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The RCVS Student Community Award

This is a relatively new award to be bestowed for the first time in 2021, and will recognise a veterinary or veterinary nursing student who has made a real effort to support their fellow students and the wider veterinary/veterinary nursing school community. It may also reward someone who has contributed to the wider local community within which the academic environment is based.

Sophie Oliver receiving the Student Community Award from Melissa Donald

A wide range of different types of activity could be recognised by the award, for example, a specific initiative that the student has developed; personal support they have given over a sustained period (please do not include personal information about recipients of support that may be confidential); a demonstrable civic awareness in the way they have conducted themselves in student politics; an outreach programme to the local community; contribution to the governance of the student body etc.

It is open to any student who is enrolled on an RCVS-approved veterinary or veterinary nursing course, or studying for a relevant postgraduate veterinary/veterinary nursing qualification.

Nominations can be made by anyone – they do not need to be an MRCVS or RVN – excluding current RCVS Council and VN Council members.

Up to two RCVS Student Community Awards may be made in any year. The combination of vet/VN students who win the awards is entirely based on the validity of applications received in any one year.

The nomination period for the 2024 RCVS Honours & Awards is now finished

Successful nominees for RCVS Honours & Awards will be announced in March 2024 and invited to attend Royal College Day in July 2024. 

Previous RCVS Student Community Award recipients

2023: Sophie Oliver, a final-year student at the University of Nottingham vet school, was nominated for her part in organising the inaugural British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) Student Congress in 2022, the first that covered students at all UK vet schools rather than being localised to a particular school. The Congress, which had over 450 attendees, also reached an international audience.

2023: Legend Thurman, is a student at the Royal Veterinary College in London and was nominated for her work in representing fellow American students studying veterinary medicine in the UK via her presidency of the Student American Veterinary Medical Association, encouraging career development opportunities for students, increasing scholarship opportunities for veterinary medicine courses, and mental health awareness.

2022: Paul Gogerty MRCVS, was recognised for his role in developing a bespoke set of courses teaching nature connection and field skills for fellow veterinary students at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh. These courses aimed to encourage practices in nature connection within the greater student body and vet school community and, in doing so, champion the importance of time spent in the natural world for overall physical and mental health and wellbeing. 

2022: Fergus Mitchell, was recognised for being a passionate advocate for supporting mental health and wellbeing amongst fellow veterinary students at the University of Nottingham as Welfare Officer and, latterly, President of the university Vet Society. During the pandemic Fergus led projects and initiatives including mental health days, support booklets and online events and also founded the National Vet Student Wellbeing Week in 2021, joining forces with fellow student welfare officers at other UK vet schools. 

2021: Jack Church, a fourth-year veterinary student at Surrey Vet School who, in addition to his studies, had spent much of last year volunteering at an adult ICU Covid-19 award, completing 12-hour shifts undertaking tasks such as helping the doctors and nurses put on their personal protective equipment (PPE), rolling ventilated patients, disinfecting PPE and transporting supplies. His nominator, fellow Surrey University veterinary student Yasmin Abou-Amer, said Jack was been a fantastic role model to other vet students though his service to the wider community, including the most vulnerable. 

2021: Lavinia Economu, who was a final-year student at the Royal Veterinary College when she was nominated and is one of the driving forces behind Animal Aspirations, a student-led organisation that seeks to inspire young people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and different socio-economic backgrounds into the veterinary professions. Her nominator Daniella Dos Santos FRCVS, said that Lavinia had recognised not only the lack of diversity within the profession, but also the challenge of a lack of role models and accessible support for marginalised and disadvantaged communities and so founded Animal Aspirations, which in two years has gone from strength to strength.