Awards for top student volunteers

Seven Oxford students have received Vice-Chancellor's Civic Awards in a ceremony at which Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was also presented with the Freedom of the City of Oxford.

The awards recognise students who have demonstrated exceptional achievement in and commitment to volunteering. The Vice-Chancellor's Civic Awards recognise and promote the positive impact of Oxford students on the local, national, and international community.

Professor Andrew Hamilton, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: 'It is my great pleasure to present awards to seven students who have made a special contribution as volunteers - and in some cases not just as volunteers but as founders of new voluntary organisations.'

The seven students are Alice Mount, Tom Martin, Stuart Williams, William Crouch, Joy O’Neill, Jennifer Star and Michael Wilkerson. The students had the chance to speak to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Alice Mount, Tom Martin and Stuart Williams, all undergraduates at Wadham College, were honoured for founding Kids Adventure, a student-led charity which runs activity days for children from disadvantaged and underprivileged backgrounds. Kids Adventure helps children identified by social services as in need of one-to-one adult attention. The charity hopes that one-to-one contact gives children the opportunity to have fun, improves their social skills and self-esteem, raises future aspirations, and gives parents or guardians a break from childcare.

William Crouch, a philosophy graduate student at St Anne's College, won an award for co-founding two organisations, Giving What We Can and 80,000 hours. Giving What We Can encourages individuals to pledge at least 10% of their earnings to the causes that most effectively fight global poverty.

Joy O’Neill, who is studying for an MsC in learning and teaching at Kellogg College, founded the Service Children Support Network, a not for profit social enterprise which works with schools, education, health and welfare professionals and military charities to support children whose parents are in military service.

Jennifer Star, a graduate student at Linacre College, founded an international NGO, Tara.Ed, at the age of 20. Tara.Ed reaches out to over 100 teachers and 2,500 underprivileged children in rural and remote areas of India, focusing on teachers to promote quality and sustainability in education. Her research at Oxford will inform the work of Tara.Ed as she is studying the quality of teaching in rural India.

Michael Wilkerson, a politics graduate student at New College, has worked as a journalist to fight corruption and promote human rights and his most recent project has been to co-found Own Your Own Boda, a social enterprise in Uganda which provides loans for motorcycle taxi drivers to help them own their own motorcycles, accumulate capital, and build financial independence.