GCU Student opens up on Common Good Award success

Mon, 26 Apr 2021 16:19:00 BST
Joe's overall award and four certificates sit proudly in his bedroom
Joe's overall award and four certificates sit proudly in his bedroom

A Paramedic Science student is celebrating after finally getting his hands on the GCU Common Good Award. 

Joe Lynch, who’s due to graduate in the coming months, completed the award during his first year but had to wait to receive it as a result of the pandemic. 

The Common Good Award is a skills and personal development award which aims to encourage, support and reward students who are engaged in community and extra-curricular activity aligned to the Common Good. 

Joe explained his volunteering journey and what appealed to him about getting involved. 

He said: “For about seven years, I was a volunteer with St Andrew’s First AidI originally started it as a hobby but I had a great mentor when I was involved with their Youth Group. From there I just climbed the ladder within the organisation. I was a first aider and then went on to be team leader and dispatcher at big events.  

Over the last three years I’ve also been working at Glasgow Safe Zone, which is run by the Street Pastors and Police Scotland. Before coronavirus, we were operating between 10pm and 4am on weekends and provided a safe space for people who were lost or intoxicated during a night out. It took the pressure off services because a lot of the individuals had minor injuries and it meant they didn’t have to go to hospital. 

Joe added: “When I started at GCU, I was looking for things to do outside of the actual coursework and the Common Good Award jumped out at me. It really matched the stuff I do in my spare time, so I just decided to give it a go and viewed it as something that would help with my CV too. 

After receiving the application pack, Joe simply had to pair up his volunteering hours with the four ‘Common Good Attributes’; Confidence, Active and Global Citizenship, Responsible Leadership and Entrepreneurial Mind-set. 

All four certificates and the overall award now hang proudly in his bedroom but it was a long journey for him to claim what was rightfully his. Thankfully, GCU Work Experience Hub Manager and Common Good Award lead, Frank Brown came to the rescue. 

Joe explained: “Frank runs it and he’s been absolutely fantastic throughout the whole process. The reason I never picked it up earlier was because we were keen to have an actual awards ceremony in-person but it’s nice to finally get that hard copy – a big thanks to Frank for sending it on!” 

He added: “Going to University was a big achievement for me – I had originally been considering going down the vocational route, learning via the ambulance service. It just so happened that the undergraduate programme started at GCU and I just thought I’ve got the grades, so I may as well give this a go 

To get an award signed by Professor Pamela Gillies was a massive bonus for me. I felt proud that the work I’d done had contributed to the community and also been recognised – it was just really nice.” 

With sights now firmly set on entering the world of work, Joe is also thankful for his overall time spent at GCU and keen to encourage others to get involved in the Common Good Award. 

He said: “Quite a few people have spoken to me about doing the award and aren’t aware they’re actually doing the work through volunteering or community-based activities that they’re already involved in. It’s easy to take part and I really couldn’t recommend it enough!” 

Joe added: “I’ve honestly loved my time at GCU. It’s a lovely campus and I’ve genuinely not met a nasty person! Everyone is very professional and looking to get somewhere in life and their career.  

The facilities, teaching staff and all the other support staff are great, I just think it’s been a fantastic experience. Socially I’ve met some of my best friends and had the chance to take part in some amazing opportunities. I think GCU has a really good name across the world and it’s nice to be able to represent that name in future.” 


Find out more about some other award winners and their Common Good stories. 

By Ross Clark  
Got an SHLS or GSBS story? Email me at or message me on Twitter