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2021 Winners announced

June 28, 2021 | General

We would like to acknowledge all of the CampusLink Awards recipients for 2021 🏆🎉

On Thursday night, 24th of June, we enjoyed a night of celebration on the Gold Coast, recognising excellence and success in the Australasian tertiary student experience sector. As with many sectors, the past eighteen months have been particularly challenging for Tertiary Student Services making the night even more meaningful.

While not all of our winners could be present due to travel-restrictions, it was fantastic to see those that we did, either face-to-face or on the big screen, to receive these prestigious awards. See below the full list of winner’s for 2021, with links to their projects:

Commercial Services

Best Commercial Innovation & Adaptability Campaign
WINNER: UOW Pulse – Pulse Pantry Packs‘.

To reflect the changes and challenges within the commercial spaces on campuses over the past year, the title of this award was changed to include innovation and adaptability, as these qualities have been required for many commercial outlets to survive.  

The winner of this category was chosen because of their resilience, innovation, and adaptability. Their commercial program made a significant difference to the students, staff and local community, giving everyone involved a great sense of purpose. The campaign maintained focus on sustainability and as it evolved, adapted to better meet the needs of everyone involved.  

The campaign involved: 

  • 28 community partnerships 
  • 150+ staff and student volunteers 
  • 4000 students supported in a time of crisis 
  • Created more than $31,000 in financial donations.
  • Won – 2020 NSW International Student Community Engagement Award – Business and Community from Study NSW. 

TAG Strategic Partner of the Year:
WINNER: Think Productive, Australia.

This category is traditionally dominated by large corporate partners who are well-resourced to provide support. However, in a year that tested even the largest of companies, agility and a keen desire to understand and adapt to the specific challenges of the student services sector saw one smaller partner rise most admirably to the challenge.

Think Productive adapted their productivity training model to suit the specific needs of students and TAG member staff as well. They then aggregated TAG’s reach to provide unprecedented discounted access to the training. Through flexible virtual delivery, Think Productive proved the effectiveness of their Ninja approach and provided full 360-degree value to all stakeholders.  All the while, in the background, they are constantly seeking ways in which to strengthen their relationship with TAG and best support the student services sector.

In response to recieving their award, Think Productive is offering TAG members and associated suppliers access to a 2 for 1 workshop promotion until the end of August 2021.


Best Marketing Campaign:
WINNER: Griffith University Gold Coast Student Guild – ‘The World Got Weird’ campaign.

The loss of students on campus, lockdowns, physical distancing, and disrupted calendars over 2020 required rapid adaptations to marketing strategies, and innovative ways to engage and support students. 

The Best Marketing Award for this year added recognition of  innovation and adaptation in marketing and communications strategies during 2020.  The standout winner for this category was a hugely innovative, broad-reaching, and ambitious campaign.  It was adapted quickly to provide multiple avenues of support for students struggling with significant change and isolation. 

Its designs were bright, bold, engaging, humorous, and at times downright bizarre! It addressed all key areas of support for student health and wellbeing, was inclusive, accessible, well planned, collaborative, and very creative. 

Most Successful Visual Design:
WINNER: Arc @UNSW – ‘Funner Summer‘ campaign.

Great design is not simply about the way things look; it’s also about making a difference and adding value to your message.  The Most Successful Visual Design Award is to showcase outstanding design initiatives and creativity within the context of student engagement.  

This category saw another standout winner with a unique, iconic campaign that spoke to a sense of belonging and an experience of fun for international students facing uncertainty and instability. The design was also aimed at creating positive brand association and an appealing visual reference.  

Most Successful Digital Initiative:
WINNER: Griffith University Gold Coast Student Guild – The World Got Weird‘.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: the University of Newcastle – UoN @ Home‘ and University of South Australia Student Association –Empowering You Online‘.

The digital space has been our first line of defense in a COVID changed world, keeping our organisations connected to student cohorts and other members of our organisations. This award recognised a successful digital initiative that boasted strong student engagement and support, creativity, adaptability, user functionality, and kept campus communities connected. 

 Nine entries were submitted in this category giving the jury panel a lot to discuss and consider. The result was two highly commended recipients and one winner.  

The Highly Commended awards went to two campuses that quickly adapted programs to enable students to learn with as little disruption as possible, ensuring access to necessary resources. They provided support for students to succeed in challenging circumstances and kept those who were away from family, friends, and peers connected 

The winner of Most Successful Digital Initiative was recognised for ticking all the boxes of keeping their campus community strong, engaged, and connected. Their multi-faceted programs were hugely supportive, highly creative, and well planned and executed.  

Student Outcomes

Most Successful Student Outcomes Program:
WINNER: Swinburne Student Life – Level Up, Club Executive Training‘.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: UOW Pulse – Community Garden and the University of Newcastle – ‘UoN Band Comp‘.

