2022 Award Winners

Our volunteers and their exceptional contributions to the community were recognised at the annual University's Volunteer Achievement Awards on Tuesday 6 December. Congratulations to all those nominated in 2022.

Photos from event

Volunteer of the Year

volunteer of the year steven pinhorn

Steven Pinhorn has been volunteering for almost a decade helping our dental and oral hygiene therapy students learn the critical skill of effective patient communication through the Adelaide Dental School Volunteer Patient Program.

Steven is invested in the learning process for our undergraduate students and knows how to effectively stretch the delivery of his service in order to get the most out of each student exchange. He has provided extremely valuable feedback to students, tutors and the program coordinator, which has helped to shape the program for the better. 

He also provides a wonderful approach to mentorship for new volunteers joining the group and brings a level of joy to his volunteering which is infectious. To further demonstrate his commitment to the program, Steven travels over 150 km's to attend each session.

Student Volunteer of the Year (joint winners)

student volunteer of the year kimberley

Kimberley Handley is currently studying a Bachelor of Science majoring in Vet Bio Science and since 2021 has been a Peer Assisted Study Session (PASS) Leader, facilitating sessions for students at Roseworthy campus. In 2022 she was nominated Roseworthy Senior Leader, in addition to her standard volunteer role. She has mentored other Roseworthy Student Leaders, supported them by sharing her considerable experience, and proactively requested additional support and resources for Roseworthy to improve the delivery of the program. 

By utilising her existing relationships within the community, Kimberley has fostered trust of, and interest in the PASS program amongst students and staff alike. This is evident in the uptake of student participation in the program; up 133% since Kimberley began volunteering with us. This year, she has also contributed to various activities including extra professional development and voluntarily attending the Student Leadership Programs Community of Practice meetings, all while completing her final year Honours project.

student volunteer of the year leslie

Xusheng (Leslie) Li is currently studying a Masters in International Management and commenced his volunteering with the English Language Centre’s Connections Program in 2021 after looking for ways to communicate with other University of Adelaide students while studying offshore. Now an onshore student arriving earlier this year, Leslie enjoys making new connections and jumps at any opportunity to communicate with people from different cultures.

Leslie enjoys it so much that he is now volunteering for 12 different volunteer programs including our own Children’s University, Confucius Institute, the Learning, Enhancement and Innovation Program, the Academic Integrity Ambassador Program just to name a few. He also represents the University during O’Week as well as providing Campus and City tours.

Leslie contributes positively to the student experience by adding continuity as a consistent volunteer present at events and building rapport with all students. He juggles his studies with his volunteering and has mastered the quote ‘slivers of time efficiently to always give back’.

Community Volunteer Group of the Year

volunteer group of the year tern

Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) Surveillance volunteers contribute to the environmental outcomes with far-reaching national and global impact. Based at the Waite Campus, School of Biological Sciences, field teams have travelled to more than 900 one-hectare plots across Australia over the past 10 years.

TERN volunteers accompany the team on many of these two-week journeys, dedicating their time to assist TERN ecologists with field surveys that provide the data, samples and advice needed for improved monitoring and assessment of Australia’s major ecosystems.

The field team and volunteers often travel to remote, isolated locations, cover thousands of kilometres by 4WD each trip, self-cater, and camp in bushland with little or no facilities. TERN volunteers are a diverse group, including university undergraduate students from Australia and overseas, new graduates looking for field and laboratory experience, and retirees looking for adventure and to contribute to national environmental monitoring.

Volunteers also assist the team at Waite with processing, cataloguing and curating vegetation and soil samples where numerous Australian and international scientists use this data and samples for their own research.

Student Volunteer Group of the Year

volunteer group of the year careers

The Career Access Mentoring Program volunteers have been essential to the suite of mentoring programs through their qualitative and quantitative contributions. They directly enhance student retention by providing industry transition guidance and reinforcing the industry relevance of university programs.  

In 2022, some 300 industry mentors offered to mentor in excess of 500 students who registered. 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. Many mentors offer value-added mentoring experiences to students through site and virtual site tours, and mentor ‘shadowing’. They provide 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.


2022 Honourable Mention

  • Suzanne Layton, University Library

    Suzanne studied a Bachelor of Arts majoring in History with the University in 1999, so it is no surprise that Suzanne continues that love of history when she joined us as an Archives and Special Collections volunteer in 2003. 

    Suzanne was one of the first University History Tour Guides, taking monthly tours for members of the public and sometimes she was requested to run tours for distinguished guests of the Vice-Chancellor. More recently Suzanne has been indexing university newspaper clippings and recording significant facts. In her own words Suzanne says “I just love it! The volumes are old and fragile giving the tactile feel of history and it is so interesting what you discover”. 

  • Pam Carden, Talking with Aussies

    Pam is a Talking with Aussies volunteer and meets with 3-4 international students individually per week to help them practise their conversational English and provide them with a greater understanding of the Aussie Culture. 

    In 2022, Pam helped lead a new initiative called the C3 Club (conversation, culture and connect) which is a great way for international students to get settled in, learn about Aussie culture, gain confidence in communicating in English, and meet new people. Each week Pam and the team discuss a different aspect of Aussie culture in a relaxed, non-academic setting, and have Australian snacks and treats for the students to taste.

    Through her regular attendance the students feel valued and supported by Pam, with many of them experiencing their first year on campus post COVID.

  • Waite Arboretum and Urrbrae House Gardens

    With over 90 volunteers, the Waite Arboretum and Urrbrae House Gardens meet regularly twice a week contributing annually more than 2,000 hours. They are dedicated to the care of the gardens and arboretum of the Waite Campus, famous for its important collection of trees, ornamental plants, native plants and over 1500 rose bushes.

    This team of volunteers are avid gardeners and enthusiasts of the plant world; they play a very important role in maintaining our beautiful collections and keep them attractive 365 days a year. Tasks include planting, weeding, pruning, mulching and watering of the five gardens. They also help in the maintenance of the arboretum tree collections, native bee hotel, tree label inspection, revegetation, seed and data collection.

    The gardens and arboretum are an important resource for our university students as well as other universities, tertiary, secondary and primary entities. Their dedication is rewarded by a lot of praise from the hundreds of people who visit every day.