CUBO Awards 2018 shortlist revealed

Preview: After a record number of entries, the College and University Business Officers (CUBO) reveals the shortlists for its 2018 awards

Launched in 2012, the CUBO Awards are a yearly event to recognise the achievements of those working within the campus and commercial services area of higher education.

This year saw a number of changes to the awards and the inclusion of a new award – Best Residence Life Initiative. CUBO were thrilled to receive a record number of entries in response to the changes.

“The response to our new categories and revised criteria has been even better than hoped. It is wonderful to see such a compelling body of work across each category and the impact the work is having at institutions across the UK,” said Gillian Almond, Chair of the awards panel.

“My congratulations to those who have made the shortlists amid fierce competition. I would also like to genuinely thank all of those who made a submission, we are grateful for the time and effort spent preparing entries, even when the weather tried to prevent it!”

Along with a record number of submissions, this year’s changes and new criteria has delivered a strong body of work across all of the categories, with some particularly interesting new projects and initiatives. Below is a list of the nominees, with a snapshot of their entries. 

The CUBO Awards 2018 nominees are:

Best Residence Life Initiative

Sponsored by Unite Students

Bangor University
Bangor’s free Campus Life programme provides students with opportunities, adventure, learning and personal growth. Last year student engagement more than doubled, and with a 30% budget increase expansion is set to continue.

London School of Economics
LSE students earn points for their hall by participating in events and fundraising activities. The Halls Cup project aims to build an inclusive community through friendly inter-hall competition while contributing to wider society.

University of Leicester
Leicester’s Make Every Contact Count initiative helps staff report concerns around student health and wellbeing, resulting in increased numbers of visits to assist students and more signposting to support services.

University of Manchester
Repeat offending has fallen among students experimenting with drugs at the University of Manchester, thanks to a joint venture with the police and the city’s drug and alcohol service.

Best Marketing Campaign

University of Bath
Bath inspired more than 60,000 people to use reusable cups and boosted recycling with a fully integrated campaign, launched after discovering its hospitality department used 650,000 disposable cups in a year.

Solent Conference Centre
Innovative marketing resulted in a 41% increase in income from Christmas party nights, after the state-of-the-art Solent Conference Centre was transformed into an enchanted forest.

Swansea University
Smashing its target by 188%, Swansea’s successful crowdfunding campaign raised £100,210 and secured £100,000 in capital funding, allowing the University to set up Wales’ first bike-share scheme.

Excellence in Student Sport Experience

Sponsored by Sodexo

University of Birmingham
Birmingham’s £65m investment in sports facilities has sparked a phenomenal increase in engagement. Participation in netball and basketball has rocketed by 82% while fitness class attendance has more than doubled.

University of Huddersfield
Student feedback inspired Huddersfield to transform dated facilities into a state-of-the-art leisure centre, substantially increasing engagement and enhancing student experience through additional services such as health MOTs  and social sports sessions.

University of Manchester
Sports participation at Manchester has soared from 6,914 to 16,816 in two years, thanks to changes in structure, staffing and processes, while student satisfaction around sport offers has increased by 10%.  

Commercial University of the Year

Sponsored by

University of Edinburgh
In a competitive environment, Edinburgh has consistently improved service delivery and increased margins. In 2017 they organised 1,633 events, accommodated 44,000 commercial guests and grew hotel revenue by 23%.

University of Kent
With annual turnover of £47m, Kent’s commercial services contribute up to 50% of the University’s annual surplus, and have a positive impact on the local economy.

University of York
Refurbishment programmes, new openings, a focus on innovation and enticing new business from external sources, has helped the University of York’s subsidiary company YCL exceed turnover of £18m last year.

Best Student Housing

Sponsored by IQ Student Accommodation

University of Bath
Designed for dynamic and flexible usage, Bath’s newest accommodation building, The Quads, houses 708 undergraduates. Student feedback is highly positive, with 78% rating the accommodation as good or excellent.

University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh’s new postgraduate development realises the University’s aspiration to create diverse residential spaces supporting successful learning. Refurbished Georgian buildings retain original features while a brand-new block boasts modern, bright spaces.

University of Sheffield
Launched in July 2017, Sheffield’s Jonas is a first-of-its-kind concept bringing together student accommodation and a modern hotel, and providing a lively and creative space for student living.  

Innovation in Catering

Sponsored by TUCO

Oxford Brookes University
Oxford Brookes prides itself on an ethical approach to catering, sourcing 77% of its fresh meat, fruit, vegetables and milk from local and UK suppliers, and reducing food waste by 27%.

