Two Fitzwilliam College students have been named as winners by the Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Toope for their efforts towards positive social change.
Andrea Kusec, PhD student in Medical Science at Fitzwilliam College, and Modern and Medieval Languages undergraduate Rensa Gaunt both won this year's Vice-Chancellor's Social Impact Awards.
The awards recognise the achievement of outstanding students at the University of Cambridge, who demonstrate exceptional commitment to improving society and the wider world.
Andrea was recognised for her work concerning volunteering at Addenbrooke’s to help people with brain injuries, organising fundraisers for the Epilepsy Society UK, as well as a silent auction and for being a consultant for a horticultural programme with Headway Cambridge.
Andrea said: “It is really humbling to be offered the Vice-Chancellor’s Social Impact Award and to be recognised alongside such inspiring students, including Rensa.
“I was surprised to be nominated and often feel that I get the most benefit out of my volunteering. I have epilepsy myself so the Purple Day fundraiser that I organised – where I was completely decked out in purple – was pretty personal to me.”
Rensa won the award for volunteering with organisations involved in disability activism, university access and post-access support, homelessness and immigration detention.
Rensa said: “I fundraised £700 for a vulnerable asylum seeker's medico-legal costs, and ran a training event at SOAS on post-detention support for asylum seekers. I also laundered 30 sleeping bags collected for homeless migrants in Calais, and ran two years of foodbank collections at Fitzwilliam College.”
She was also responsible for creating the CUSU Guide to Double Time (part time study for health reasons) and the DSC Accessibility Pledge, which around 30 student groups have signed up to.
The awards are run in collaboration with Cambridge Hub, a student-led group that offers practical volunteering, skilled placements, project incubation and events.
Rather than an in-person ceremony, Andrea and Rensa met with Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Toope virtually, alongside other award winners.