11 March 2013
University of the Sunshine Coast graduate and social entrepreneur Chris Raine of Caloundra has been awarded one of five annual Skoll Scholarships to undertake a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Oxford University.
The scholarship program at the historic UK university was set up by the president of eBay, Jeff Skoll, and is valued at $72,000 AUD. It will cover Chris’s entire tuition fees.
Chris, 26, was chosen as Queensland’s 2012 Young Australian of the Year for his work in establishing a free online program, Hello Sunday Morning, which encourages young people to change their attitudes and approaches to binge drinking.
He developed the program in 2009 – the same year he graduated from USC with a combined Arts/Business degree – after writing an online blog about his own experiences of going without alcohol for a year.
Hello Sunday Morning encourages others to try out their own periods of sobriety. So far, almost 10,000 people in Australia and New Zealand have taken up the challenge.
Chris said he believed the prestigious Oxford MBA scholarship was offered to him because of the unique approach his program takes to the complex issue of binge drinking, which has a huge effect in both Australia and the UK.
“The Skoll Scholarship is like the Rhodes Scholarship for social entrepreneurs,” he said.
“I am incredibly humbled to be one of the few people in the world awarded his opportunity and I’m looking forward to learning about the latest in business theory and social innovation.”
Chris, who received a USC Outstanding Alumni of the Year award in 2011, will begin studying at Oxford in October. He believes the MBA will provide him with the networks and business skills he needs to expand his program internationally.
He said alcohol misuse was costing Australia about $15.6 billion annually, with 60 percent of Generation Y drinkers engaging in risky drinking and millions of Australians admitting to drinking alcohol solely to get drunk.
— Terry Walsh