Toby Hicks Service Award winner donates prize money to women’s shelter

28 April 2020

The 2019 recipient of the Toby Hicks Service to Student Community Award, nursing student Kate Saw, has donated the $1000 award to Bayside Women’s Shelter in Sydney.

The Toby Hicks prize is awarded annually to students or recent graduates who have made an outstanding positive contribution to enhancing the life of the student community at the University of Notre Dame Australia. Kate was nominated for the award by fellow nursing student Erin Smith. Dean of the School of Nursing, Sydney, Sally Robertson, endorsed the nomination, highlighting Kate’s work on developing the School’s mentor program to support first-year nursing students. Kate also mentored 16 students herself, recognising the importance of the program in helping students adjust to their new university environment.

“Kate reflected that the transition to university for some students is challenging, especially navigating some of the administrative and compliance requirements for the Bachelor of Nursing, so she developed a proposal to strengthen the mentor program and reduce the mentor:mentee ratio,” explains Professor Robertson.

That proposal was presented to the School of Nursing Committee, and Kate worked with Notre Dame’s student services team to enhance the program and better engage students, even volunteering as the student contact for the program. “We created a tailored program for the School, which I hope has provided students a greater feeling of community and support, particularly now during these challenging times and with the move to online study,” says Kate.

This passion Kate has for making a difference extends outside her University and into the wider community as well. Since winning the Toby Hicks prize, she has decided to donate the $1000 prize money to Bayside Women’s Shelter; an organisation that responds to vulnerable women and families in crisis, and works to help prevent domestic violence.

“I was introduced to the shelter by another student at Notre Dame,” says Kate. “The COVID-19 situation has given me pause to reflect on the amount of privilege many of us experience in our day to day lives, and how we sometimes take safety and security for granted. Current isolation and social distancing measures, as well as general stress in this context, places women and children who are already vulnerable at a greater risk – so I wanted to support this service.”

In talking about the shelter, Kate encouraged other members of Notre Dame’s community to support the organisation in any way they could. “It was a lovely surprise to win the prize,” said Kate, “But most importantly it felt great to be supported in community-focused efforts, which I’ve been happy to see so many examples of lately as we respond to COVID-19.”

The Toby Hicks Service to Student Community Award is named in honour of alumnus Toby Hicks’ service to The University of Notre Dame Australia over two decades: Fremantle Campus Student Association President (1998-1999), Graduated with Bachelor of Business (1997) and Bachelor of Laws (2001), Board of Governors (2002-2017), and member of the Finance Audit and Risk Committee (2004-2017).

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