Fiona exemplifies an internationalist mind-set, using her language studies to positively impact the lives of others, from local primary schools to the Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre.
Fiona recognised that as well as hugely benefiting the people whom she volunteered to help, she could also enhance her studies and that this would be a motivation for others.
Through her innovative thinking, a partnership was struck with the Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre. This has now become one of the official partners for a 10-week module offered by the Department of Education where students are placed in an educational institution to gain teaching experience. A two-term module that is about to be introduced will likewise benefit from this institutionalised student commitment. Fiona is currently developing plans to set up a similar arrangement with the Centre for Applied Linguistics, further broadening the support basis for the Refugee Centre, as well as expanding skills development opportunities for Warwick students, and contributing to the University’s integration into the local community.
She initiated, raised funds for and co-ran a wellbeing event in the School of Modern Languages, organised a singing event to welcome freshers, contributed to video material on the School’s information websites for prospective students, and held an Erasmus evening to welcome visiting students to the School and facilitate contacts and integration between them and our local student community.
Fiona is a proud ambassador for disabled students, as a hard of hearing person herself she is keenly aware that not all disabilities are visible and advocates and raises awareness for Students with disabilities.
Yun Shek Neville Lai was recognised as a Ones-to-Watch 2018 by Freshminds Talent to recognise him being an exceptional future leader. He is a global citizen, multilingual and constantly pushes the limit of internationalisation. As an international student, he always makes friends outside of his comfort zone and uses the skill to foster integration at Warwick. He helped passionately at Warwick International Orientation and was a Team Leader for Welcome Warwick.
He was selected as a World at Warwick Ambassador, where he promotes intercultural mixing of students. His other passion is Global History. He publishes about the reawakening of Asia at Warwick Globalist, which is novel and influential. He reviews voluntarily a PAIS module (International Security), under the liberalisation movement, to increase inclusiveness and diversity in academia. He publishes writings outside Warwick on newspaper such as SCMP on unconventional topics. Throughout the four years, he has spent time in Indonesia, China, France, UK and South Africa to live, volunteer and work. He has contributed substantially to citizenship due to his passion for International Development.
He consulted a number of non-governmental organisations in Kenya and Guatemala. He also taught over 300 students Maths and English in China and South Africa taking part with the Warwick in Africa Programme.
Yun Shek Neville Lai is an exceptional entrepreneur for social innovation. He has gone to Indonesia to learn about start-up, bringing entrepreneurship to development. He took part in Enactus' Project Baala as Finance Lead, a project for female empowerment. The taboo and lack of hygienic products on menstruation have led to high absence rate in schools and the project will expand on menstruation education in Pakistan and Ghana, supplying reusable and sustainable sanitary pads and running workshops in villages. He involved in capacity building and traction of the project. While it only started last year, it has attracted partnerships with UN Women Pakistan and Engro Foundation. The project is running its pilot scheme this summer which expects to benefit between 1000 and 2000 girls.
Yun Shek Neville Lai combines sustainable development and education with an innovative social enterprising mind-set to create solutions to some of the problems facing the world today and we wish him every success in these endeavours in the future.
Yemi is a true tour de force – a well-known and popular student, he has galvanised his peers to achieve remarkable things not just for themselves but for future generations through support for Project Access, which aims to reduce under representation in Universities.
Elected President of Warwick Entrepreneurs (largest entrepreneurial society at Warwick +800 members). Last year they raised the most Sponsorship in the society's history, doubling revenue to £7000.
Yemi founded Project Access' Midlands Hub & Warwick Campus Project Access, an award-winning non-profit ed-Tech social enterprise that fights inequality in higher education through harnessing student-led mentorship to widen access to the world's best universities for disadvantaged students, with +3000 mentors globally active in 20 Universities, with Campus Team members working in +20 countries.
Project access is currently building a community of passionate, entrepreneurial students to mobilise to create systemic change in the access sphere by redefining equality of educational opportunity by levelling the admissions playing field regardless of factors such as race, gender or income.
