Alex Freid ’13 has been named the 2022 Social Innovator of the Year by the University of New Hampshire. Honoring individuals since 2013, the award is among the university’s most prestigious, recognizing leaders with a demonstrated commitment to combining the purpose of a social and/or environmental mission with the rigor and accountability of a financially sustainable, scalable model for change.
Freid, who was a political science and philosophy double major, will be honored at the culminating events of the 10th N.H. Social Venture Innovation Challenge (SVIC) Dec. 1, 2022, at 12:40 p.m. He will deliver a keynote address and help award prizes to the winners of the challenge. Earlier in the day, 10 finalist teams will present their ideas to a panel of judges. The day’s events are free and open to the public, but registration is required. The SVIC is open to students from any institution of higher education in the state. The deadline for entries is Nov. 14, 2022.
Freid’s award as UNH’s 2022 Social Innovator of the Year is especially meaningful as it takes place 10 years after he was awarded first place in the student track at the inaugural challenge. As a student, he was the co-founder of UNH’s Trash to Treasure program, the first of its kind, student-led, financially self-sustaining waste reduction initiative. Upon graduation Freid was determined to help spread the model nationwide and embarked on a career as a social entrepreneur, founding the nonprofit Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN). With a mission to create a world beyond waste, PLAN works with almost 1,000 campuses across the U.S., and has engaged with over 50,000 students in the last decade. During his keynote, "Building a Life and Career of Changemaking: From Student Activist to Accomplished Social Entrepreneur," Freid will talk about how we can support students to become transformational changemakers who can lead sustainability solutions on their campuses and in their future careers. Freid will also engage in conversation with current and former students who have played key roles in UNH’s sustainability efforts.
The NH Social Venture Innovation Challenge and Social Innovator of the Year award are organized by UNH’s Changemaker Collaborative, a partnership between the UNH Sustainability Institute, the Peter T. Paul College of Business & Economics, and the Carsey School of Public Policy. The collaborative’s mission is to inspire, train and support the next generation of changemakers.
The competition is entirely funded through the generous contributions of sponsors. Major supporters include Impax Asset Management, Kennebunk Savings and Timberland; additional supporters include Unitil, Cirtronics, CCA Global, Prime Buchholz, Pete and Gerry’s Eggs, ECenter Maurice Prize, New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility and The Recycled Planet Company.