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Sustainability, inclusivity and access: Hughes student wins Vice-Chancellor’s award for creating change

Ming Hong Choi, Master of Finance candidate at Hughes Hall and the Cambridge Judge Business School, has recently been awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Social Impact Award.

Supported by the Vice-Chancellor’s Office, these annual awards celebrate students who have shown exceptional achievement in, and commitment to, creating positive social change.

Ming Hong said: “As a first-generation college and graduate student, I strive to contribute positively to meaningful causes and initiatives in various capacities, so it is truly humbling to have my efforts recognised by the University of Cambridge. Pursuing my Master’s degree at Hughes Hall, Cambridge’s oldest graduate college, has been a truly unparalleled experience. I especially resonate with Hughes Hall’s commitment to making a real difference to people’s lives and the world.”

Ming Hong receives his award from University of Cambridge Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Prentice.

He added: “Receiving the Vice-Chancellor’s Social Impact Award serves as a catalyst to amplify the causes and initiatives that I strongly believe in and further inspires me to continue contributing towards the creation of a sustainable, inclusive, and equitable world.”

Ming Hong’s contributions span seven key initiatives at the University of Cambridge. At the Cambridge Judge Business School, he currently serves as the Co-President of the Real Estate Special Interest Group and the Investment Management Club. Alongside fellow leaders, he strives to foster an inclusive and supportive environment for graduate students at the Cambridge Judge Business School community. Their efforts included organising and facilitating various opportunities, including career events, job listings, professional development resources, and case competitions.

Collaborating with the Centre for Science and Policy at the University of Cambridge, Ming Hong authored an article on the Cambridge Zero Policy Forum seminar with David Craig, Co-Chair of the Taskforce for Nature-Based Financial Disclosures (TNFD). The article emphasises why and how organisations and financial institutions should integrate nature-related dependencies, impacts, risks, and opportunities into their strategic and capital allocation decision-making processes.

Serving on the Judging Panel of the Cambridge Student Union’s student-led teaching awards has been particularly rewarding for Ming Hong. Additionally, his roles as a Student Ambassador for Kettle’s Yard and a Green Impact Auditor of the University of Cambridge Sustainability have deepened his appreciation of inclusivity of modern and contemporary arts as well as sustainable practices within the institution.

Winners of the 2024 Vice-Chancellors Social Impact Awards stand with the Vice-Chancellor

Ming Hong reflected on his time at College, “At Hughes Hall, being surrounded by a diverse and vibrant community of exceptionally brilliant and impact-driven peers and fellows has been a catalyst for my intellectual, personal, and professional growth. My experience here has been profoundly enriching on every level, filled with cherished memories and lifelong friendships.”

Beyond University, Ming Hong has been volunteering with the National Youth Council Singapore for the past eight years and currently serves as Deputy Chief Curator of the Young ChangeMakers (YCM) Grants Programme, which supports and funds over 150 community projects and ground-up initiatives in Singapore annually.

Regionally, Ming Hong co-founded Deria, a non-profit initiative in Malaysia aimed at increasing environmental education and literacy among young people – a cause close to his heart. UNESCO, under its Green Citizens initiative, recognised Deria as one of over 150 citizen-led projects in 65 countries dedicated to biodiversity and sustainable development and featured their toolkit on its website.

Globally, Ming Hong has served in the selection committees and panels of grants, fellowships, scholarships, and awards of organisations including the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, the Rhodes Trust, the Commonwealth Secretariat, and the Diana Award.

Being the only Master’s student recipient of the Vice-Chancellor’s Social Impact Award is a great achievement and testament to his dedication to social change and impact-driven initiatives.

More recently, he was also recognised as a Global Social Impact House Fellow by the Center for Social Impact Strategy at the University of Pennsylvania in the US.