QMU nominated for two Herald Higher Education Awards

By Press Office

Queen Margaret University is proud to be nominated in two categories at this year's Herald Higher Education Awards. Our MSc Play Therapy student, Gavin Menzies, who has dedicated much of his time to helping the people of Ukraine, is a finalist in the ‘Outstanding Contribution from a University Student Award’ category. Our free sociable food event, Thank Goodness It’s Thursday, has also made it into the ‘Supporting Student Wellbeing Award’ shortlist.  

The Herald Higher Education Awards were established eight years ago to celebrate the extraordinary achievements happening in higher education institutions across Scotland. The awards highlight innovation in teaching and how institutions market themselves, support their students and engage with employers outside the institution.  

However, they don’t just track the achievements of universities and colleges overall, The Herald Higher Education Awards also give recognition to the amazing students who make huge contributions to their university or college.  

This year, QMU is in the final of two awards. Thank Goodness It’s Thursday (TGIT) has been nominated for the Supporting Student Wellbeing Award. TGIT has been set up to help support students through the cost-of-living crisis by providing students with a hot meal, weekend meal pack and social activities in a warm space, once a week.  Importantly, the initiative helps build a strong sense of community by bringing students and staff together at a sociable food event on campus. Aside from providing students with some respite from the pressures of spiralling food and heating costs, TGIT helps improve student wellbeing by strengthening staff and student bonds, providing companionship and reducing loneliness and isolation.  

We are delighted that MSc Play Therapy student, Gavin Menzies, has been nominated for Outstanding Contribution from a University Student for his selfless volunteer work in Ukraine.  

Just two weeks after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Gavin Menzies made the extraordinarily brave decision to fly to Ukraine and volunteer. In the past year, he has made three trips to Ukraine and neighbouring Poland, during which time he has helped evacuate people from Kyiv and ferry in supplies to the war-torn city of Kharkiv. 

Queen Margaret University’s Principal, Sir Paul Grice, said: “We are incredibly proud to be finalists in two categories at this year's Herald Higher Education Awards. Thanks Goodness It’s Thursday has proved to be exceptionally popular with students who really appreciate the additional help and support during the cost-of-living crisis, and I am grateful to our many staff, from across the University, who volunteer their time to make TGIT the best night of the week for our students. 

"QMU student, Gavin Menzies, is an inspiration to those on the MSc Play Therapy course and to everyone at the University. He has used his skills, energy and time to make a positive impact on the people of Ukraine during the most desperate of situations. We know that he is using what he has learned, with his support of orphans in Ukraine and on the Play Therapy course at QMU, to equip himself to better support young people in his local community."
Sir Paul Grice

“We are now keeping our fingers cross for the finals of the Herald Higher Education Awards event in June.” 

Notes to Editor

For further media information contact John Gillespie, Media Relations and Content Officer, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, E: jgillespie@qmu.ac.uk, and copy to press office E: pressoffice@qmu.ac.uk.