Smeatons Tower on Plymouth Hoe
We’re excited to announce that the University of Plymouth Students' Union (UPSU) will be launching a new awards ceremony in 2024. The Beacon Awards will highlight the incredible students and staff in our community at the University, exclusively nominated and chosen by students.
Following a review of their previous awards and how they celebrate our University community, UPSU are moving to an award ceremony that combines multiple areas of the student experience at Plymouth. They will celebrate the work of students through their extracurricular activities, their academic representation work and the recognition of the fantastic staff that support them.
By celebrating as one award they will be bringing together our community to recognise the work that often happens behind the scenes to help students get the most out of their time at Plymouth.
Beacon Awards


As a student, you can submit your nominations for the following categories:
  • Outstanding contribution award
  • Activity of the year award
  • Staff choice award
  • Fundraiser of the year award
  • Student representative of the year award
  • Community contribution award
  • Society of the year award
  • Sports club of the year award
As a student, you can submit your nominations for the following categories:
  • Sports person of the year award
  • Resilience award
  • Inspirational teaching of the year award
  • Academic support staff of the year award
  • Supervisor of the year award
  • Support staff of the year award
  • Half colours
  • Full colours
As a staff member, you can submit your nominations for the following categories:
  • Staff choice award
  • Community contribution award
  • Resilience award
  • Student representative of the year award
Nominations open
2 February 2024
Nominations close
4 March 2024
Awards ceremony
30 April 2024

View highlights of the SSTAR Awards

From 2011, the University of Plymouth Students' Union (UPSU) held the Student, Staff Teaching and Representation (SSTAR) Awards, highlighting the amazing work that students and staff both do in order to ensure that students are getting the most from their university experience. The awards were an opportunity for UPSU to say thank you to lecturers, support staff and student reps for all their hard work and support, while highlighting exactly what students think good teaching and support is.

SSTAR Award Winners 2023

"These awards are incredibly powerful, whether your nominee wins or not, your words can mean so much to that person. Because knowing you have made a difference for at least one person can really mean the world."
Tonari Arikekpar, VP Education (2022/23)

SSTAR Award Winners 2022

"The SSTAR awards are important this year due to the massive amounts of change we have gone through this year. There are individuals who have gone above and beyond to support students, and they should be recognised for this." 
Charlie Atkinson, UPSU VP Education

SSTAR Award Winners 2021

"This year more than ever it’s important for us to recognise those individuals who went above and beyond in their role to support students. We want to highlight the people who went out of their way to make it better for others."
Emi Dowse, VP Education 2020/21

SSTAR Award Winners 2020

241 nominations were received in 2020, with long and shortlisting panels conducted virtually. The winners were notified that they'd won virtually and presented with their award in front of their peers, their colleagues and the students who nominated them. 

SSTAR Award Winners 2019

The SSTAR Awards were held on 2 May 2019. There were 857 nominations recognising the many excellent staff members and dedicated students we have at Plymouth. 

SSTAR Award Winners 2018

The SSTAR Awards were held on 26 April 2018, with 612 detailed and inspiring nominations from University of Plymouth staff and students. 

Student awards celebrate teaching stars

"She’s brought in playdough breasts and plastic knives so we can perform dissections on them and find the jelly bean ‘tumours’ of different types. This must have taken her ages to put together in her own time." 
Carole Stoddard's use of playdough breasts in cellular science saw her scoop the award for Most Innovative Use of Teaching Methods.

View highlights of the Students’ Union Awards

The annual Students’ Union Awards recognised and celebrated truly inspirational individuals and groups, highlighting the outstanding achievements of the incredible students at the University of Plymouth and giving gratitude for their hard work.
As a student-led organisation, the University of Plymouth Students’ Union (SU) asked students to nominate whoever they thought deserved to win an award. To announce the Students’ Union Awards’ winners, we put on a glamorous awards ceremony night each year to honour those individuals and groups. 

Students’ Union Awards Winners 2023

“You should all be extremely proud of what you have achieved and for being nominated. You have ensured the success of the student group that you belong to. Walk away from this year with your heads held high, feeling proud.”
Mitch Laughton, Vice President of Activities (2022/23)

Students’ Union Awards Winners 2022

“Congratulations to everyone who won awards and also to everyone who was nominated. We are so proud of all our students and their achievements, and it was fabulous to be able to celebrate with everyone at our annual awards.”
Nicky Goldthorpe, UPSU Chief Executive Officer

Students’ Union Awards Winners 2020

Students’ Union Awards Winners 2019

We are proud to have a thriving student community here at the Students’ Union, that helps support the wellbeing of our members. These awards recognise some of our key communities of over 100 societies with 4,000 members, 55 sports clubs with over 3,200 members, and over 500 student volunteers that have contributed over 20,000 hours in the local community. Within our student community these activities and groups are helping students to have a successful, fulfilling and rewarding time both at University and in the future.