2021 Award Winners

Tanza Gray

TAFE Queensland, Gold Coast

Excellence In Enhancing Our Communities

Tanza is an International student from South Africa, who works tirelessly as a volunteer for Serving our People on the Gold Coast. The charity's main call to action is to provide a free delivery service, delivering anything from medicine for the sick, to baby formula for mums. Tanza has used her cabinet making skills, which she is currently studying, to build beautifully crafted in-store donation boxes which are placed in retail outlets across the Gold Coast for the collection of non-perishable donations.

Since joining Serving Our People Tanza has volunteered 3-6 hours every week and is a member of the project management team. She loves the compassionate ethos of Serving our People and their ability to 'dream big' in order to impact people’s lives every day. Tanza was inspired by the Chairman, Soheil Abedian, Founder and CEO Yas Daniel Matbouly and members of the team for their ‘genius and humble approach to charity’. Serving Our People continues to motivate Tanza to do more to help others, recently taking on the volunteer role as Creative Director, Retail Activation for the charity.

Aneez Anver

Griffith University

Excellence In Peer To Peer Support

Embracing many student roles, Aneez is a board member of Griffith University’s Student Guild; Director of Events for the Gold Coast Association of Postgraduates (GCAP); and a Student Advisory Board Member for Study Gold Coast. This year Aneez directly supported over 6000 students by organizing events such as Stress Less Week, #RUOK Day and World Mental Health Day. As a result he was bestowed with the Best Volunteer Award chosen by his peers.

Aneez played a pivotal role in bringing the Vygo App into Griffith University, which allows students to interact with each other and their tutors while also acting as a platform for international students to contact support workers who can then redirect them to mental health, emergency accommodation and other wellbeing services. Aneez also organised a Careers and Employability Workshop which saw over 450 students seek help building their resume to become job ready. As a senior buddy in the Griffith Mates Program, Aneez helps newly arrived international students with their transition to campus as a tour facilitator and through academic support.

Donya Tajjalli Sabet

Bond University

Excellence In Championing Diversity

Donya was born in Australia ethnically Persian to refugee parents and grew up as a third-culture child living most of her life in China. She returned to Australia for university, and at times felt out of place. Over time Donya learnt to embrace her own diversity and celebrate the diversity of those in her community. As a Medical student she slowly became aware of the health inequalities prominent throughout society, especially amongst our diverse populations, and created initiatives that share the responsibility of health issues within our communities.

Over four consecutive years Donya volunteered with Sony’s Children’s Camp, a facility dedicated to providing a safe environment for local children with disabilities. As an advocate for gender equality, Donya’s many achievements include organising a Women in Medicine event; and two Birthing Kit Assembly Nights, where over 100 students assembled 1,000 kits for safer pregnancies globally. Donya also fundraised over $8,000 for HIV/AIDs in Fiji, and organised an online rally for the health of refugees detained in Australian off-shore sites. The latter was part of a nation-wide project, with over 19 Universities involved, reaching attention of thousands of students and communities nationwide.

Hannah Daley

Palm Beach Currumbin High School

Excellence In Protecting Our Environment

Hannah has been instrumental in her leadership of sustainable practices at her school and within the wider community. As the Palm Beach Currumbin High School’s Sustainability Captain she has implemented recycling, composting and container deposit practices which have completely overhauled her school's environmental footprint. Through her dedication, ability to influence and educate, Hannah leads a team of sustainability warriors and has been instrumental in obtaining government grants to further fund Palm Beach Currumbin’s sustainable practices through an on-site Sustainability Shed, which allows the school to have their own container deposit scheme, putting money back into the school while simultaneously improving their environmental footprint.

Hannah is a natural leader with an outstanding work ethic and moral compass. Through her identification, strategic vision and implementation of sustainable practices she has been at the forefront of both educating her school community and changing their behaviours for the benefit of all. Hannah has also been politically influential, presenting to several key members of parliament to encourage an ongoing commitment to sustainable practices. 

Thilinika Wijesinghe

Southern Cross University

Excellence In Fostering Creative Arts

Thili’s great passions are teaching, the environment, sustainability and the arts, with the PhD student often combining all of those elements in her extra-curricular initiatives. Thili founded a drama club at the Gold Coast Student Hub to improve the public speaking abilities of the city’s students while fostering the creative arts, and as a Toastmaster has promoted the benefits and excellence of public speaking to her peers, connecting our student cohort and the wider community on a wide range of topics, including bullying, sustainability and climate action.  

As the leader of the environmental club at Southern Cross University Thili initiated several activities to promote sustainability and she also established a You Tube channel to raise awareness of the many cultural opportunities on the Gold Coast. Thili’s PhD research draws not only on the wide spectrum of her professional experience, but also her passions of sustainable living and teaching through drama.

Award Categories

Nominations are assessed by a panel comprising of two Study Gold Coast staff members & a member of the Student Advisory Board.

Award winners in each category are awarded $1,000 along with a certificate & a personalised trophy. Award winners will automatically become part of the Gold Coast Student Alumni Network.

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 actively support or promote the awareness of sustainable practices and protecting our beautiful environment.

Excellence in Championing Diversity

Recognises a Gold Coast student who has advocated and championed the values of embracing diversity in various 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 their 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 our vibrant arts community on the Gold Coast.