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Social changemaker chosen as 2020 Alumnus of the Year


Recent Brunel University London graduate Dev Aditya has been crowned 2020 Alumnus of the Year for his dedication to social innovation, community work and social change.

Dev Aditya, who graduated with an LLB degree in Law in 2017 and then served for a year as Vice-President of the Union of Brunel Students, is currently the Managing Director of the Otermans Institute, which aims to upskill students in India, Nepal and Bangladesh.

Each year, Brunel’s worldwide community votes in their hundreds for the finalist of the award, which celebrates the university’s talented and inspiring alumni’s outstanding professional achievements, their commitment to their community and ongoing contribution to Brunel through volunteering and advocacy. 2020 proved to be a bumper year for truly outstanding nominations, and Dev Aditya was delighted to have been selected by his fellow alumni as this year’s winner.

“It feels good that after being shortlisted by the university, the final decision of the award came through a system of peer review where hundreds of alumni supported my nomination. This definitely makes the award more meaningful, especially to me,” he said.

“I am very happy that my work and presence continue to influence people or bring them fond memories, despite having left the institution a couple of years ago now. I remember a friend calling me from Kuwait and saying how happy he was to support my nomination as it was the least he could do for some of the support I was able to provide to him at university. It is little things like this that have made this award so special.”

Championing communities

During Dev Aditya’s vice-presidency of the Union, he established Brunel’s first South Asian Culture Week, celebrating the cultural diversity of the university’s large number of South Asian students, and for which he was recognised with a national NUS award for inclusivity. He also brought TEDx to Brunel: a major event allowing staff and students to speak on a global platform.

However, potentially his biggest success was co-leading the Brunel Bikes campaign. Here, the team raised over £80,000 in less than 5 weeks through a successful crowdfunding campaign, eventually securing an additional £100,000 deal with Santander to create and implement the current Brunel Bike scheme that links the university’s campus with Uxbridge town centre and with Hillingdon Hospital.

Beyond Brunel’s campus, he has supported the launch of art exhibitions to help fundraise for Syrian refugees, helped to organise and execute community events in Bromley, and led and supported national campaigns for international students and young workers. He also worked and supported parliamentary events on similar issues.

Following his time at Brunel, he worked in legal consulting in London while continuing with several community driven activities across various parts of London. This led to his winning the Pride of Bengal Award at the House of Lords in 2019, where he became its youngest recipient.

Upskilling the underprivileged

Following his passion for social innovation and community work, Dev Aditya moved from legal consulting to his own very interesting enterprise. Last year, he launched the Otermans Institute, a social education which aims to upskill students in India, Nepal and Bangladesh with the use of tailored soft skills and transferable skills training. He has already trained a few hundred teachers and thousands of students, mainly in India. Recently, he and his colleagues signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of the state of Uttarakhand to train and upskill over 20,000 underprivileged students there. He is currently scaling the operations and lobbying other state governments to implement his soft skills curriculum and teaching programme, and his work throughout India was recently recognised by the Governor with the Global Leaders Award for Innovation in Education.

Already in a short time span and at a young age, he has touched and impacted on the lives of thousands of people in different parts of London and across South Asia. His dedication to the young people in these communities and passion for social change are obvious. He always aims to link his projects back to Brunel and has taken several interns and teammates from the university whilst continuing to actively advise and support students.

Dev Aditya added: “I am where I am today because of my time at Brunel. Honestly, I faced both ups and downs during my time there. This, however, much more than just the academic learning, prepared me for real life after university.

“The amount of support and opportunities provided to students by Brunel is unparalleled and a boon to students like me; I won awards for entrepreneurship, started and led societies, organised functions and exhibitions for refugees, got elected as a Vice-President for the Students’ Union and also joined high-profile University committees such as the Senate and Council.”

Dev Aditya’s vision, strategy, dedication to his work and impact on the community for both his current projects and during his time at Brunel is to be admired as something that will make a lasting difference to society. He is a worthy 2020 winner and a credit to Brunel.

To see previous winners of the award, visit our Alumni of the Year pages.

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