I walked up to the grand entrance of the Hubb in Edinburgh, the enormous glass doors were held open by two beautifully dressed gents in their penguin tailed suits. The hallway ahead of me was lit up with the most stunning colour yellow that hit off each stone on the walls in such a way that made you think 'wow!' There were big church windows in the reception room that really finished off the setting for such a perfect evening. 
I had arrived... I was at the Collaborative awards for teaching excellence. 
I received the email for these awards a couple of months back now. Myself and three other students had been invited to this amazing event; train and hotel all paid for by Birmingham City university (BCU). As a student you just don't get this opportunity and for me personally, this was a great honour. The fact that my university had chosen students to take to these awards was fantastic to me. As a mature student who has a desire to help other students it was incredible to see and the invite to the awards just shows how much BCU value their students. Not only the university, but the Higher Education Academy have really shown how much they value student’s by authorising the extra tickets for us to attend the awards. This shows me that their visions and values have students at the front of their minds. I just think it was absolutely marvellous to be included as part of such a prestigious evening. 
During the evening we all had been allocated tables to sit for our evening meal. As I looked around the room and saw all these amazing universities coming together for such an astonishing event, I felt proud. Proud to be part of this. I was so honoured and privileged that I had been chosen to attend, and I felt valued as a student. I felt part of the BCU family, where the wall between the student and the lecturer is broken down and turned into a stepping stone collaboration. A collaboration which we learn from one another and input it to become the best version of ourselves. I felt part of the team and a real community of teaching excellence. 
As a result, I am much more motivated, and I have been so inspired by those around me. They have inspired me to want to give back to students once I qualify. I would love to make a difference to students just as the lecturers have made a difference to my life. 
For me, and talking with the other students who attended, we all said the same thing: 
We all had a sense of belonging and of high importance. 
I feel that every university should invite a selected few students to take to these events. Giving the students something back can break down any potential barriers of the ‘student versus lecturer.’ Make the student’s feel like I have felt for one night and give them a feeling of pride. 
Claire Carmichael – Adult Nursing Student (Birmingham City University) 
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