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College Graduate of the Year 2022 Shares Experience

17 May 2022

Sarah Bryant was recently awarded the Graduate of the Year and the Peel Memorial Prize. We spoke to Sarah to share the initiatives she was involved in that led her to receive the Graduate of the Year Award.

Contribution to the university through leadership positions

During my time at UCC, I was fortunate to receive the “Global Citizen Award” for my contribution to the ever-growing world community by sharing values of equity, justice and sustainability. This was achieved through my officership of UCC Dance Club, Enactus Society and the SUAS Literacy Mentor Programme where I was presented with the Student Life Pathway Award, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Pathway Award and the Volunteering Pathway Award, respectively.  

With UCC Dance, I was elected as the “Covid-19, Charity and Welfare Officer”. I had the opportunity to lead and implement a variety of campaigns centred around mental health, suicide prevention, the environment and breast cancer awareness. UCC Dance raised €360 for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, €485 for Youth Suicide Prevention Ireland through the “Dance, Donate, Nominate” Challenge and €635 in aid of Jigsaw. I also led a team of five over 8-weeks to create UCC Dance’s “TREE’t Yourself” environmental campaign in support of National Tree Week 2021 and the United Nation’s Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030. The 4-day long environmental campaign facilitated dialogue around the interconnection between trees, food, business, fashion and health in achieving environmental sustainability.

With the Enactus Society, I was a committee member of “Ceangal” a social enterprise that launched an 8-month project to enhance the socio-economic integration of refugees and asylum seekers in Cork.  

As a SUAS Literacy mentor, I engaged with children from disadvantaged areas in Cork City to build confidence in their literacy capacities over a 12-week period. 

Representing the University

Outside of studies in 2020, I was selected to participate in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Policy Hackathon: Equity and Engagement where my team and I analysed, designed, and presented a policy proposal that tackled censorship using software and that promoted a free and safe, global internet. Here, we were awarded 2nd place. 

In 2020, I was also selected as “Country Coordinator” for Ireland with the UN’s 16th Climate Change Conference of Youth’s Global Affairs Unit. During this role, I assisted in gathering demands from Irish youth which contributed to a first-of-its-kind “Global Youth Statement”. This collated 40,000+ grassroots inputs from young people globally who could have otherwise been excluded from formal channels of data collection and representation.

I also co-spearheaded the UCC Fighting World Hunger Student Coalition as the 1st Irish university chapter. My team and I organised numerous events including a virtual launch event entitled “Changing the Future of Food in UCC”. This was registered as a UN Food Systems Summit Independent Dialogue in partnership with the Development Studies Association Ireland. Here, UCC President re-signed the PUSH pledge and acknowledged the growing issue of food insecurity on UCC campus, which we’ve unfortunately seen so clearly this year given the grave need for the UCC Food Bank.

In 2020, I was also selected by An Taisce as a "Climate Ambassador" where I conducted a multiplicity of actions to raise awareness of climate change and sustainable development. This transcended into my education when I used my dissertation to investigate the question of whether sustainable food security was possible, and if so, how? This was well-received by examiners, scoring 80% and being sought after for publication.

College of Business and Law

Coláiste an Ghnó agus an Dlí

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