2022-23 Changemaker Award recipients
We're delighted to recognise inspirational staff and student Changemakers that have made a positive impact through their socially responsible and sustainable projects and by encouraging others.
The Changemaker Award recognises current students and staff who have made a noticeable positive impact by:
undertaking an impactful socially responsible or sustainable project;
or by inspiring others to act in a more socially responsible or sustainable way.
32 University staff, students, societies and groups have received this award in 2022-23, with a further two societies and networks receiving highly commended recognition.
Find out about their inspiring actions below.
Agata has championed sustainability efforts within the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology whilst supporting others to make positive impacts of their own. She brought together 17 lab groups to jointly work towards a Lab Award, and formed a Sustainability Committee for the Swann Building.
Denise is a committed advocate for sustainability in Edinburgh Clinical Trials Unit (ECTU). She has worked to evaluate and help develop a tool for measuring the carbon footprint of clinical trials, and supported colleagues to take positive sustainability action, for example by cycling to work.
Katia has shown extraordinary effort to support displaced Ukrainians, volunteering time and resources to help create a caring community.
She has championed children’s education, recruiting and coordinating 10 student volunteers to provide music lessons and English for speakers of foreign language support to nine Ukrainian children from April to June 2022. From June to August she secured funding for 12 Ukrainian children to join a local community-based summer camp at Currie Community Centre.
Inga has shown exceptional dedication to helping displaced Ukrainians feel welcome and supported in Edinburgh.
In her role as a Global Community coordinator Inga coordinated communication with Ukrainian and Russian students and staff on behalf of the University. In partnership with the University Chaplaincy she co-chaired support sessions for Ukrainian, Russian and Polish/Baltic States staff affected by the conflict.
From supporting refugees to navigate bureaucratic processes, to distributing essential items such as SIM-cards, baby equipment and books, Inga has worked tirelessly to help integrate displaced persons into the Edinburgh community.
In her role as the Student Association’s current Vice President for Community, Isi has demonstrated exceptional commitment to embedding sustainability within the Students’ Association, and for supporting colleagues, students and societies to make positive impacts of their own.
Restarting the Students’ Association’s Sustainability committee to integrate sustainable practice and innovation across the organisation,
Organising the first ever Sustainable Action Week,
Establishing a Student Sustainability Forum to engage students with campaigns, action and practical support around Sustainability issues,
Responding to Cost of Living crisis in the student community
Lobbying the Scottish Government to make all public transport in Scotland more affordable for all students in the country.
In her role at Edinburgh Earth Initiative, Izi relentlessly pursues every opportunity available to act on the climate crisis whilst tirelessly supporting and inspiring others to do the same. This exceptional effort expands far beyond her working hours and contracted role. Outside work Izi leads, organises and learns sustainable practice and climate action with young people from across the UK, including being an active member of 2050 Climate Groups, Young Leaders Development Programme.
James is a curator at the University's Talbot Rice Gallery. He has demonstrated dedication and efforts to make the Talbot Rice Gallery more accessible to the local community and your continued focus on building partnerships.
In 2022, Talbot Rice mentored and hosted members of Crisis Scotland, nearby schools and a band composed of musicians and asylum seekers, Musicians in Exile.
Jonathan's contributions to making the University a better place for LGBTQ+ people are the very definition of going above and beyond. As a tireless activist and an invaluable ally, he has consistently demonstrated exceptional leadership in his work for the Staff Pride Network. As Social & Events Co-Officer for the Network he ensures that events are as accessible, engaging and impactful as possible.
Mitchell is a lead sustainability champion within the School of Informatics. He has dedicated his time to ensure the effective reuse and recycling of equipment (collaborating with Edinburgh Remakery) and in doing so has inspired others to take positive action.
Neil has played a key role in improving sustainability within the Centre for Cardiovascular Science. Thanks to his efforts the Centre has achieved energy savings and a reduction in carbon emissions through ULT freezer management following a successful University Sustainable Campus Fund applications for eight energy efficient freezers.
Peter has shown exceptional commitment to improving the sustainability of the Centre for Open Learning, and wider academic world.
Peter has been active in working towards a more sustainable community. He introduced and coordinates the recycling of stationery items at Paterson's Land and regularly promotes sustainability-related events on the staff Teams channel, including The Big Plastic Count, Carbon Literacy Training and the Sustainability at Home Awards.
Sandy has provided exceptional strategic leadership for Climate Responsibility and Sustainability at the University, in addition to inspiring staff and students through their learning and teaching.
the establishment of the Edinburgh Earth Initiative;
the launch of our carbon sequestration scheme;
and most recently, the QS sustainability rankings which saw the University ranked 4th in the world and top in Europe.
College, Schools and Departments
Expanding the scope and impact of the Materials Hub, and supporting students and staff at the Edinburgh College of Art to reuse more resources and embrace circular economy principles.
The Online Course Production Service has increased the accessibility of educational materials, offering opportunities for individuals to learn about issues such as climate change.
During 2022 the Online Course Production Service, worked together with the Open Educational Resources (OER) Service to ensure the sustainability of high-quality media resources, by adding them to our Open Media Bank on Media Hopper Create to make them freely available to the world.
