Esmee Tanis wins Student Societal Impact Award 2020

Esmee Tanis

Econometrics student Esmee Tanis is the winner of the Student Societal Impact Award and a money prize of 4,500 euros, which is sponsored by Erasmus Trustfonds and  can be spent on the further development of a project that contributes to positive societal impact. The award will be presented for the first time during the Opening of the Academic Year of Erasmus University Rotterdam on Monday August 31.

A strong sense of commitment

Dean Professor Patrick Groenen wholeheartedly nominated Esmee Tanis on behalf of Erasmus School of Economics: ‘Esmee stands out with her genuine interest and her strong sense of commitment to contribute to a transition towards more sustainable and circular consumption in 2030.’

Drive and authenticity

In 2017, Esmee Tanis started the Double Degree BSc2 in Econometrics and Economics. After her first year of studying, she applied to become part of the Erasmus Sustainability Hub. This organisation is run by students who are connected by their devotion to sustainability and their goal to make a meaningful difference in their university community. Partly thanks to the commitment made by Esmee from June 2018 until June 2019, the organisation grew from around 8 students to an organisation of over 60 active members. Jon de Ruijter, Director of the Sustainable Campus Foundation 4 Students, says: ‘Esmee has shown us that with drive and authenticity, and without too many frills and analysis, you can make real societal contributions as a member of the university’s community.’

Because of the difficulties in combining this extra-curricular activity of over 20 hours a week on average with a double degree, sports, and a social life, Esmee decided to drop the bachelor’s degree programme in Economics in her second year. She chose to invest more of her time in other extra-curricular activities, as she wished to develop herself beyond her own field of study and wanted to work on concrete projects, contributing to a more thriving and sustainable society.

Chair of the Rotterdam Climate Table Consumption

From May to December 2019, Esmee also worked hard on the theme of sustainability in the municipality of Rotterdam. As Chair of the Rotterdam Climate Table Consumption, she worked on the Rotterdam Climate Agreement together with the Rotterdam alderman for Sustainability and Vice Mayor, Mr. Arno Bonte. The Climate Table Consumption focuses on the food transition (sustainable consumption and less waste) and the transition to a circular economy (reducing, reusing, recycling, and repairing). Arno Bonte characterises the way in which Esmee subsequently chaired the Rotterdam Climate Table Consumption as spontaneous and enthusiastic: ‘With hard work and a solid chairmanship, Esmee won appreciation from many stakeholders. She also managed to use her steadily growing network to achieve successful climate deals. And when the subject of Consumption turned out to be too broad to make enough impact in a short period of time, Esmee opted for an effective strategy by having the Table focus on organic waste and food waste. Her involvement led to a creative search for new ideas and possibilities.’

More information

Read more about Esmee Tanis and her passion for sustainability on page 40 and 41 in the 2019 edition of Backbone magazine. For more information please contact Ronald de Groot, Media and Public Relations Officer of Erasmus School of Economics,, mobile: +31 6 53 641 846.

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