Another category with a high number of submissions this year. Successful student outcome programs enable students to extend their education by accessing opportunities to develop skills and beneficial relationships outside of their degree.  Two highly commended recipients and a winner was also awarded in this category.

The first HC went to a program that provides strong opportunities for student musicians to develop their skills, and gain experience and exposure within the local community – UON Band Comp. The second HC went to a collaborative community garden program connecting students to community experts, teaching them the foundations of growing food, and facilitating real-time food security – UOW Pulse Community Garden.

The winner of this category, Swinburne Student Life – Level Up Executive Training, provided a comprehensive and bespoke club training program that builds skills, employability, and leadership training for Club Executives. 

Most Successful Event:
WINNER: Victoria University –  V4U Day‘.


Tasmania University Student Association – Clubs & Societies Show Day’ and

University of Newcastle – ‘UoN Band Comp‘.

As we all know, the challenges of 2020 and 2021 have meant many student-focused events have been scaled back, rescheduled, cancelled, or hosted online. Running successful events over this time has required flexibility, adaptability, innovation, and an effective use of resources.  

Despite these challenges, 11 entries were submitted in this category – some events were held face to face in brief windows of normality, some were conversions of existing events transferred online, while others worked within the restrictions of social gathering guidelines.  

Two highly commended and one winning entry were awarded for this category. 

The highly commended awards were presented to TUSA for an engaging, collaborative, and inclusive ‘Clubs & Societies Show Day’, and the University of Newcastle Band Comp for showcasing adaptability and innovation for their Band Comp Drive-In Final.

The stand out winning entry – Victoria University –  ‘V4U Day’, converted a flagship face to face event into a hugely successful online collaboration involving 27 student team leaders, 18 community project partners, more than 250 volunteers working in 20 simultaneous projects, 2,062 handmade items were created, the recording of two songs in a virtual choir for COVID-19 frontline workers plus much, much more. 

Best Orientation Event:
WINNER: Deakin University Student Association – Mystery Bus Tour‘.

Typically, successful orientation events introduce students to life on campus, orientate them to their new surroundings, help them meet new friends, and get them connected to their student experience organisations. 

Obviously, an incredibly challenging event space to manage over 2020!  

The year’s Best Orientation award goes to DUSA’s ‘Mystery Bus Tour’ – a well-thought-out, well-run regional orientation event that gave out-of-area students the opportunity to become familiar with their new surroundings and make new friends in a fun and memorable way.  

Most Successful Sports Initiative:
HIGHLY COMMENDED: Arc @UNSW – ‘Asia Cup Cricket Competition’ and UOW Pulse – ‘Clubs Cup’.

The restricted ability to hold on-campus sporting programs, sporting initiatives, and sporting events to any great degree over the past 12 months was evidenced by a small number of entries in this category.  Both events were able to be held face to face.  

The jury panel decided to award two highly commended recipients for their initiatives this year: The first goes to Arc@UNSW for a live and broadcast cricket comp run for isolated international students, and the second highly commended went to UOW Pulse for a fun and quirky interclub sports day that created connection and comradery amongst members from diverse clubs.

Student Achievement

Best Student Developed Publication:
WINNER: University of South Australia Student Association – ‘Blak Out – Verse Magazine‘.


Student publications are more than communication tools. They are the student touchpoint on campus and provide fantastic opportunities for students to develop skills, publish works, raise awareness and stay informed. 

This award recognises outstanding achievements in student publications both physical and digital.  This year we have a highly commended recipient and a winner. 

The Highly commended goes to Arc@UNSW’s ‘Tharunka’ magazine – a high quality, long-standing publication featuring student editorial, journalism, satire, illustration, reviews, and more. This publication provides ongoing opportunities for students to gain real-world skills while amplifying the student’s voice and reporting on the issues that impact them. 

The winning student-developed publication for 2021 goes to USASA ‘Blak Out – Verse Magazine’ – an exciting publication that oozed passion for storytelling and country, and provided a platform for important cultural narratives.  

National Student Volunteer of the Year:
WINNER: UOW Pulse – Prithvi Shashikanth Patil.

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Monash Student AssociationXenia Sanut.

The National Student Volunteer of the Year award recognises a standout individual student who demonstrates significant enthusiasm, commitment, and ongoing contributions to the success of their institution, peer programs and associated communities via their volunteering efforts. 

The nominees of this category are recognised for: 

  • Making significant and ongoing contributions to their campus community  
  • Demonstrating continued motivation and support for their student service organisations, student cohorts, student activities, and the wider community 
  • And are viewed by peers and staff as a leader in the volunteer space 

This award sees a high calibre of entries each year, with outstanding volunteering contributions being made by many students across Australia. We are delighted to announce a highly commended and winning recipient for 2021.  