Colleagues Rosa Santomartino, Patricia Gonzalez, Tracy Scott and Neil Corsie have been awarded for their commitment to establishing the JCMB Biolab Sustainability group.
Actions performed so far include:
Providing comprehensive training of disposing of laboratory waste,
Establishing of recycling bins in each laboratory & reduction of single-use plastic,
Implementing energy-saving initiatives.
Efforts to improve the energy efficiency of Firbush and reduce environmentally harmful chemical use.
The Sport & Exercise team provided session to local children to widen participation. The programme gave University students the opportunity to coach and engage with young people from areas of deprivation. Sport & Exercise also ran a small number of free climbing sessions for the local charity Edinburgh Young Carers.
Championed by Chris McIntosh and Cameron Ritchie.
Textiles at ECA have been working to embed sustainability within the curriculum, and supported students to develop sustainability skills for the future and their careers.
Second year undergraduate students created Zero-Waste fashion garments,
Third year undergraduate students have engaged with regenerative materials and plant-based colour to support the creation of their natural dye garden on the ECA campus.
Fourth year undergraduate students currently consider sustainability and community at the forefront of their own personal design collections.
The Binks Hub uses art, crafts, and creative activities to investigate how to tackle the issues that matter most to people, driving real-world, positive change.
The Hub, which has been running for over a year, has collaborated with over 20 community organisations, helping them to secure funding, train volunteer citizen researchers, develop research proposals, collaborate on research projects, and disseminate their research and other activities.
The dedicated team of volunteers, led by Fiona Boyle and Sandra Kinnear, helped reduce waste by running end of year collections at University accommodation and a FreeShop for students.
The volunteers also set up supporting collections for those impacted by the war in Ukraine. A total of half a tonne of collected goods were passed to Re-Act for transport to Ukraine.
Cairo has demonstrated exceptional efforts to raise awareness and inspire action on the issues impacting soil health.
From instigating and carrying out Introduction to Soils Workshops for 15 students and staff across all disciplines, to providing hands-on connection with soils, increase soil literacy, and raise awareness about the diversity of soils and soil organisms, they have dedicated their time and efforts to contribute towards human well-being and the restoration of our natural world.
The workshops took place at Magdalene College, Cambridge to celebrate UN World Soil Day in December 2022.
Expanding and increasing the impacts of their water purification project in Harare, Zimbabwe, ChenChen Zha has worked to reduce social inequalities in the region.
Their project offers a water purification strategy which is to utilise moringa seeds and banana peels to remove the heavy metals and bacteria in water. In the past year, the project has supported forty households in accessing clean water sanitation.
Issy has shown exceptional co-leadership of Sanitree, a social enterprise under Enactus which tackles period poverty, period stigma and plastic waste through reusable pads. Their leadership has tackled gender inequality by raising awareness and inspiring positive action in others.
Lucien has learnt from his own sustainability journey and aims to take action to inspire and support others to make positive change of their own. By leading by example, he has inspired Structural Engineering and Architecture peers to consider the importance of incorporating a sustainable outlook into engineering and architecture.
Respect has shown exceptional dedication to developing the impact of the Centre for Agro-entrepreneurship and Sustainable Livelihood Trust, a community-based youth organisation working to reduce social inequalities and improve resilience to the impacts of climate change.
Mastercard Foundation Scholar Seiba founded the Bimbilla EduSpots Project, an initiative aiming to reduce social inequalities and increase access to education in Northern Ghana. The literacy-focused social enterprise offers access to books and learning resources to disadvantaged students and has grown in scale and impact under Seiba’s leadership.
Syaqif volunteered as part of the Dumbiedykes Digital Inclusion project being undertaken in partnership between the University, the Greyfriars Charteris Centre and the Crannie community centre. His dedication and efforts helped bring positive benefits to the local community.
Yashasvi is the President of Hands-On!, a society that has grown to include 65 members in just a year and a half, encompassing every discipline of STEM at the university. Hands-On aims to empower university students to actively inspire the next generation to pursue STEM degrees, specifically by making subjects more accessible and less intimidating through hands-on workshops.
Hands-On! empower University students to actively help inspire the next generation to pursue STEM degrees; specifically, by making it more accessible and less intimidating through hands-on workshops.
Hands-On! helps to develop the skills and knowledge necessary for students to become responsible and engaged citizens with emphasis on collaboration, inclusion, and diversity.
Sanitree, is a social enterprise under Enactus which tackles period poverty, period stigma and plastic waste through producing reusable, biodegradable sanitary pads. Over the last year they have raised over £10,000 to finance the project, which includes the Her Shakti Centre in Jaipur where the pads are made by vulnerable women in a safe environment. They promote skill-sharing between the employees and provide holistic support, including childcare and enrichment workshops.
In Edinburgh they have donated pads to a charity supporting refugees and run de-stigmatising writing workshops. Sanitree has also worked with other student organisations to promote intersection messages, for example with CERT, which addresses sexual health education and support.
The Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA) Climate Action Network is an enthusiastic and proactive group of staff and students passionate about sustainability and climate action. The network has facilitated conversations on the impact of built environment on climate change.