Welsh learner goes that extra mile
New Welsh learner Lauren Evans will be rewarded for her hard work today (18 July) when she is presented with her first class honours BA Welsh Degree at the Swansea University degree and award ceremony at the Great Hall. Bay Campus.
Lauren, aged 22 from Briton Ferry, Neath, is a perfect example of a student who has developed in terms of language ability and confidence by making the most of every opportunity presented to her by being proud of her language, promoting the language and more importantly encouraging others to do the same.
While her mastery of language development has been tremendous and consistent with upper class marks, Lauren’s contribution to extracurricular activities both with Academi Hywel Teifi, the Students’ Union and the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol Branch have been noteworthy.
During the summer holidays in 2015 Lauren gained work experience for a month with Academi Hywel Teifi through the SPIN scheme where she developed as a valuable member of the team and her promotional and marketing contribution to Welsh medium provision was invaluable in acting as a bridge between the academic and administrative staff and students.
In addition, Lauren attended the Eisteddfod for a week to work on a voluntary basis in order to assist in the promotion and marketing of Welsh medium provision for Swansea University. Lauren volunteered for this as she knew this would give her an opportunity to use and practice her Welsh significantly during the summer vacation, and she hails from non-Welsh home.
Over the past two years Lauren has worked as an ambassador for the Reaching Wider division Swansea University using her skills to conduct campus tours through Welsh during open days, visiting afternoons and any other activities that include Welsh medium prospective students.
During her time studying, Lauren has also acted as a mentor to students of lower years, by generously providing advice and support to those who wished, in an educational context or personal. Her amiable personality and patience has ensured that she is one that fellow students were very willing to turn to and that had considerable respect towards.
Lauren has been an active member of the Welsh Society since she registered with the University attending social events and has great pride in the opportunities to socialise through the medium of Welsh with fellow students.
This year she was elected as the Welsh Affairs Officer for the Students’ Union. A voluntary part-time job that she must be congratulated for the significant contribution she has done while in post. She has managed to hold social events on both campuses of the University, to raise awareness of Welsh among the wider student body, and create a visual association of Welsh medium students.
The St. David's day highly successful activity organised this year on behalf of the Student Union, ensuring a marked increase in awareness with students and staff of non-Welsh speaking Welsh language and culture and to give further impetus to Welsh speakers assert their culture and highlight their skills in language. Lauren was nominated for a DARO award this year for the best organised cultural event for students. An award that was highly deserved.
Lauren has also worked relentlessly alongside the Welsh medium recruitment officer to achieve better Welsh medium student accommodation and to develop the current Welsh medium accommodation policy for the University. Lauren was also nominated as President of the Swansea University Student Branch Forum and has worked very closely with the Branch Officer to develop the Welsh medium agenda and activities of the Forum by coordinating and organizing meetings and forums, managed to create and maintain momentum and enthusiasm for students mission and objectives of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol.
Lauren’s leadership through the Student Forum has established a working Swansea Branch committee that has proceeded to establish Welsh medium Sports Club for women (and men to supplement the one established last year by the GymGym) but, more importantly, it has communicated to the Welsh medium student, how important it is to speak out for the Welsh language, and to demand more from the University and the students' Union in terms of Welsh medium education and extracurricular opportunities.
Lauren is currently working on a work placement with Academi Hywel Teifi through the University’s SPIN scheme at Tŷ’r Gwrhyd a Welsh Centre in Pontardawe where she is developing her skills further.
Swansea University has not had a better servant or ambassador for the Welsh language among its students before than Lauren Evans.
Speaking of her time at Swansea University Lauren said: “I'm so grateful of all of the opportunities that I've had to use the Welsh language during the last four years. Every single one of these opportunities has allowed me to develop my language and employability skills.
“Before I started my BA Welsh degree, I never imagined that I'd be able to speak the language fluently by the end. However, with the support and encouragement from the staff at Academi Hywel Teifi, Swansea Students' Union and other students at the University, anything is possible! “