3 September 2018

Student Awards 2018: Elizabeth Dirth and ‘Gewoon Vega’

Many students of Utrecht University deliver outstanding results in the field of their studies or beyond. Utrecht University is proud of these students. To reward them, it has instituted Student Awards: one for Best Master Thesis and one for Exceptional Extracurricular Achievements. Utrecht University’s Rector Henk Kummeling announced the winners during the official Opening of the Academic Year on Monday, 3 September 2018.

The winner of the award for Best Master Thesis is Elizabeth Dirth. The winner of the award for Exceptional Extracurricular Achievements is ‘Gewoon Vega’, consisting of: Natalie van Dis, Tiemen Wagenvoort, Maaike de Leeuw, Mardie Vermunt and Julia Ertl.

Winner Best Master Thesis


Elizabeth Dirth, Sustainable Development - Environmental Governance, Faculty of Geosciences. Thesis: ‘Governance for Future Generations: A Global Review of the Implementation of Intergenerational Equity’. Climate change will have major effects for generations to come. Elizabeth investigated which governance instruments are used to tackle injustices caused by climate change, as well as their effects. Her research shows that with the right governance mechanisms, it is possible to ensure justice and equity between generations in combating climate change.

The jury report

The jury was impressed by the fact that Dirth studied massive amounts of data from around the world in great detail. Her research is also unique in that no-one had ever looked at this massive problem from her perspective. The thesis is characterised by a clear and systematic approach and socially relevant conclusions. It describes in fine detail what works and what does not.

Winner Exceptional Extracurricular Achievements

‘Gewoon Vega’, consisting of: Natalie van Dis, Tiemen Wagenvoort, Maaike de Leeuw, Mardie Vermunt and Julia Ertl. Students from different study programmes found a creative and positive way to encourage the university’s community to eat vegetarian more often. Their goal: reducing the university’s ecological footprint. To that end they combined an attractive presentation of vegetarian options with an informative campaign. This approach resulted in significantly higher sales of vegetarian products.