Stirling has really helped me develop as a person and the journey has been an once-in-a-lifetime experience. I’m going to really miss the University – the four years I have spent here will always be a part of my life.
The University of Stirling Management School’s Simron Kandola has earned a degree just months after being named Student of the Year at the National Union of Students (NUS) Scotland Awards 2017, in recognition of his exceptional volunteering, community and mentoring work.
The 25-year-old graduate recalled how receiving the accolade, in honour of his invaluable contribution to the University and Students’ Union, was a truly memorable moment.
Simron said: “My passion is in volunteering and being able to proactively help other students and the local community. It was fantastic to be recognised by NUS Scotland for this work. It shows just how valued students are at the University, and how each person’s individual contributions within the Stirling Students’ Union, and within the local community, can make such a massive difference.
“It felt like such a huge achievement – and a surprise. It is the diversity and range of volunteering work that I have done, as well as the positive difference that I have made, that ultimately helped me win the award.”
The Co-founder of four new Stirling Students’ Union societies, including the University of Stirling Volunteering Society and the Barnardo’s Society, Simron dedicated much of his time at University to helping students, local charities and communities.
As a result of his work with Barnardo’s, Simron was invited to celebrate the charity’s 150th anniversary at a special Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, hosted by the Duchess of Cornwall.
Through the Volunteering Society, Simron helped raise more than £3000 for local charities, and helped donate around 4000 food donations to the local food bank charity, Start-Up Stirling, which has supported approximately 2100 families.
Simron also volunteered with Oxfam as a Shop Assistant, was Treasurer of the TEDx Society – helping to re-launch TEDxUniversityofStirling – and gained experience through a number of part-time roles, including Student Ambassador at the University and the Scottish Institute for Enterprise.
He was an active volunteer within the Union’s Freshers Team, co-organised a University of Stirling Symposium networking event and worked as a STEER Mentor and Intern within the Student Peer Support Scheme, mentoring first-year students and taking on the administrative running of the programme during his fourth year.
As well as picking up the award for Student of the Year, Simron won the award for the Biggest Contribution to the Student Body at the Stirling Students’ Union Clubs and Societies Ball in 2017, was shortlisted for the Student Volunteer of the Year Award by NUS UK and Student Hubs UK, and made the Enterprise Rent-A-Car shortlist for Management Undergraduate of the Year Award in 2016.
Employability and flexibility were just two of the reasons Simron was originally drawn to Stirling.
He said: “It was the spectacular setting of the University, the flexibility of the undergraduate courses, the social life and the excellent career prospects which all brought me to Stirling, and all of my expectations have been fulfilled.
“I have really enjoyed the course itself – not many universities offer the opportunity to study Human Resource Management and it was great to get such flexibility with this course, as well as a huge amount of guidance and support from the University support services and within the University of Stirling Management School.”
Reflecting on his university experience, Simron added: “My time at Stirling has been an amazing journey, from start to finish, and a rollercoaster ride, from first to fourth year. I was quite reserved when I first came to the University and didn’t undertake any extra-curricular activities: however, I now feel like a more confident, independent and competent individual and I am ready for the next step in my life.