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Department of Engineering

PhD student’s passion for the environment recognised by the Vice-Chancellor

PhD student’s passion for the environment recognised by the Vice-Chancellor

PhD student Verner Viisainen with the Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Toope.

Engineering PhD student Verner Viisainen has been Highly Commended in the Vice-Chancellor’s Social Impact Awards for his environmental work.  

Verner is a remarkably motivated and passionate individual who has demonstrated persistence and leadership in furthering environmental action across the University.

Nomination

Supported directly by the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Stephen Toope, the Awards were launched this year for the first time to recognise exceptional commitment to, and achievement in, student social impact. 

Alongside his PhD in Engineering at Pembroke College, Verner established ‘Meat Free Mondays’ at Pembroke during his time as the MCR’s Environmental Officer. In May 2017, he founded Pembroke College Gardening Society, recruiting 40 students to grow food in a college allotment, as well as holding talks on gardening and permaculture approaches, to help students learn how to grow their own food. 

Following his participation in Cambridge Hub’s Engage for Change programme, with the help of two other people Verner set up CamBridge2Environment – a seven-week project to connect students with local environmental groups through different hands-on volunteering sessions and discussion groups. For this project, Verner collaborated with Cambridge Carbon Footprint, Transition Cambridge, FoodCycle, CamCycle and the University’s Environment and Energy Section.

The judges noted Verner’s genuine passion and dedication to environmental causes, as well as his initiative in setting up an ambitious project. Verner’s nominator said: “Verner is a remarkably motivated and passionate individual who has demonstrated persistence and leadership in furthering environmental action across the University.” 

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