University of Leicester
The University of Leicester has joined forces with its Students’ Union in a catering venture, releasing funds to build a new food court. A range of outlets include bubble tea shops and bagel bars.

University of Manchester
In the past five years the University of Manchester has improved its impact on the planet and society with initiatives including Meat Free Mondays, tray-free dining and a Land Army Student volunteer scheme.

University of Sheffield
Sales rose by 6% after the University of Sheffield decided to transform The View Deli into the University’s first vegetarian and vegan specialty café in September 2017.

Business Manager/Team of the Year

College Court, University of Leicester
Following a fire last summer the College Court team worked tirelessly together on the clean-up operation, taking the opportunity to make improvements to the building and décor.

University of Leeds
Leeds’ Residential Team challenged itself to develop a quality management system for student accommodation to improve standards and performance. The team’s hard work has led to increased staff and student satisfaction. 

Solent Conference Centre
The team behind Solent’s innovative conference centre has smashed its event income target by 181%, through successful marketing, excellent client liaison and first-class event delivery.

Innovation in Student Experience

Sponsored by Campuslife/Studentcom

Brunel University London
The introduction of finger-scanning payment system Fingopay in Brunel’s campus shops has increased footfall by 11% and speed of payment by 5%, helping students get to lectures on time.

University of Manchester
Collaborative campaign Give It Don’t Bin It has raised more than a million pounds by encouraging students to reuse or recycle unwanted items at the end of term.

Royal Holloway, University of London
A dramatic refurbishment has transformed Royal Holloway’s historic Boilerhouse into an exciting new social and study space, with an adaptable lecture theatre, seminar room and café.   

Business Partner of the Year

NCA and University of Manchester
More than 600 discounted bikes have been sold to students thanks to a partnership between the National Cycling Academy and the University of Manchester. The initiative aims to provide sustainable, cheap transport. 

Unique lettings agency Sulets is a joint venture between the Students’ Unions of De Montfort University and the University of Leicester in partnership with both institutions. It lets over 2,400 bed spaces across the city.

Unitemps and Canterbury Christ Church
Almost two thousand Christ Church students have found employment through a partnership with staffing agency Unitemps. The University has made significant savings while students gain a flexible income to support their studies. 

Lifetime Achievement Award

There are no nominees for this award, which is decided directly by the Chair of CUBO and awarded on the night.

Many congratulations to all nominees, and CUBO wishes to thank everyone who took the time to enter a submission. The body of work presented through the submissions is something to be proud of as a sector. CUBO also wishes to thank the awards sponsors for 2018: Unite Students, Sodexo,, IQ Student Accommodation, TUCO and Campuslife/Studentcom. 

Following publication of the above shortlists, the winners will be chosen by a vote. For eight out of the nine categories, this will be decided by expert panels made up of partners in the sector. The Innovation in Student Experience award, one of the most popular categories amongst the membership, will be chosen by CUBO members. The winners will be revealed at the gala dinner and CUBO Awards ceremony on Wednesday 27 June at Manchester Metropolitan University. 

The awards are a central part of CUBO’s annual Summer Conference. During the three-day event the emphasis will be on learning how the principles of business agility can help the sector to thrive in an ever-changing landscape. There is a packed programme of activity, including an opportunity to learn from the students of tomorrow. Building Business Agility in an Uncertain World will provide an opportunity to explore collective and individual responses to the challenges and opportunities of this new agile world. 

Find out more about the CUBO Awards and Summer Conference at


New CUBO RA Awards 2018

This brand-new awards event recognises the work of Residence Assistants (RAs). RAs carry out essential work in developing a living and learning community. 
Winners of the RA Awards for Universities are:
 – Frederic Cryan, University of Exeter
 – Tom Weeks, Anglia Ruskin University
 – Jake Headland, University of Brighton
 – Molly Wooders, Bournemouth University
 – Milonee Ruparell, Kings College London
 – Deon Chorley, Royal Holloway
Winners of the RA Awards for Private Partners are:
 – Sasha Kaye, Campus Living Villages
 – Annie Wild, Fresh Student Living
The nominees for CUBO Residence Life Professional of the Year are:
 – Cheryl Hutton, University of Edinburgh
 – Sam Glyn Jones, Bournemouth University
 – Rebecca O’Hare, Campus Living Villages
 – Greg Pevy,University of Sheffield
 – Melissa Porter, University of Essex
 – Katie Urnevitch, University of Manchester
Congratulations to all of the above. The winner of the Residence Life Professional category will not be announced until the ACUHO-I Residence Life Masterclass in May.
The Masterclass will take place 8–9 May 2018 at Burleigh Court, Loughborough University. For more information and how to book your place contact:

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