Green Impact International Special Awards

For the first time, SOS-UK, ACTS and SOS International are organizing the Green Impact International Special Awards. With the Awards, we recognize exceptional students, staff members and teams who participated in the Green Impact program in 2021.

SOS International has supported the Green Impact program at 4 universities in Belgium and The Netherlands in 2020-2021:

Together, we nominated a student, a staff member and a faculty or department for each university. The 12 nominees moved on to the regional selection. You can find the regional finalist for each award below.

The selected student, staff member and team moved on to the finals and went up against Green Impact participants from the UK, Australia and New Zealand. An independent jury picked a final winner for each award in March 2022. Here are the results:

Congratulations to Ida, Kim and the Climate Emergency Education Team!

“Sustainability is very close to my heart, so I am very grateful for this recognition. I definitely feel empowered now to continue building support for a more sustainable society and faculty. Thank you very much!” – Ida De Boodt, winner Student Leadership Award

The jury included:

  • Carina Mutschele Youth & Education Officer at UN Environment Programme
  • Kelo Uchendu Clinton Global Initiative Fellow, founder of Gray2Green Movement and co-founder of social impact startup Zentrum
  • Mana Saza Director at SWiTCH Association of Sustainability

Watch their announcements in the videos below.

Below, you can discover the nominees and read more about their achievements.

Student Leadership Award | Sustainability Hero Award | Team Innovation Award

Regional finalist Student Leadership Award: Ida De Boodt (KU Leuven)

Nominee for Wageningen University & Research

We nominate Riemer van der Vliet from Wageningen University and Research (The Netherlands) for the Student Leadership award. Riemer was already an active member of the student-led Green Office before becoming an auditor in the second edition of Green Impact in 2018-2019. Because of the auditor experience, he became interested in joining one of the teams as a Green Impact project Assistant (GIPA). GIPA students support the Green Impact teams in a variety of ways, throughout the course of one or multiple Green Impact editions. Riemer has been supporting the Helix (now AFSG) team for more than two years. He has proven to be a valuable asset to the team, being involved in all activities and projects the team organized, and coming up with creative ideas. He did a great job in communicating with other Green Impact teams and the auditors. Riemer was also keen on helping other GIPAs or auditors in the process. We believe his steady performance and valuable support make him a very deserving nominee for this award.

Nominee for KU Leuven

We nominate Ida De Boodt from KU Leuven University (Belgium) for the Student Leadership award. Ida has been a member of the Ecoteam of the Faculty of Arts since 2019. This team consists out of staff as well as students, all engaged to make the faculty more green and sustainable. As a student ambassador in the Ecoteam, Ida participates in discussions aimed at encouraging the Faculty board to promote sustainability topics within education, in research and in operational management. What is more, she is involved in the organization of the Ecoteam’s monthly actions that are aimed at increasing awareness on various environmental issues amongst staff and students. Last year she was, for example, very actively involved in the production of cooking videos that featured well-known people of the faculty (including the former dean) and had the intention of encouraging students to try out cheap and easy vegan recipes. We want to nominate Ida because she has proven to be a highly valuable partner in the promotion of the team and its activities amongst the student population.

Nominee for University of Antwerp

We nominate Inez Vanhoutte from University of Antwerp (Belgium) for the Student Leadership award. Inez joined the university’s student-led Green Office and was one of the admin team members who piloted Green Impact. She contributed greatly to the translation of the university’s climate strategy into concrete actions, the communication with staff members throughout the year, the organization of launch and support events, and the engagement of the UA community in general. Running the Green Impact program as a student means stepping outside of the comfort time and time again. Inez succeeded not only in expanding her own boundaries, but also in reaching unseen (and unexpected) heights for Green Impact: in this very first pilot program, 6 teams won a Gold prize. With her enthusiasm, she encouraged many others to join in, either as a participant, student auditor or admin team member. We are thankful to Inez for being such a valuable asset to the program and believe she is a very deserving nominee for this award.

