About the awards

To meet the diverse needs of the UCD student population, UCD offers two different but complementary co-curricular skills awards. Both awards seek to acknowledge the value of co-curricular engagement at an individual, university and societal level and to promote citizenship by encouraging students to make a positive contribution within UCD and the wider community.

The UCD Embark Award is aimed at first year undergraduate students and is focused on promoting and encouraging engagement with UCD life, with a view to easing students’ transition to university, creating a sense of community and highlighting the importance of engagement in co-curricular activity as a means of developing employability skills.

The UCD Advantage Award is aimed at post- first year students and its purpose is to formally recognise the skills, knowledge and experience that UCD students gain through participation in co-curricular activity, on and off campus. Through participation in the award, students’ will increase their self-awareness, self-efficacy and self-confidence and develop skills and attributes required for success in the workplace and life beyond university.

Both the UCD Embark Award and the UCD Advantage Award are based around four key themes, aligned with UCD’s strategic objectives and reflective of UCD’s values. The themes also take into account the skills and attributes required for success in the graduate employment market.

Theme 1: Personal and Professional Development

This theme reflects the role that co-curricular activities play in a student’s development of the skills and attributes required to flourish at and beyond university, for example self-awareness, emotional intelligence, leadership, teamwork, communication etc. Graduate employers seek students who have sought opportunities to develop themselves and demonstrate the skills required for success in the workplace.

Theme 2: UCD and the Wider Community

This theme reflects the role that co-curricular activity can play in enabling students to engage with the UCD community and beyond, with a view to fostering a sense of inclusion and also encouraging students to contribute to the development of their communities. This could be through voluntary work or taking on peer support roles (e.g. Class Rep., Peer Mentor, Residences Assistant, Access Leader, Orientation Guide etc.). This theme addresses two of UCD’s strategic objectives:

•    Objective 6: Build our engagement locally, nationally and internationally
•    Objective 7: Develop and strengthen our University community.

Theme 3: Cultural Engagement

This theme is about engaging with local, national and international culture. It aligns with the value that UCD places on diversity and links to UCD’s major strategic initiative “Engaging Globally”. It incorporates the activities that students engage in that give them an insight into other cultures and perspectives, for example volunteering overseas, learning a language or contributing to events that promote diversity and inclusion.

Theme 4: Health & Well-being

UCD has a proud sporting heritage and as a university competes across a wide range of disciplines at national and international level. This theme addresses the many pursuits that students engage in that contribute toward physical and mental well-being. This could range from involvement in one of UCD’s many sports clubs, contributing to campaigns aimed at improving mental health or participating in UCD’s Green Campus initiative.