Vice-Chancellor’s Social Impact Awards 2020/21
Cambridge Hub has organised the third edition of the Vice-Chancellor’s Social Impact Awards this year, with the kind support of the Vice-Chancellor’s Office.
This initiative to recognise outstanding students at the University of Cambridge is particularly close to our hearts at Cambridge Hub, as we are a focal point to support students to make positive social change happen, empowering them to become active citizens for life.
We have been amazed by the dedication and resilience of the students at the University of Cambridge who, throughout these challenging times, stayed committed to achieving outstanding social impact. All the nominees should be incredibly proud of their exceptional achievements and we would like to thank everyone who participated in this process.
This year we received 67 nominations and were truly impressed with all the submissions. Students came from a variety of courses and levels of study, and have been involved in a large range of social and environmental issues. Considering the number of nominations per study level, the judging panel had the challenging task of choosing 9 winners: 4 Undergraduate students, 1 Masters students and 4 PhD researchers.
The panel included four stakeholders representing the community, the University of Cambridge and organisations dedicated to supporting student social action:
- Dr Alison Wood, Academic Director, Homerton Changemakers
- Dr John Millington Munns, Fellow and Tutor of Magdalene College
- Mark Freeman, Chief Executive Officer, CCVS
- Sim Dhanjal, Chief Executive Officer, Student Hubs
We are truly grateful for their time in going through the fantastic nominations we received.
Although this year we were not able to organise the ceremony these awards deserve, due to the current circumstances prompted by the pandemic, we were very pleased to host a virtual meeting with the Vice-Chancellor, professor Stephen Toope, and the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education, professor Graham Virgo. At this meeting, the students had the opportunity to talk about their incredible experiences and how they have faced several challenges, presenting the amazing projects they were able to lead and collaborate with, inspiring their peers and having impact in the local community.
Below you can find the details and short bios of the talented students who were recognised this year for their impressive projects and exceptional achievements. Throughout the next couple of weeks we will be sharing their individual blogs, featuring their own views about their journeys and the reasons why they believe it is so important to engage with social and environmental causes whilst at university.
Areeg Emarah is a 4th-year Engineering student at Trinity College. Born in Egypt and raised in Kenya, she has been involved in numerous initiatives in the Cambridge community and beyond. She is Co-founder of the Cambridge University Women in Engineering Society; former Outreach Officer at May Week Alternative, an initiative that promotes charitable giving among Cambridge students; former Access Officer at the Cambridge University Engineering Society and the Cambridge Islamic Society, alongside numerous other roles within widening participation, student welfare and charitable giving. She is also a Beacon scholar, a leadership-scholarship programme that funds East African changemakers to study in the UK.
A final-year Law student at Corpus Christi, Natasha takes every opportunity to make a meaningful difference. Natasha is particularly proud to have founded a Book Campaign to send 2,000 children’s books to rural Nepali primary schools. With a strong sense of justice, Natasha has worked with Amicus to promote justice on death row, and Citizens Advice to provide local support. Working with Humanitarian Affairs Asia, Natasha is leading the inaugural Green Summit in Bangkok to raise awareness of climate issues at a global level. Natasha wants to teach inspiring young leaders that no one is too small to make a difference and empower them to take action.
Olivia Taylor is a finalist at Clare College studying Psychological and Behavioural Sciences. She is committed to aiding social mobility and educational attainment for the least advantaged children as well as showing a commitment to combating loneliness and mental ill-health during the Pandemic. Olivia has fulfilled many voluntary roles for Student Community Action including Project Leader for Bounce, a youth club for disadvantaged children; student mentor and a companion for an elderly lady in a care home. She is currently publicity officer on SCA’s Steering Committee.
Tse is a 3rd-year Manufacturing Engineering student at St. Catharine’s College. She is a powerhouse of innovation and creativity, having worked tirelessly for social and climate justice during her time at Cambridge. In addition to holding liberation roles on multiple committees, she has founded and spearheaded countless other initiatives. Two highlights are aim, an online platform dedicated to demystifying Cambridge life for people from minority ethnic groups and Cascade, a project which aims to make climate research more accessible, by combining it with behavioural science, to support people in forming sustainable habits.
Felix Reilly is an MPhil Development Studies student at Christ’s College. He is the founder and president of the university’s Enactus society, an international network supporting student-led social innovation. In its first year, the Cambridge branch has launched two award-winning social enterprise projects: the Renaissance Games (digital education) and E-Pals (addressing loneliness through tech). Both projects won funding from ASDA supermarket, SAP software and the Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation. Felix is Easter term co-president of CAMSED (the postgraduate network for Development Studies), and a Digital Verification Analyst with Amnesty International as part of the Cambridge Digital Verification Corps.
Charlie Barty-King is a highly motivated Wolfson College PhD student in Engineering, with extensive and varied experience across STEM, hospitality and social sectors. He has excellent administrative and communication skills and values being a net positive to those around him with kindness and honesty. He has contributed energetically to the students’ association and more recently in the founding of the open access Green Society of Wolfson College and launching of the college’s Sustainability and Conservation research Hub. He holds Masters in Chemistry and in Research (Ultra Precision), studies next generation sustainable materials and holds an NUS Green Impact Challenge Student Leadership Award.
Sheen Gurrib is Materials Science PhD student at Hughes Hall. She is a social entrepreneur, a life-science consultant, knowledge equity champion and a musculoskeletal expert with over 3 years’ experience in business development, market analysis, project management and leadership. She is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper and a TEDx speaker on girls access to education. Sheen is the co-founder of ReShape Co., co-founder of Project Access for Refugees, co-founder of the WOC Tribe and host of the podcast ‘Dream, Girl’.
Stuart Macpherson is a final year PhD student in Physics funded through an EPSRC studentship, at Darwin College. His research focuses on understanding the physics of emerging solar photovoltaic technologies. Stuart has co-developed the Primary School Energy Mapping Challenge aimed at 9–11 year olds. Through hands-on measurements and data logging, students increase their awareness about climate change and learn how to critically approach scientific problems and apply the knowledge gained to solve real-world problems. The project has already been piloted at 6 schools across the country, and is now scaling up further.
Will Moody is a third year PhD student in Tumour Immunology at Queen’s College. Will has a passion for taking climate action and inspiring others to do the same. This year, he founded the Cambridge Carbon Literacy project: a student-run climate education course which conveys the factual basis about the climate crisis as a method of empowering participants to take meaningful action. The course is available to all students and post-doctoral researchers at the university, thereby promoting action and increasing the accessibility of climate-related discussions university-wide. He has also developed youth climate policy with Cambridgeshire County Council, assisted with the delivery of the NHS green agenda in the East of England, and helped plan a College Green Week.