2020 Award Winners

Chamudi Samaratunga

Bond University

Excellence In Enhancing Our Communities Winner

Community engagement is extremely important to Chamudi Samaratunga. The Bond University law student first learnt the importance of the value of community engagement in Sri Lanka by participating in fundraising initiatives and providing food packages to the homeless. Those experiences inspired Chamudi to help those in need on the Gold Coast by volunteering her time at legal centres and on campus.

Chamudi is a fundraising coordinator and advice night volunteer at My Community Legal, where she assists lawyers to provide free legal advice to the Gold Coast community. “I believe everyone deserves access to legal services regardless of their socio-economic background, so it’s an extremely rewarding experience for me”, she says. Chamudi has also worked as a Consulting Director and Project Manager at 180 Degrees Consulting – the world’s largest not-for-profit consultancy, along with volunteering and providing her services to more than six other national and international NFPs.


Susy James

Envirotech Education

Excellence In Protecting Our Environment

Susy James has demonstrated courage and attitude in making a huge change in her career during the COVID-19 pandemic. After working with QANTAS for 25 years, Susy has become one of the top students in Envirotech's Certificate III in Marine Habitat Conservation and Restoration course. Over the six months of studying with Envirotech, Susy has volunteered with cetacean conservation (through the Gold Coast's Humpbacks and High Rises program), seabird rescue, Seagrass-Watch and is currently helping with the rehabilitation and release of four marine turtles.
Susy also recently participated in a coral restoration project in the Whitsundays and is regularly involved in citizen science programs. The team at Envirotech say that Susy "is an inspiration to all of us!".

Lilliana Swainson

Somerset College

Excellence In Championing Diversity

Lilliana Swainson’s philosophy is underpinned by the belief that all people are equal regardless of gender, race, religion or age and her focus is to generate dialogue in young children about the acceptance and integration of all people. Over the past year Lilliana, has shown dedication and leadership towards not only Somerset College, where she attends, but also other schools in the local area, including Clover Hill State School, as well as internationally in Singapore and Italy. 

While still only a teenager, Lilliana has already demonstrated her leadership qualities by working with students from Prep to Year 7 through her book talks and also her in class workshops that highlight the need for greater understanding of diversity and gender equality.

Narasimhan Ravi

Griffith University

Excellence In Peer To Peer Support

Narasimhan Ravi has directly supported over 1,800 students on the Gold Coast and indirectly over 52,000 students worldwide in the areas of Academic Support, Mental Health and International Student Experience. In what has been an incredibly tumultuous year, Narasimhan has gone above and beyond in helping students get through challenging courses, transitioning to campus life, and enhancing their overall university experience through sport, education, and culture.

As a senior PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) leader at Griffith Business School, he’s transformed the lives of numerous students by facilitating online sessions (during lockdown) using evidence-based peer learning strategies through worksheets, kahoots and mock exams to aid student learning. As a committee member for the Mental Health Foundation of Australia, Narasimhan helped organise a national mental health symposium and walk for 100,000 people nationwide.

Eden Tokatly

Bond University

Excellence In Fostering Creative Arts

Eden’s multidisciplinary artwork strives to create the unexpected for the audience, while drawing attention to current global issues. These issues often centre around the law, as she studies a unique combination of Multimedia Arts and Law at Bond University. From using audio to raise awareness about sexism in the legal industry, or coded art that reflects the increase of domestic violence during isolation – Eden’s art makes confronting issues more accessible.

Eden has been the Editor of Bond University’s student magazine for over two years and seeks to put a focus on the LGBTQI and BIPOC community in the local area. During COVID-19, Eden organised Art on The Grass, which sought to assist student mental health through art, as well as incorporating a beginner’s design workshop. In line with the event she also designed ‘The Conversation’, a magazine dedicated to assisting student well being. Eden is the founder of the Bound Crew, an organisation that seeks to bring together likeminded creatives and has just completed her first solo exhibition at the Transformer Space on the Gold Coast.

Award categories

Excellence in Enhancing our Communities

Recognises a Gold Coast student who has consistently demonstrated through their work experience, volunteering and/or community engagement a passion to enhance the broader Gold Coast community.  

Excellence in Protecting our Environment

Recognises a Gold Coast student who has consistently engaged in initiatives or programs that aim to spread awareness on the importance of protecting our beautiful beaches, marine environment, and hinterland. 

Excellence in Championing Diversity

Recognises a Gold Coast student who has advocated and championed the values of embracing diversity in varied forms within our community. 

Excellence in Peer to Peer Support

Recognises a Gold Coast student who has consistently given their time in areas of mental health & well-being, academic support or similar towards other fellow students.  

Excellence in Fostering Creative Arts

Recognises a Gold Coast student who has mastered a particular art form and made a significant contribution to the vibrant arts community on the Gold Coast. 

Here’s a few highlights from the 2020 Gold Coast Student Excellence Awards

Click here for more images.