Yemi coordinated the largest UK student Apprentice Challenge, drawing 250 competing participants, a 25% increase on 2018 turnout levels. He has held 20 events (including five inaugural collaborations such as the first Social Enterprise Fest with Socio-Economic Engagement and Development (SEED) Warwick on campus, speaker series with Warwick Africa Summit, Warwick Emerging Markets Society, Warwick International Development Society (WIDS), Warwick Finance Societies (WFS) and Warwick Law Society).
Yemi is an active member of numerous societies and the debating team and gives all of his activities 100% dedication and energy.
Amber gives up so much of her time which, whilst studying hard for her BA in English Literature with Intercalated Year.
This ranges from volunteering in the community, including schools, night shelters and Citizen’s Advice Bureau to setting up Hip Hop to Help – a social intuitive which uses free dance classes for good.
Amber's contributions to both the university and the local area more generally -- are, frankly, extraordinary. The list speaks for itself: alongside working as a tutor in Coventry schools, often with material of her own design (St. Patrick's Primary School and Finham Primary School), she has also been a long-term volunteer with three local organisations: LWS Nightshelter in Leamington Spa, Coventry Foodbank, and Coventry Citizens Advice Bureau. Her charitable work has seen her raise £900 for Children in Need with raffles and sports days, and £1760 for Mental Health UK. Amber has served as head coach of the hip hop squad for Warwick Devils Cheerleading and Gymnastics, winning three national 1st place titles for the University.
Amber has also given many hours of her time and talents to set up the 'Hip Hop to Help' scheme. Amber's free dance classes have been a transformative intervention for the many people, of all social backgrounds and ages, who have attended, raising hundreds of pounds for homeless communities in the process. Initially funding the studio space out of her own pocket, she has recently been the recipient of a Lord Rootes Memorial Fund award, allowing her to continue her vitally important work and expanding the scheme even further. Off her own back, Amber has become an important ambassador for Warwick's commitment to regional engagement, and through sheer hard work and selfless commitment this has become a burgeoning social enterprise scheme.
This is all given a poignant context by the fact that since a young age, Amber has been a carer for her disabled mother. Through these experience, her sincere commitment to charitable work and social justice has been sparked. For Amber, this range of altruistic activity has a highly personal meaning.
Tabitha was nominated for her outstanding contribution to raising awareness and educating young people about sex and relationships.
Sexpression Warwick is a branch of a national charity that aims to challenge taboos in society and improve the quality of Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) in local schools. Tabitha set up the society and during her year abroad recognised the importance of the work Sexpression does and started fighting to keep the society open from the other side of the world. Not only did she manage to keep the society open, this year it has flourished. Sexpression, and Tabitha, have delivered RSE sessions in several local schools across the year.
As a result of her hard work, the society will continue to flourish in future years. Not only has she created a committed group of first year volunteers, three of Sexpression Warwick’s members have been elected to the National Committee responsible for running Sexpression: UK nationwide. Tabitha has also worked closely with the University and the SU to support projects such as Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week. This work has been of particular significance given recent issues at the University.
Hannah Zara Adil Abdel-Had - BASC Politics, International Studies and Global Sustainable Development (Global Sustainable Development) &
Liam Shah, BASC Economic Studies and Global Sustainable Development (Global Sustainable Development)
Hannah and Liam are co-chairs and co-founders of Warwick SEED (Socio-Economic Engagement and Development), a new society established at Warwick this academic year, which encourages students to embrace positive business impact and pursue social impact careers such as social enterprises, start-ups and B-corporations.
After undertaking an intercalated year abroad at Monash University in Melbourne (Australia) last year, and joining a society called Monash SEED while there, they realised that no society at Warwick provided a similar support for students, directed towards alternative career pathways in the social impact sector. Therefore, they undertook the ambitious project of linking Warwick SEED and Monash SEED together, and creating a global collaboration, the first of its kind joining together opportunities generated in both Universities. After obtaining support from the Monash-Warwick Alliance, they grew from a 2-people to a 27-people executive team in less than one term and to a full Warwick SU society in less than two terms.
