Student Named 'Global Changemaker'

February 10, 2011 - News Release

A University of Guelph student has been named a 2011 "Global Changemaker" by the Ontario Council for International Co-operation (OCIC). Yvonne Su, a fourth-year international development student, is being honoured for making a difference in her community and around the globe.

She is among eight Ontario students to receive the award, which is presented annually during International Development Week. This year’s event runs Feb. 6 to 12.

As part of being named a global changemaker, the students share their stories and international experiences in a video and a poster, which are available on the OCIC website.

Su, a U of G President’s Scholar, has long been interested in environmental issues. She has raised awareness and funds for everything from environmental issues to hunger and has travelled to Greenland to study climate change.

In 2009 she took part in the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, which she said was a “turning point” in her life. “I realized I wanted to dedicate myself to the study of forced migration and development in the context of climate change.”

Su designed an experiential learning project to research the effects of climate change in Greenland. It included a two-week kayaking journey along the Greenland ice sheet and living with a local family to understand their perspective on issues such as oil exploration and sovereignty.

Her passion for global activism began in an impoverished town outside of Guangzhou, China, where she was raised. She credits her father for inspiring her. “He worked endless hours in restaurants across Canada to save money to bring my family to North America. He fled China as a political refugee after the Tiananmen Square protests, and two months later I was born.”

Su was named among the "Top 20 Under 20" by the Globe and Mail in 2007 for creating a student-run recycling program at her high school. In 2008, she participated in War Child’s Walk for Darfur from Calgary to Edmonton and also raised $4,000 to help build a school in rural China through Free the Children. She was a finalist in the 2010 Earth Day Canada film competition for her documentary, Dancing With the Wind, which tells the story of an 84-year-old environmentalist who created an innovative design for a small-scale wind turbine. She hopes to attend graduate school at Oxford University.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982 or

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