Nominee for Vrije Universiteit Brussel

We nominate Hannah De Cauter from Vrije Universiteit Brussels (Belgium) for the Student Leadership award. Hannah has been involved as an admin team member for Green Impact throughout her career at the student-led GreenTeam. She took many initiatives and a creative approach to involve the university’s staff in the program. According to her team members: “Everyone participating knows her”. Hannah helped from toolkit development to award ceremony, supporting all Green Impact events, communications and engagement efforts along the way. For example, she designed an advent calendar with toolkit actions and she arranged for the planting of trees as a prize for the Green Impact teams. Hannah also participated multiple times as a student auditor herself. She helped others in the GreenTeam with all practicalities, sharing her experience and tips in a generous way. Making visuals to feature Green Impact efforts on social media was one of her strengths. We strongly believe Green Impact at VUB would not be what it is today without Hannah and want to nominate her as nominee for this award.

 

Regional finalist Sustainability Hero Award: Inne Vanderkelen (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

Nominee for Wageningen University & Research

We nominate Lidy van der Lugt from the Green ESG team at Wageningen University & Research (The Netherlands) for the Sustainability hero award. Lidy has been a true ambassador for Green Impact at the Environmental Sciences Group since the start of the program five years ago. She consistently showed up throughout the many workshops and exchange sessions, online and offline. She was always keen to share her insights, questions and great conversation starters with the other participants. Especially in lockdown times, Lidy was able to translate her love for nature in uplifting stories. She also shared new initiatives with us and amplified existing ones by creating connections to ESG. For example, she introduced a tree planting project, and grew seedlings with the intention of planting these on campus. Lidy remained engaged up until her retirement, a remarkable feat given the challenging transitions due to the consequences of the pandemic. We are thankful for Lidy’s enthusiasm and believe her contributions to the program make her a very deserving nominee for the Sustainability Hero award.

Nominee for KU Leuven

We nominate Kimberly Crevits from Ecoteam BMe at KU Leuven (Belgium) for the Sustainability hero award. Kimberly has been the driving force behind the Division of Biomechanics for Green Impact and sustainability initiatives in general. She joined the program in the fourth edition which was dedicated to lab environments. Thanks to her efforts, BMe completed over 100 actions and gained a gold award twice in a row. The team also grew from 2 to 8 members. Kimberly’s outstanding achievements include the reduction of energy and water consumption of appliances such as arranging for a freezer monitoring system. Moreover, she managed to rationalize the use of clean-up materials whilst maintaining all necessary safety measures, introduced reusable scrubs and implemented strategies for reducing saline solutions and recycling non-contaminated plastics. Kimberly has also promoted sustainability outside of the lab. She organized fun activities with a green touch such as a quiz night for lab staff.  Her passion for sustainability, pragmatic approach and warm personality make Kimberly a very deserving nominee for the Sustainability Hero award.

Nominee for University of Antwerp

We nominate Daphne Zevgaridis from team Aankoopdienst at the University of Antwerp (Belgium) for the Sustainability hero award. In the pilot edition, Daphne proved to be an invaluable asset to the thriving engagement within the university’s procurement department. With her enthusiasm and passion for sustainability, she spread the Green impact word among all of her colleagues. Moreover, she successfully reached out to the bigger financial department. Daphne approached Green Impact in a structured way by creating a Trello board on which all interested colleagues could post ideas, tips and evidence. She made it as easy as possible to engage in a fun way, while taking care of the technicalities such as filling out the toolkit herself. And the efforts paid off: the team gained a gold award and produced over 40 own actions that were highly inspirational for this year’s toolkit. We strongly believe that Green Impact at the University of Antwerp owes its powerful start to sustainability champions such as Daphne, and want to nominate her as a sustainability hero.

