Graham Read
Graham Read

Six Oxford students receive Vice-Chancellor's Social Impact Awards

Six Oxford students have received Vice-Chancellor's Social Impact Awards on the day of Encaenia.

These annual awards recognise students who have demonstrated exceptional achievement in commitment to voluntary and charitable work, and social entrepreneurship. The awards are run in collaboration with the Oxford Hub, which coordinates a great deal of Oxford students’ activities in these areas.

This year's winners are Andrew Cunningham, Ramyia Elangovan, Madeleine Ellis-Petersen, Yashveer Singh, Nathaniel Ware and Ellie Watkins.

Andrew Cunningham is in the third year of his DPhil in Education at St Antony’s. His work has focused on improving the quality of education in Kenya, where he has spent several years living and working. Most recently he has worked with UNICEF and the Kenyan Ministry of Education on a child-friendly education system for that country.

Ramyia Elangovan is studying medicine at Oriel College. She has been involved in an amazingly wide range of projects, including Magic Beans, which provides magic performances for children in hospital; the Mountain Trust, improving health, education, and human rights in Nepal; and the Oxfordshire branch of Sexpressions UK, helping young people in Oxford understand their relationships and sexuality.

Madeleine Ellis-Petersen is reading History at Magdalen College, and she founded and runs the Hog Roast café at Hogacre Common, turning previously unused space into a vibrant community centre that acts as a hub to local families and students alike. She is also the coordinator of OxGrow, which manages the garden at the centre.

Yashveer Singh is studying for an MBA at St Hugh’s and the SBS. At his university in India he started development projects to help economically challenged communities, and also started the National Social Entrepreneurship Forum to promote and democratise social innovation among young people in India. The NSEF’s activities now involve over twenty thousand students and 40 Indian universities. Yashveer has been active in Oxford in conceptualising and launching a large number of social impact programmes.

Nathaniel Ware is at Magdalen, researching for a DPhil in International Development. He is the founder of the world’s largest university-based volunteering consulting organisation, called 180 Degrees. It has 1,800 volunteers in 19 countries. This year it will provide almost one million hours of volunteer consulting to non-profit organisations all around the world.

Ellie Watkins is in her third year of a DPhil in Zoology at Merton College. She has been volunteering for Education Partnerships Africa for five years, both in the UK and in Kenya. EP Africa is a UK charity and an East African NGO which works to improve the quality of secondary education in rural Kenya and Uganda. Elli has also worked for a charity in Ecuador, aiming to relieve the plight of child labourers there, and at the Food Animal Initiative in Oxford, providing outreach activities for schools and special needs groups.

Picture credit: Graham Read, Oxford Hub