Pictured are members of the NUI Galway Medical Society, from left, Katie St John, Riona Hughes, BICS Chairperson and NUI Galway Society Officer, Lily McGarry, Alison Duffy, Harry Economos, Kevin McMahon and Conor Costigan.
Apr 21 2016 Posted: 09:35 IST

NUI Galway societies were presented with four awards at the recent Board of Irish College Societies (BICS) National Society Awards. Over 400 students and staff from third-level institutions across Ireland came together to celebrate the achievements of student societies and acknowledge the contribution they make to their institution and the wider community.  

NUI Galway won ‘Best Society in an Academic, Cultural and Social Field’ for the Medical Society. Alison Duffy, Vice-Auditor of the NUI Galway Medical Society said: “2015-16 has been one of the most successful years for NUI Galway Medical Society. Through our diverse events and projects, we aim to support our students academically and socially. We advocate, fundraise and strive to be a force for positive change in the University and wider community. We are thrilled to have won this prestigious award which was made possible by the great team on our committee.”

NUI Galway’s Draíocht Society won the ‘Best Society in a Civic and Charity Field’ for their work sending volunteers to each of the partner charities in Nepal and Tanzania during the summer months, and for their successful fundraising throughout the year. According to Auditor Siabhra Medley: “Draíocht enables students to make an incredible difference for people in the developing world and allows students to experience cultures that are radically different to their own. This year we worked with our partners in Nepal when the earthquake destroyed the orphanage and school our society had built and ensured supplies and vaccinations got to the village where our founder member was stationed.”

The ‘Best Fresher Award’ went to first year Bachelor of Arts student Ciarán MacChoncarraige from Oranmore, Co. Galway. Throughout the year Ciarán has been actively involved with French and Draíocht Societies, while also assisting other societies and the Students' Union with numerous events and campaigns.

The very popular PotterFest organised by Potter Soc won ‘Best Intervarsity’ which saw a weekend of fun in NUI Galway including the hotly contested battle for the Triwizard Cup in which contestants fought their way through a giant maze of tasks and trivia to see which college would be crowned champions of the tournament.

BICS is a national organisation dedicated to providing a national forum for the societies in Ireland’s Universities, Colleges and Institutes of Education. BICS now represents 21 colleges, 901 societies with 180,000 students across the island of Ireland. The organisation helps students from across the country to network, meet new people and run events on and off campus.

A new award, ‘The Best Mental Health Promoting Event’, was introduced this year in association with the Please Talk campaign to acknowledge the role of societies in creating opportunities to challenge the stigma around mental health, to promote wellness, healthy lifestyles and to help make third level colleges open, supportive and inclusive environments for their student populations.

Riona Hughes, BICS Chairperson and NUI Galway Society Officer, said: “The BICS Awards is a wonderful celebration of all that is marvelous about the students who are so creative and dedicated and who transform the college experience for their peers. Research has shown that involvement in societies helps students complete their studies, teaches them valuable life skills, enhances their employability and supports them on their learning journey to become future leaders. For our 21st Awards there are many reasons to celebrate and none more so that the support, respect and genuine affection all the students have shown to each other throughout the day. The staff members present from our member colleges have every reason to be proud of every single society representative here tonight, the future of our country is in good hands.”

For more information about BICS Awards visit http://bics.ie/.

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