but he says what normally happens is two students, with equal marks, will have to share a prize meaning the amount of money they receive is cut in half.

"So what we thought we'd do is provide a pool of money that lets us bump those prizes up to their full value again," he says.

"These students are incredibly inspiring people, and to have them here, talking to us, gives us a sense of community."

Second year PhB Arts student, Joanna Herrmann, was awarded the Reginald de Bray Prize for her efforts studying Linguistics, last year.

Herrmann told the gathering she was honoured to receive the award.

"Coming to uni you meet so many different, amazing people. There's also so many possibilities and choices in front of you and sometimes you can wonder if you're good enough or made the right choice," she says.

"So receiving the award was just a real great encouragement that I'm on the right track."

Oscar McLoughlin-Ning co-shared the Reginald de Bray Prize with Joanna.

"What made the greatest impact on me was that all of you decided to pitch in and help top up the prize, which I thought was really nice," he told the group.

"There's a group of people in the university who really care about the community to take money out of their own pocket and help encourage people further."

Colin Taylor says the reaction of the students proves the value of the staff contributions.

"This is incredibly important to us, as individuals," he says, adding that AR&P had a role to play in setting an example to the ANU community when it came to supporting students.

"We did this as a personal choice, we didn't do this to get other areas involved but we did it as a community building thing for us. We don't think that we can legitimately ask people to change the way they think about philanthropy if we're not living and breathing it.

"But that said, this is so much fun and so rewarding that I'd encourage every area of campus to do this. It's so easy."

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Prizes topped up with support from Alumni Relations and Philanthropy in 2014

Brian Brogan Prize for Indigenous Students
Awarded to a student who was enrolled in a program leading to the award of a degree of Bachelor Business and Economics and achieved the best result as shown by the highest aggregate mark at the completion of first year amongst all Indigenous students.

Ms Jordan Brown
Ms Stephanie Pollard
Mr Liam Pitt

Hanna Neumann Prize for First Year Mathematics
Awarded to first year undergraduate and postgraduate students pursuing their studies in mathematics at ANU.

Mr Hao Jeng
Mr Owen Thomas Hearder

Harold Wesley Allen Memorial Prize
Awarded to students to encourage the art of musical composition and to seek to improve the skill of students and in particular to advance knowledge of students concerning the composition techniques and styles of the Viennese School of Schoenberg, Berg and Webern.

Mr Chathura Bandutunga
Mr Leonard Weiss

Reginald de Bray Prize for First Year Linguistics
Awarded to the student who achieves the best result in their Honours Year at the School of Linguistics.

Ms Joanna Herrmann
Mr Oscar McLoughlin-Ning