2021 Award Winners

Our volunteers and their exceptional contributions to the community were recognised at the annual University's Volunteer Achievement Awards on Thursday 9 December. Congratulations to all those nominated in 2021.

Photos from event

Volunteer of the Year

volunteer award

Lynette (Lyn) Mackay (pictured right) has been a volunteer at the Urrbrae House Historic Precinct since 1996. She has held various roles such as President of the Friends of Urrbrae House, a tour guide and performing the role of Mrs Waite in the Schools Program. She is a role model to other volunteers and a wonderful ambassador for the University and Urrbrae House.

Lyn’s ability to welcome and foster confidence in other volunteers has had a significant impact on the longevity of these programs. Perhaps even more importantly, her model behaviour, nurturing manner and commitment helps other volunteers feel inspired and supported. 

Lyn has fostered understanding of the significant history of Urrbrae House, the Waite Bequest and the University. Through her long-term commitment, she has developed a deep historical knowledge which contributes to the richness of our public engagement. Lyn has always strongly promoted the long-term benefits of philanthropy for Urrbrae House and the University.

Student Volunteer of the Year

Student Volunteer Award

Tyson Blanco is a passionate member and President of the Adelaide University Touch Football Club, having volunteered as a committee member since 2017 and coach since 2018. 

The Touch Club was one of only a handful of Adelaide University Sports Clubs to increase their membership during COVID-19, which is a wonderful achievement. Tyson juggles his volunteering commitment with his studies as a Bachelor of Commerce, Accounting and Marketing student at the University. 

In 2020 Touch Football was added as a sport to the SA Challenge. Tyson played a pivotal role in this taking place, initially by campaigning for the inclusion of the sport on the roster, then subsequently assisting in the management of the event and recruitment of players not just for the University of Adelaide, but across all three South Australian universities. 

Tyson is a passionate and active member of the club and this shows through his contribution in regularly assisting with events, such as O’Week and the School Holiday Program. He also played a role in providing valuable feedback as part of the recent AU Sport rebranding project.

Staff Community Volunteer of the Year

Staff Volunteer Award

Patrick O’Connor is an Associate Professor with the Centre for Global Food and Resources. For 40 years Patrick has been a committed volunteer in the Cystic Fibrosis Community. He began volunteering with the South Australian branch in 1982 as children’s camp fundraiser, organiser and leader from the year 2000. 

Patrick was also Director of Cystic Fibrosis South Australia for five years and served as President for a further five years. He then brought his exceptional skills and experience to Cystic Fibrosis Australia and the Research Trust.

Patrick’s volunteering roles have evolved over the years to include fundraising, leading children’s recreational camps, governance, leadership, strategy and research. What an impressive commitment – lending his time and energy over 40 years for such an important cause.

Volunteer Group of the Year

Volunteer Group Award

In response to the global pandemic and international border closures, the English Language Centre’s Intercultural Program and its volunteers moved to supporting students online from early 2020. As we all appreciate, the impacts of COVID-19 meant there was a sudden need to change how we operate, but the English Language Centre confronted those challenges to ensure students and Intercultural Volunteers felt connected no matter where they were physically located.   

In 2021, the English Language Centre volunteers ran 100 online events, which included O chat, Cross-cultural Conversations and social events. They also rolled out an exciting new initiative ‘Well-being Live Tours,’ which are virtual live streamed tours of the University of Adelaide’s campus and iconic places around Adelaide – forging connections and engagement. Their creativity in bringing the experience of campus life to people offshore was wonderful to see. 

The impact of this program has included enhanced independent learning, relationship building and creating a sense of belonging and well-being in challenging times.

2021 Honourable Mention

  • Professor Dale Stephens, Adelaide Law School

    Since 2012 Dale has been volunteering in the role of Chair of the South Australian International Humanitarian Law Advisory Committee, which is supported by the Australian Red Cross.  

    As a legal officer volunteer, Dale generously gives his time, knowledge and skills to support humanitarian outcomes. His advice and support is across diverse areas, such as cyber warfare and cultural property. He also supports programs for school children and the South Australian Parliament. Dale also encourages each Committee member to use their own backgrounds, networks and skills to increase awareness of the committee’s important work within SA, Australia and globally.

  • Trinity Zhang, English Language Centre Intercultural Volunteer

    Trinity started volunteering at the start of 2021 after being a participate in the program in 2020. He enjoys making new friends and learning about different values and cultures. Trinity has contributed positively to the student experience by adding continuity as a consistent volunteer present at events and building great rapport with English Language Centre students.

    Trinity was also successful in becoming a Study Adelaide Ambassador this year, and like many others he is patiently waiting for Australian borders to reopen and travel to Adelaide to commence face-to-face study.

  • Career Access Mentoring Program

    As part of the Career Access Mentoring Program,179 Industry Mentors provided their generosity and commitment in supporting more than 320 students throughout 2021. Offering encouragement and support along with career and life skills that will set these students up for success. 

    As a result, the impact on our mentee students has been profound. We have seen their confidence grow and are pleased to hear wonderful feedback on the skills they have gained in terms of employability, communication, networking, career planning and decision-making. 

    Our Industry Mentors have provided support and advice to students across all faculties, covering a diverse spectrum of industries and roles. And importantly, like our students, our mentors are from diverse backgrounds and cultures and have shown generosity in sharing their experiences with students from varied cultural backgrounds – contributing to the globally connected experience of our students. This has made a critical contribution to each student’s global outlook and employability, and is so valued by our students and prospective employers.