Nominee for Vrije Universiteit Brussel

We nominate Inne Vanderkelen from the HYDR team at Vrije Universiteit Brussels (Belgium) for the Sustainability hero award. She has been engaged with Green Impact for 5 years in a row, introducing the program to colleagues at the Department of Hydrology and Hydraulic Engineering. Thanks to Inne’s support, the department made multiple changes regarding mobility, such as CO2 compensations for flights, taking the train to conferences, providing a pool bicycle… Inne is a true champion when it comes to raising awareness. Together with her team members she created multiple infographics, for example on banking and the impact of food. She is always looking out for fun ways to involve more people on the topic of sustainability. Especially in COVID times, Inne is engaged in bringing the team together to share ideas, or go for a walk. And she is setting a good example by implementing many work from home actions herself. We are very grateful for Inne’s enthusiasm and dedication to make HYDR more sustainable. For that reason, we want to nominate her for the Sustainability Hero award.

Regional finalist Team Innovation Award: Faculty of Business and Economics (University of Antwerp)

Nominee for Wageningen University & Research

The Social Sciences Group (SSG) at Wageningen University and Research (The Netherlands) has been widening their impact in an innovative way year after year, throughout 4 Green Impact editions. Besides interacting with many of the university’s policies on a circular economy and mobility measures, they also look for accessible ideas to engage more staff within their Group. Over the past year, they  took a creative approach with a sustainability bingo card competition. The team says: “We created a Sustainability Bingo card with the aim to energize people’s awareness, to make sustainability a fun game, and to have people look at their surroundings in a new and playful way. We appointed an independent jury to pick the winners, and arranged prizes. The bingo card was published online at the end of May 2021. After a first successful round within the Green Impact teams, we will now implement the game as well for SSG employees.” The Social Sciences Group is showing that staff and students can interact with sustainability in a social and fun way.

Nominee for KU Leuven

Prior to joining Green Impact, the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES) at KU Leuven (Belgium) established their own garden with vegetables, fruit trees, indigenous plants, herbs, flowers and bees. The garden is a community project, letting staff and students  connect with nature as well as with each other. They are helping other departments to set up a garden, too. Throughout their engagement in the program last year, the team invested in a large and colorful wall painting right next to the garden. The painting was commissioned via an artist call in collaboration with university partners and a company that invests in foresting projects. The artist was specifically required to use air-purifying paint, which would remove pollutants from the air and impact the environment in a positive way. According to the team: “As critical researchers we are eager to test the effect ourselves of course and are open to supporting small research projects around the wall.” The colorful wall will no doubt spark many garden conversations on the topic of sustainability.

Nominee for University of Antwerp

With 92 actions done in the pilot edition of Green Impact at the University of Antwerp (Belgium), The Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) proved to be one of the most ambitious teams SOS International has witnessed so far. They achieved successes in every aspect of sustainability, ranging from Food to Education and Research. The key to their success is a structural approach. The team said their overarching goal is “to have sustainability embedded within the faculty’s strategy”. They secured the support and budget from their dean. With this budget, they are able to invest in a more sustainable workspace on an operational level, as well as in making more colleagues aware of the importance of a sustainable lifestyle, for example by means of a sensitization campaign. FBE Student auditors Nell and Thomas reported that “the team was particularly strong in involving staff on sustainability, and finding out their needs and wishes. For example, they ran a survey on remote working, and they made a list of eco-friendly office supplies.” We look forward to what comes next for FBE after such a promising start.

Nominee for Vrije Universiteit Brussel

The team name CAVA (Centrum voor Academische en Vrijzinnige Archieven) sounds sparkly for a reason. This Green Impact team at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium) has been participating in the program since the very beginning, in 2016, booking many successes over the years. CAVA is a diverse team in a unique setting: a scientific-logistic service that maintains the cultural archives of the secular humanist movement of the VUB, and Flanders and Brussels in general. Because the archives deal with a lot of materials on a daily basis, the team has been investigating how to reduce waste at their premises. They have also taken this opportunity to scrutinize the whole cycle of archival work, and how it could be made more sustainable. Auditors have been complimenting the team for their consistent performance. They also noticed that many team members already live and work a sustainable lifestyle, and that CAVA is an encouraging environment to share this experience with co-workers. Team members inspire each other to do more by leading by example. This positive approach attracts more colleagues to join and interact with Green Impact.


Congratulations to all nominees!

This initiative is realized with the support of and in collaboration with SOS-UK and ACTS.

The prize for the Student Leadership Award is sponsored by IEMA.