Warwick SEED organises opportunities to network with local, national and international social entrepreneurs and a mentorship scheme, as part of which students pair up with mentors from social impact organisations, learning from them and developing their own plans for the future. In addition, they launched SEED Fest, a major collaborative event in Term 2 featuring British social enterprises and Warwick societies that foster entrepreneurial spirit, business-for-good, well-being and sustainability. This year, Warwick SEED has collaborated, among others, with social enterprises working on access to education and sanitation, biodiversity protection, food waste reduction, sustainable fashion, and empowerment of refugees and asylum seekers.
Their energy, efforts and passion will contribute significantly to Warwick’s student community, by setting a legacy of social impact creation and helping students at Warwick pursue alternative careers pathways and collaborate with local and national businesses-for-good.
Despite suffering from chronic illness and having to take time off from her studies, Marta has been extremely active in the life of the university, the local community and the student community during her four years at Warwick.
Marta has been in the executive committee for 9 societies in a number of roles. Particularly, she was elected as President of the International Relations Society in her first year, and has helped to turn it around, doubling the membership, increasing the number and the quality of events and securing lasting sponsorships.
She has been crucial to the organising of the Warwick Economics Summit this year, leading the Operations Team to run a three-day conference for more than 500 people, after helping conceptualise and coordinate the Warwick Africa Summit for two years.
She has also worked extensively with the Chaplaincy and the Faith Societies on campus, organising interfaith Shabbat Dinners, food drives and discussion events.
Marta is passionate about Warwick and the Politics department, taking part in almost every event promoting the department and the university as an ambassador, and mentoring first year students.
Coming from a refugee background herself, she got involved with the Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre in her first year, as an interpreter and language teacher, progressing to lead employment workshop, and further and higher education advice sessions, acting as an employment broker, and organising and running workshops during the Refugee Week.
This year, while balancing her illness and her final year workload, she managed to work on two projects of social entrepreneurship for the centre, pitching the ideas of a Shared Kitchen Space and a Zero Waste Café both to be implemented in the next couple of months.
Melissa has made a significant positive contribution to the lives of many students at Warwick, particularly disabled students. Before she even arrived at Warwick, she had created social media forums for new Warwick disabled students, helping other freshers like Melissa to have as smooth a transition into university life as possible and to share experiences with others.
During her time at Warwick, through her roles as Warwick Enable Welfare and Access Officer and Disabled Students’ Officer of the SU for the last two years, she has continued to raise awareness of disability and accessibility related issues keeping it high on the SU and University agenda. When she was re-elected as Disabled Students’ Officer, she ran on the manifesto of Awareness, Integration and Celebration.
Throughout Seyi’s time at Warwick, she has been absolutely instrumental in shaping the approach to creative careers here, as she has worked tirelessly to ensure that students looking to go into the creative industries have the necessary support, and access to opportunities. Whilst in her second year, Seyi developed a platform called CHL, through which she has hosted several events on campus to bridge the knowledge, access and opportunity gap between students and creative industries, inviting the likes of Buzzfeed, Spotify, the BBC and ASOS to educate Warwick students about the creative sector. In fact, students have even earned summer internships directly thanks to events Seyi has hosted.
Following such success at Warwick, Seyi developed CHL into a brand that enables connections between young creatives across the country and the industry, extending beyond Warwick, to students at Nottingham, Exeter and University of the Arts London.
This incredible endeavour has received national acclaim, and Seyi has been chosen as a mentee of the Creative Mentor Network, where she is being mentored by a leader within the creative industry on behalf of Soho House. Seyi is avidly utilising this highly sought-after opportunity to expand her entrepreneurial vision for CHL even further.
Alongside her degree in Sociology, Seyi has managed to amass not only regional and national recognition; CHL is now internationally renowned. Seyi was chosen by Google's Creative Campus initiative to be amongst the 40 students around the world sponsored to attend Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity and, last month, represented the U.K. and Nigeria as part of the Roger Hatchuel Academy Class of 2019.
Seyi has not only made Warwick-wide, national, and international visibility for her very own platform, but has also ensured that she reminds other students that they can do so, too, and equipped them with the skills and networks to make it possible.