Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Students Working for Sustainability and Festive Cheer

This week the Sustainability Team has been finding a little bit of time in between eating mince pies and chocolates to consider the opportunities we have for students working in the Sustainability Office. We met Sarah Sheikh from the Business School, who has been encouraged by Mary McCartney (Business School Sustainability Champion), to find out what we have within the Sustainability Team for students to get involved in.

As usual the Sustainability Team is looking for students to become involved in all sorts of projects relating to a multitude of different subjects. The first position we are offering through the Business School is the position of Fairtrade Intern. With Fairtrade Fortnight coming up in February and March next year there is loads of Fairtrade fun to get involved with and great opportunity for a student to get experience in running events, project management, communications, administration, charity sector work and of course trying out all the latest Fairtrade products - whether it is chocolate, bananas or cotton buds! Sarah will be inviting Business School students to make an application to the role and if you are the lucky chosen student you will get a chance to really get involved and help influence the University's policies and delivery of Fairtrade events.

Naomi Debrah the 2010/11 Fairtrade Intern
The Sustainability Team will not be stopping there though! We have many more opportunities within the team for all sorts of different things, just last week Stuart Ashenden  in the School of Engineering recruited a student to start auditing the University's water usage, following on from previous projects completed by students on the University's energy use and travel. We currently have a couple of students working with Debbie Bartlett in the School of Science on the biodiversity projects going on across the campuses, you may remember Michael Fray providing us with some excellent bee photos while conducting a bee survey at Avery Hill: and recently Charmaine Wijemanna presented to the Biodiversity Steering Group on a pioneering new project developing the University's Campus Management Plan: At the School of Education the students training to be teachers are currently implementing sustainability projects in the schools where they are completeing their placement.
Isabelle Monk collecting for the end-of-term Re-use Project
The Sustainability Team is always keen to make the best use of the amazing resource we have within the student population and we have loads more opportunities whether it is with Fairtrade, biodiversity, waste, communications, event management, water, energy, video making....... anyway you get the picture! Thinking back over the last year the Sustainability Team has been greatly supported by student interns who have all now gone on to graduate and find employment, often with a bit of support from the Sustainability Team as well. Naomi Debrah was our most recent Fairtrade intern, a great personality during Green Week this year and instrumental in gaining the University Fairtrade status. Stefano Maggi has gone onto work for an Australian radio station after being the driving force behind the communications of Green Week, Catherine Brown and Keir Burrows have both found work after helping us with our environmental management system and Isabelle Monk who worked on the end-of-year Re-use scheme went on to get a job in the charity sector and now works at ATD Fourth World.

As well as asking for some new student interns this Christmas we have also noticed that Santa has been starting to consider his environmental impact and the carbon footprint of his work. Ethical Ocean have had a go at measuring Santa's carbon footprint for him:

And Santa also got Futerra to compile an end of year sustainability report for him. 
If you are considering how you can have a green Christmas you may want to check out how to 'upcycle' a Christmas tree: 
Whatever you are doing this Christmas the Sustainability Team wish you a very merry holiday season and a happy new year:

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