It has been a tough year for the student accommodation sector, but out of adversity comes opportunity. 

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If your team has had a stand-out year and risen to the challenges Covid-19 has thrown your way, then the time has come to put yourselves forward for Property Week’s Student Accommodation Awards 2021.

This year’s hybrid online and live event will celebrate the best of the best in student accommodation, from operators that supported residents through the isolation of lockdowns to the agencies that still pulled deals together in the harshest of economic climates.

Taking place on 8 December at the InterContinental London – the O2 after the Student Accommodation Conference, the Oscars of the student accommodation world are an opportunity to celebrate the sector’s many triumphs in the face of adversity.

After the Herculean lengths some PBSA operators have gone to, we are hoping for another record-breaking year for entries.

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One of four new categories being introduced this year will focus exclusively on responses to the Covid-19 crisis in the student accommodation sector. Who can forget the images of ‘Help Us. Send Beer’ messages on halls-of-residence windows or the 7ft-tall metal fencing supposedly erected to stop non-students getting in rather than prevent students getting out?

The Best Covid Response – Student Property award will recognise the businesses that responded the most swiftly and effectively to the challenges posed by the pandemic.

The second of the four new awards recognises another issue close to Property Week’s – and the industry’s – heart: the climate crisis.

The issue has rocketed to the top of the agenda for politicians, businesses and students alike ahead of the UN climate summit COP26 in Glasgow this November.

This year, to tie in with the second year of Property Week’s Climate Crisis Challenge, we will celebrate the businesses or individuals deemed to have introduced the best scheme, strategy or initiative to help to combat the climate crisis.

The third new category being introduced at this year’s Student Accommodation Awards will be the Health and Wellbeing Initiative – Student Property award. The isolating experience of Covid-19 shone a spotlight on the importance of mental health and wellbeing for students in particular, and this award will go to a trailblazing initiative, scheme or project that went the extra mile to raise the bar in this area.

The fourth and final addition to the awards line-up will recognise a business or individual that is giving back to the community they work in. Tied to Property Week’s role as media partner to LandAid and Newcore Capital’s Pro Bono Programme, the Social Impact Initiative Award will celebrate the best work being done in this space.

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The awards will also feature all the usual exciting categories, including agency, developer, UK and international operator of the year.

New entrants will be inducted into the Student Accommodation Hall of Fame, joining last year’s new members, Rebecca Hopewell of Fresh and Martin Blakey of Unipol.

As ever, the award entries will be scrutinised by a panel of leading industry experts from across the sector. This year’s list of judges has been bolstered with more c-suite leaders to ensure the winners are the best – but not necessarily the biggest – in their field.

The awards won’t be the only exciting event of the day, as the evening ceremony will follow the Student Accommodation Conference.

Getting the industry back together in the room for the first time, the must-attend conference will cover all the critical student accommodation issues and boast a stellar line-up of speakers debating the sector’s performance during Covid and its prospects beyond. With topics such as ESG, affordability and what students want on the agenda, this is a business-critical event for anyone working in and around student accommodation.

In-person and online event tickets are now available. The deadline for award entries is 3 September and the shortlist will be announced soon afterwards.