News Archive


Share  Tweet Tuesday 2nd April 2024

University Club of the Year Award Winner 2023: Cambridge University Orienteering Club

This year’s winner of British Orienteering’s University Club of the Year Award 2023 is Cambridge University Club.

The University Club of the Year Award recognises the efforts of University Clubs in the development of participants as well as coaches and volunteers. It also shows appreciation to the University for introducing and providing a gateway to orienteering to their students.

We want to extend our congratulations to the Club and below we share some of the comments included by their nominators. 

Cambridge University Orienteering Club

Cambridge University Orienteering Club have developed an exciting and very busy calendar of events and activities for their club members which has allowed them to thrive over the past year.

Critically, they have harnessed the skills of the volunteers within their club and encouraged them to use this to plan further events or take on new opportunities to coach.

Encouraging the development and progression of their members

At the heart of their activities and events is a Club that is passionate about creating an inclusive and fun environment for its members. Here are some of the ways in which they have achieved this:

• Hosting Club Night (training or MapRun league) every Wednesday during term time, which is organised jointly with local club West Anglian Orienteering Club (WAOC).

The Club Night training sessions have easy options and coaching is provided for beginners, with more challenging options for experienced orienteers. With that being said,  three linked ‘Fresher’ Club Night sessions and an introductory event resulted in more newcomers joining the club, all of whom were totally new to the sport of orienteering!

• Created inclusive and wholesome social events - pizza, pasta and pudding evenings after training for members.

• Developed a ‘Classroom’ session to prepare for BUCS and Varsity Terrain, making these two competitions less daunting for newcomers.

• Arrange car shares and lifts to local and regional Sunday events – taking the stress out of planning how to get to events and also helping the environment!

• Put together a 7-day Lake District Training Tour, which provided complex training on complicated terrain.

• Attended International trips to the European University Orienteering Championships in Switzerland (including three debuting at international level) & Czechia for Varsity (a team of 16 where CUOC won outright – women’s & men’s).

How the Club recruit, retain and reward volunteers

CUOC foster a positive volunteering culture.  The weekly sessions offer a chance for novices to develop planning and organisational skills, and from there go on to plan bigger events. Here are some examples of some of the events club members have planned or organised:

• Icenian Sprint Champs (Elite O League, UK Urban League)
300 competitors at this 2-part 2-assembly area sprint, with a real-time chasing start final, entirely organised & planned by undergraduate students. 50 students from 5 different unis competed in the English Unis O Champs, and 12 clubs in the Icenain Trophy competition. Plenty of positive reviews:      

• Sarah Pedley –Icenian Sprints Final
After her first planning experience with a CUOC MapRun in Michaelmas Term 2022, Sarah progressed to planning the excellent courses for the Icenian Sprints Final.

• Cambridge City Race 2023 - Dom Dakin & Matthew Dixon (planner and co-planner) alongside Felix Lunn who organised the event for the first time.

There were 390 entries for this SEOUL event. The club achieved the organisational feat of gaining permissions for 9 Colleges and 5 university sites. Facilities were thoughtfully offered to enable disabled competitors to take part, as well as delightful courses planned to offer an appropriate challenge to every class.

Developing coaching skills

Club member Dom Dakin completed his linked sessions for Level 2 Coaching Qualification at Club Nights and is now transferring those skills on. In addition to this,  Amy Lee Jones is also in the first year of beginning her linked sessions for Level 2, enabling them to both ultimately organise, deliver and monitor coaching sessions to newcomers and experienced orienteers alike as well as being able to mentor apprentice coaches.

Nine members of Cambridge University Orienteering Club also completed a first aid training course in 2023 and club member Tom Fryers has been using his advanced web development skills to modernise the website – a great example of harnessing the skills that volunteers have and developing their training and abilities further as individuals within the sport.

Congratulations Cambridge University Orienteering Club on winning their award!


It’s important to us, to recognise the other clubs who were nominated for the University Club of the Year Award 2023. Here they are, alongside some of the comments regarding their contributions over the past year.

Nominees for the University Club of the Year Award 2023

Aberdeen University Orienteering Club

“As a small and growing club, they held the Scottish Unis very successfully. They set an outstanding example of how to communicate between multiple local open clubs, SOA and the university clubs/ captains in a friendly and professional manner.  They currently have two new L1 coaches in the club. They will be hosting BUCS 2025 and are a humble university orienteering club to watch!”

Sheffield University Orienteering Club

“A club that is growing , getting results and people want to join. It’s hard being a university club or any orienteering club at the moment and they’ve put in the graft and a full committee of friendly welcoming open faces to get momentum and build a great community brand that’s on a journey. Very active , building great partnerships and an eye on the future.

Several members have helped out at the JROS camps, and they are taking great numbers to English university champs, BUCS and their Wales camp. Outstanding 650 followers on Instagram and great marketing.”

Stirling University Orienteering Club

“The club provides a warm and welcoming club environment, with a weekly activity programme during term time. They also hold regular socials to grow the community and friendly feel to the club and have developed a strong Instagram brand and presence.

STUOC has had plenty of success this last year, with the club placing overall 3rd university in Scotland and 12th in the UK at the 2023 university championships. Athlete development was also recognised on a national level as one of our newcomers won a development award at BUCS. The club will be hosting the Scottish Student Orienteering Championships in November 2024.”


Next up, we will be sharing details of the winner of the Coach of the Year Award 2023. Check our website or social media daily for the latest updates.