The Highly Commended recipient for 2021 goes to Xenia Sanut from MSA. Xenia has provided significant support to 3 high-commitment volunteer programs, making her an integral part of multiple teams dedicated to providing student services. 

The winning recipient of the National Student Volunteer of the Year Award for 2021 goes to Prithvi Shashikanth Patil from Uow Pulse. Prithvi who has shown huge compassion for his fellow students, participated in over 140 hours of volunteering time, regularly supported over 20 different programs on campus, and is well known as a warm and reliable person. 

Most Successful Club or Society Event or Activity:
WINNER: UOW Cosplay Society – ‘Craftfest’.

Another area of student life affected by the challenges of lockdowns has been the opportunity to connect socially via the running of club events and activities.   

This award was adapted for 2021 to recognise those clubs or societies that worked collaboratively and innovatively in hosting on or off-campus events and activities despite the current challenges. The jury panel was looking for evidence of success in areas such as ongoing engagement and benefits to students, adaptability to support virtual or isolated students where relevant, and effective use of resources.  

The unanimous winner of this award went to UOW Cosplay Society for their ‘CraftFest’ event –  an outstanding online Twitch stream festival that ran for 12 hours a day over 3 days across multiple timezones from Perth to NZ! The focus of the event was to create social connections while also learning new skills. The event offered 25 different workshops presented by students who are masters at their craft with additional opportunities to connect with external experts within the genre of Cosplay. 

Most Successful Club or Society:

WINNER: UOW Cosplay Society

Successfully-run  Clubs and Societies provide a vital link to a connected student experience. They offer opportunities to develop extracurricular skills and help create vibrant, healthy student communities. 

The challenges of 2020 have forced clubs and societies to adapt to the way they engage and support their members.  This award recognises a Club or Society that has shown innovation and adaptability in keeping connected to their members, supporting and engaging their members and maintaining relevance. 

The winner of this category goes to the UoW Cosplay Society – an outstanding highly motivated society that inherently understands the needs of its members. This society not only creates ongoing events to facilitate connections between club members and professionals within their industry but actively supports the personal growth and development of its community via opportunities to participate and share skills in a range of broad and engaging activities.

Staff Development

Best Staff Training Program:
WINNER: UOW Pulse – ‘Reconciliation Mentoring Project’

The challenges of 2020 have significantly impacted the workplace of staff members across the tertiary sector. For many member organisations the struggle has been real in how to best support staff as we all navigate and adjust to the ever-changing employment landscape. 

This award recognises member organisations who have provided valuable staff support programs and/or training opportunities that keeps workspaces connected, healthy, functioning and productive. 

The winner of this award went to Uow Pulse who went above and beyond to create an immersive, well supported program that facilitated a positive change in workplace culture and established important relationships with local elders in the community.  The Reconciliation Mentoring Project focuses on Relationships, Learning, Change-Making, Inclusivity, and Diversity. It is designed to increase staff confidence in cultural competence and create a shift away from racism.  The training content and relationships created with local elders have built confidence in the staff to make culturally supported decisions into the future and enabled participants to communicate broader cultural understandings within their extended communities.


Georgeson-Torney Award:
WINNER: Hugh Gordon – University of Newcastle

The Georgeson Torney Award is presented in recognition of outstanding service to the Australian Student Service Profession.

The award identifies and recognises leaders in our sector who are; working collaboratively within internal and external avenues of the tertiary sector, shaping the future of student services in a positive direction, championing change and innovation, and turning ideas into action. Economic, social, and environmental leadership also feature appropriately in all of their core activities.

A recipient of this award is also recognised as having contributed significantly to improving campus services for the student members of their respective organisations, with strong evidence of success. They have also brought inspiring leadership, dedication, and commitment to the TAG group as a whole via strong participation and support of TAG member activities over the past 12 months.

We are delighted to honour the outstanding efforts of Hugh Gordon as the recipient of the Georgeson Torney Award for 2021.

For over thirty years, Hugh Gordon has been a driving force at the University of Newcastle in the many incarnations of its student services organisation.

Hugh’s particular passion is for live music events and the energy and engagement it breathes into campus life. Working collaboratively within internal and external avenues, Hugh has helped shape the future of thousands of budding UoN musicians with positive direction and a true mentor’s approach.  As a result of Hugh’s passion and drive, the University of Newcastle has one of Australia’s strongest live campus music scenes. Under Hugh’s stewardship, UoN has consistently fielded significantly more entrants to the annual National Campus Music Competition than any other campus across Asutralia. His mentoring and efforts to provide skill-building opportunities for the students have seen many of UoN’s high-quality entrants win the competition on multiple occasions and go on to achieve recording success.

Hugh has not only brought inspiring leadership, dedication, and commitment to his students over the years, but to many TAG member colleagues along the way, and is held in the highest esteem by them all because of it.

Congratulations Hugh!

It’s back for October… win a studio recording session!