Impact Award Winner: Vance Tan
It is with great pleasure that I nominate Vance Tan for this prestigious award. I have known him for two years and personally admire his initiatives in many aspects of university life that I thought of him the first time I heard about this award. He is a prime role model and exceptional inspiration for people with disability, which in his case is dyslexia and dyspraxia, and for people from ethnic minorities. Vance has positively impacted many of us at Oxford by giving examples of the characters a leader should uphold.
I want to start with Rugby, the sport he loves very much because of the game itself and the friendship. Days before Oxford, he would almost avoid playing sports that involved hand-eye coordination due to his dyspraxia. But that changed once he came to Oxford. He was determined to give Rugby a go. He seeks to contribute to Oxford University (OURFC) and St. Edmund Hall (SEHRFC) rugby clubs in other ways as well. He started by being a water boy – providing food, water and ensuring good welfare for the rugby players. He also regularly cleans the facilities and spaces of OURFC as there is a lack of human resource for this purpose. He has been doing this with such a phenomenal dedication for the more than two years, which awed his teammates and managers.
During his time as a water boy, he spotted a vital gap in OURFC; the lack of online presence. The website is very outdated, which prevents the club from attracting optimal support from sponsors and supporters. He then took the initiative to create a new website and help to track sponsors for the club. Other people are inspired by his work and volunteered to help him in the middle of the process. Regarded as reliable and responsible, he has now being promoted as the Director of Analytics, Technology and Algorithms for OURFC, where he sets the strategic vision for the club's analytical and technological capabilities to support the games and implement frameworks for raising the standards of the club's online presence. He is the first person to hold this role. He levelled up by taking performance analytics certification from Queens Belfast to support his role at OURFC and beyond. He trained other people to do the job so that after him, this role can be passed down to the next generations to ensure a lasting impact. He also encouraged the club to take equality and diversity training regularly. Vance has taken on a number of roles, including match day video & analysis providing the coaches with match footage and game analysis. He is also excellent member for culture and the environment at the club.
Other than sport, he also supports SEH chapel by singing in the choir and serving as a senior chapel clerk. He has been the editor-in-chief for St Edmund Hall’s Ex Aula journal for the past two years, volunteering in the Access Hall program, donations to food shelters and other causes. He took part in the dyslexia project by TORCH Oxford to raise awareness and provide support for people with disabilities. He received much support for his mental health issues while also communicating it with his peers to break down conversational barriers.
I walk around the university with him many times, and there is rarely a walk without at least someone calls him by name – it shows how blended in and fondly well-known he is in Oxford. Even the cleaners, porters, gardeners, and other staff talk to him like a close friend.
I asked him about his future plan, and the answer is simple yet incredible: to be a decent human who can contribute to society, with a ripple effect to the future generations. ""I've been through so much unhappiness, so I just want to see people happy"", he said. He is probably the most selfless and genuine person I have ever come across in life. "
Oxford University Rugby Football Club: https://ourfc.org/
Ex Aula: https://mcr.seh.ox.ac.uk/ex-aula/
TORCH Oxford: https://torch.ox.ac.uk/