Recent MA Special Educational Needs and Inclusion Graduate Anastasia Sofia Semaan, was highly commended at the prestigious Green Gown Awards, in the Student Sustainability Champion category.

The award ceremony was held this month at Loughborough University as part of the EAUC Annual Conference where Anastasia’s work was recognised for a project in which she developed and translated the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) into a simplified and accessible format using Widgit Symbols, used to support students with additional needs.

Widgit Symbols are simply drawn, colourful symbols and illustrate a single concept in a clear and concise way which cover a range of topics and use predominantly pictorial symbols, either as an alternative to text, or to accompany it.

Anastasia has been working with University’s Student Green Office and Sustainability Development Unit throughout her time at the University and was commended by Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Rama Thirunamachandran.

This award is a wonderful recognition of the innovative and ambitious work undertaken by Anastasia to make the SDGs more inclusive and accessible. The fact that one of our students felt empowered to produce this work of potentially global impact is a source of great pride for us as a values-driven and socially committed University.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Rama Thirunamachandran

Anastasia’s work was also recognised in Canterbury’s first Climate Action Awards in September and awarded as a ‘Leader in Innovation’, organised by the Canterbury Climate Action Partnership (CCAP) and sponsored by E.On, HSBC UK and Canterbury BID.

The Green Gown Awards recognise the exceptional sustainability initiatives undertaken by universities and colleges. The awards have become established as the most prestigious recognition of best practice within the further and higher education sector.

The University also marked its commitment to sustainability with the launch of the Academy for Sustainable Futures earlier this year.

The Academy is based on ten years of pioneering work in sustainability and has been created to enable the University to make a step-change in its drive towards educating, advocating, and influencing our collective sustainable futures. In responding to the climate crisis, the Academy will drive forward the academic elements of the strategy, leveraging the University’s wider influence and civic duty. Its priorities are:

  • to provide evidence through undertaking and sharing sustainability research;
  • embed education for sustainability within all learning and teaching;
  • exemplify sustainable practices through University operations; and
  • build relationships for change through engagement with the University and local communities, and with national and international policy and policy-maker

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