A student artist who has supported LGBTQIA+ students at Wolverhampton University has scooped an award for his ‘outstanding’ work to promote diversity.

The annual Students’ Union awards feature 20 categories which cover achievements by students, university staff and organisations, and individuals who have made a positive impact during placements.

Final year mature student Sam McCracken, was recognised by the university’s students’ union in its annual awards ceremony, held at Molineux Stadium.

Sam McCracken

Sam, of Telford, has been the SU’s LGBTQIA+ representative since autumn last year and has organised regular events to boost wellbeing, confidential drop-in sessions and raised awareness on how to be a good ally.

He said: “Winning this award has been exceptional and not in the least expected, I am very grateful for the nomination which made me cry, and to the SU for this honour.”

Students’ Union CEO Nirmla Devi said: “This has been an exceptionally busy year for Sam, not only did he have some pretty major exams, but also international showings for his art.

“Sam has remained an outstanding support for students who can confide in him as well as being responsible for some great initiatives to boost students’ emotional health. He has also been a massive help to colleagues throughout the SU, always throwing himself into the task at hand.

A staff award for promoting diversity was presented to lecturer in Special Educational Needs, Disability and Inclusion Studies, Star Wilkes at the awards ceremony, now in its 13th year.

Awards for people students have been supported by during their placements prove popular. This year, Staffordshire-Shropshire Learning Disability team won Placement Provider of the Year and Community Learning Disability Nurse Sarah Mapp (pictured above) won Outstanding Contribution to the Student Placement Experience.

Lucy Spriggs, from the Learning Disability Team said: “I am immensely proud of our team and all they do. It’s great to be recognised.”

Sarah said: “I am very passionate about helping students and have been doing so for several years. Getting an award is like a validation that I’m doing a good job. I’m very grateful.”

Nirmla added: “We love to pay tribute to the wonderful people students encounter on placement. Often, this will be the first taste of time spent in their chosen future career so meeting teams and individuals who support them and go the extra mile to help and inspire can be really special.”