Glasgow Caledonian University’s commitment to civic engagement and its role in empowering students to deliver positive change in society has been recognised and celebrated at the 2023 UK and Ireland Green Gown Awards where it won the Benefitting Society award.

Our Magnusson Awards and the Common Good Award were instrumental in earning this distinction, with both showcasing how Glasgow Caledonian’s work not only enriches the lives of students but also leaves a lasting, positive impact on the communities we serve.

The Green Gown Awards, which acknowledge outstanding sustainability efforts on a global scale, further highlighted the University’s exceptional contributions in fostering a sustainable and socially responsible environment within higher education.

Now celebrating its 16th anniversary, the Magnusson Awards are run by the GCU Foundation team and provide our students with the opportunity to apply for £5,000 to help make a positive impact globally through volunteering, community projects, or starting their own businesses. The awards are named in honour of former Chancellor Magnus Magnusson KBE.

The awards, supported by donors such as Sir Alex Ferguson CBE and Santander, help alleviate financial barriers, foster personal growth, promote a global perspective, and encourage leadership skills.

Our current Student President Chidozie Nwaigwe (pictured above with Sally Magnusson) won an award in 2022 and built a 24-hour central water-dispensing site for a community in Nigeria which was suffering from an acute shortage of clean water and a spike in water-borne diseases. Other success stories include a student using the award to fulfil a dream internship at the United Nations Environment Programme, contributing to their climate-neutral strategy, and a group of Glasgow-based podiatry students volunteering in a leprosy hospital in North India.

Honorary President of the Magnus Magnusson Awards, Dr Sally Magnusson MBE, said: “I’m so delighted that the impact of the Magnusson Awards, and the outstanding projects undertaken by our students, have been recognised. My father would have been hugely proud of the legacy they are creating, and the genuine difference they’re making in communities around the world. I’m enduringly grateful to the donors who have made it possible.”

The Common Good Award is a skills and personal development award which aims to encourage, support and reward students who are engaged in co and extra-curricular activity aligned to the Common Good. It also helps students to develop the skills and attributes that employers now increasingly expect in addition to a university degree. From its inception, the Common Good Award was designed to be ‘distinctively different’ from traditional skills awards in the sector, with the emphasis firmly on activity that makes a positive difference to the lives of others. Like the Magnusson Award, the Common Good Award has a lasting positive influence not just on our students, but within the businesses and communities in which they work.

Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Steve Decent, said: “Glasgow Caledonian makes a positive impact on the communities we serve through our education and research. We transform our students’ lives and in turn support them to transform others’ lives and benefit society. We are delighted we have won this prestigious Green Gown Award, and extend our thanks to our brilliant staff, students, committed donors and Magnus Magnusson Awards Honorary President Dr Sally Magnusson MBE.”