Sustainability and Urban Planning students recognised as semester begins

With the beginning of a new semester and a new year, students of the Sustainability and Urban Planning program could finally gather on campus to celebrate their achievements and look ahead to the new year.

The welcome and awards event held yesterday presented an opportunity for current students and recent graduates to meet and mingle with industry professionals, teaching staff and each other. It was also an opportunity to recognise the achievements of graduates.

The highest-achieving students from across the bachelor and master degrees in the program were awarded certificates, with three finacial prizes for academic excellence and contribution to student life.

The Robert Ritchie prize was awarded to Gabrielle Lethlean and Jessica Campbell, graduates of the Bachelor of Environment and Society. The prize recognises excellence among environment students in their final year projects – showing their capacity to synthesise learning throughout their degree, their passion for making change happen, and their understanding of the needs of communities and industry.

Robert Ritchie prize-winners Gabrielle Lethlean and Jessica Campbell

The David Turnbull Memorial Prize was awarded for the first time this year. The new prize, which recognises excellent students graduating from the Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning, was established by Chris de Silva of Mesh Planning, with philanthropic donations from a number of local councils, businesses and other organisations, as well as David’s family. The prize not only recognises the legacy of planner (and RMIT alumni) David Turnbull, but also the importance of engaging with planning students and new graduates. The award was presented, after a moving speech, by David’s wife (and fellow planner) Suzane Becker, to graduates Joel Torresi and Rebecca Tang.

Winners of the David Turnbull Memorial Prize, Joel Torresi and Rebecca Tang, with Suzane Becker and Chris de Silva

The final prize, sponsored by Ethos Urban, was awarded to graduate of the Master of Urban Planning and Environment, Alexia Yacoubian.

Ethos Urban Director of Planning, Tim Peggie, described how pleased he was that Ethos Urban was sponsoring the prize,“I’ve had the opportunity to be involved with RMIT for over 10 years with my membership and role on the RMIT Planning Industry and Advisory Committee,” Tim said, “I think it’s imperative that Industry engages with and acknowledges the role of institutions like RMIT in their pursuit of excellence in the area of Urban Planning and Environment and the important role that RMIT has in educating and preparing our next industry leaders for their future careers”.

Ethos Urban Graduate Prize winner Alexia Yacoubian (centre) with Ethos Urban’s Paul Beatty (L) and Tim Peggie (R).

Additional sponsorship for the event came from Tract Consultants.

Hopefully just the first of many in-person events for the year!

Story by Jenny Lucy