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“A true badge of honour”: Community Spirit Award launched

Thursday 14 January 2021

A new Community Spirit Award is being launched to enable St Catharine’s students to recognise each other for:

  • Making an exceptional contribution to bettering the wellbeing of others in our community;
  • Performing notable acts of selflessness or kindness; and/or
  • Displaying community spirit for the benefit of wider society.

Recipients will be awarded a commemorative pin badge, accompanied by a letter of thanks from the Master. All St Catharine’s students are eligible and able to nominate each other online, with successful undergraduate nominees selected by the JCR Committee and postgraduate nominees by the MCR Committee. A small number of awards will be given out on a rolling basis to deserving nominees as a token of the College’s appreciation.

Professor Sir Mark Welland, Master of St Catharine’s, explained, “Students, staff and Fellows have gone above and beyond to support each other in recent months, and this exceptional community spirit has been vital as we navigate the disruption and uncertainty caused by the pandemic. Our annual prizes enable the College to formally recognise students each summer but I am glad to announce the Community Spirit Award as a more immediate and personal way for students to celebrate their peers’ important contributions.”

As part of a competition to design the new pin badge, St Catharine’s students submitted 38 designs. The Master, presidents of the JCR and MCR, and the Communications Manager carefully reviewed the different entries and selected the winning design by Marie Schwencke (2018, Medical and Veterinary Sciences).

Marie commented, “I am exceedingly proud that my design was chosen for the new Community Spirit Award. My concept for the badge was inspired by Kintsugi, the centuries-old Japanese art of mending broken objects with gold, which creates beauty and strength from breakages and flaws. I used a grey background reminiscent of the glaze of a Kintsugi pot to symbolise the darkness and uncertainty that we are forced to face together. A golden wheel, the symbol of the College, reminds us of the strength our community can give to each other in even the most challenging of times.”

Pictured: The original design for the Community Spirit Award pin badge and the new badge itself


Jess Forsdyke (2015, Engineering) and Souradip Mookerjee (2013, Medical and Veterinary Sciences), MCR Co-Presidents, commented, “Going through the wide variety of designs entered by students for the Community Spirit Award, we were impressed by their creative flair and pride in our College. Thank you to everyone who got involved and congratulations to Marie for her poignant and polished design – it will be a true badge of honour for any student who receives the award.”

Rory Cockshaw (2019, Natural Sciences), JCR President, added, “Now the badges have arrived and the nomination form is live, all we need is for everyone to take a moment to nominate members of our community who are worthy of recognition. Catz has a track record of exceptional community spirit – so I’m sure there will be plenty of opportunities to recognise students during Lent Term and beyond.”