Students secure maximum number of prizes during 2019 LC Awards


During the 2019 LC Awards, which were presented on Wednesday 12 June in Leeuwarden, VHL University of Applied Sciences (VHL) won the maximum number of prizes. The jury presented Gerbrich Kaastra (chemistry student) with the coveted hbo/wo (higher professional education/university) bachelor award for her project “Chemical Recycling of PET”. Steven van der Stelt, Charelle Holleman, Joelle Spronk, Anne Baauw, Mirthe Knaap and Francis Danen (Coastal and Marine Management) were awarded a prize by the public for their “Coral Academy” project. In addition to the publicity and a splendid award, a cheque for €333.33 was also issued for the projects.

Jury prize: Chemical Recycling of PET

Gerbrich Kaastra was the first recipient of the jury prize for higher professional education/university bachelors on behalf of VHL (and NHL Stenden, within the Life Sciences & Technology partnership). Her project, aimed at the recycling of the widely used plastic polyethylene terephthalate (PET) – used in soft drink bottles, for example – was given a high rating by the jury. Interest in the chemical recycling of PET has increased because contaminated PET cannot be recycled mechanically. Gerbrich investigates various methods for this recycling process. Besides a superb presentation, her passion for chemistry received praise.

Prize awarded by the public: Coral Academy

Just as valuable as the jury prizes (awarded in the categories of intermediate professional education, bachelor and master) is the prize awarded by the public. Only one of these was presented and this accolade was also won by students from VHL. During the presentation, the students were told how important education and knowledge transfer are, especially in valuable areas such as sustainability and nature. Coral Academy originated as an initiative by students Katja van Rennes, Charelle Holleman, Joelle Spronk, Anne Baauw, Mirthe Knaap and Francis Danen (Coastal and Marine Management) after watching the documentary Chasing Coral. This documentary gives a compelling account of problems to do with coral and their consequences. The aim of the project is to inform young people that this problem exists, and that it is also an issue in the Netherlands Antilles. An interactive workshop on this topic has therefore been developed for advanced students in higher general secondary education / pre-university education (Dutch: havo/vwo).

No prize, sadly: De Witte Motor (‘The White Engine’)

Students Iris van der Gun, Lynette De Vries, Géline Andringa and Antsje Veldstra (Agribusiness and Business Administration) have developed a product for their learning enterprise which they have to market themselves. They created an informative book about milk, cows and much more. The book is intended for reading aloud to children from the age of eight. With this book, they hope to put dairy farming in a positive light, and they want to teach children who live in the city more about how milk is produced. No fewer than 100 books have been sold within two weeks. Unfortunately, this project did not secure a prize during the LC Awards.

About the LC Awards

The Leeuwarder Courant (a Dutch daily newspaper) presents the LC Awards annually each June in cooperation with Frisian institutions for intermediate and higher professional education and universities. The object of the prizes is to highlight special student projects. The professional jury – which decides on the recipients of the main prizes – changes every year. In addition, the public gives votes for a prize via an online campaign.