Nurturing student wellbeing is firmly Rooted in University life

Nurturing student wellbeing is equally as important as developing academic abilities at Leeds.

And in Rooted – the University Union’s community food project – there has been considerable growth in the number of people seeking to volunteer for this pioneering project.

As an oasis of calm among the hustle and bustle of University life, Rooted supports local biodiversity, improves employability skills for students and creates strong links between them, the University and the wider community.

Speaking in the greenhouse of the sustainable roof garden – perched on top of the Student Union building – Kate Kirkpatrick, a part-time project assistant with Rooted, said: “There is an incredible sense of calm and wellbeing here, which students find really attractive. It can be daunting moving away from home to University. You can get stuck in the bubble of student life, but this is the perfect escape from all the academic pressures you can face. We have also been able to refer students on to other appropriate services, if needed, such as the Student Advice Centre.”

Second-year English and Music student, Liberty Anstead, first volunteered more than a year ago. She has enjoyed the experience so much she is now preparing to take up a year-long work placement with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. Liberty said: “I come here because it’s so relaxing and meditative.

“I absolutely love working with Kate and the rest of the team. Everyone is so friendly and supportive. It’s such a nice escape from being sat at a computer studying. It’s definitely the best thing I have done here. It has also expanded my horizons, introducing me to other organisations I have got involved with, like the Real Junk Food Project.”

Volunteer drop-in sessions are staged twice a week, and are also open to staff and the general public.

Kate added: “We find this creates a really nice mix of people, from all sorts of backgrounds and age groups. People come along for as little as ten minutes at a time between lectures. We have loved having Liberty as part of the team, and now she is helping us develop our salad growing enterprise, which is very exciting.”

This success story is just one example of how the University of Leeds has achieved its ranking of third in the UK in the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey. Find out more here.

Student Sustainability Architect update: Becky

Having completed an industrial placement last year with the Sustainability Service, I’ve really enjoyed working as one of the Sustainability Student Architects during my final year of study.

My role has been to support the development and implementation of a new sustainability engagement programme, and it has been an exciting project to be involved with!  The aim of this programme is to support Schools and Services across campus to develop a unique sustainability action plan for their area which enables them to make positive changes.

We’re currently piloting the programme with numerous teams across campus, which firstly involves meeting with staff to learn more about their area.  The next stage is to run workshops with these teams to conduct a materiality assessment, which considers how their processes link with sustainability and what opportunities there are for improvements, before supporting them to build a sustainability action plan.

Building a programme from the ground up has involved a lot of research and communication (there is a lot to consider!) but it has been great fun and I’m really looking forward to it all coming together. The pilot workshops begin in a couple of weeks, and it’ll be interesting to see what the final sustainability action plans look like.

It’s going to be very busy moving forward – as well as piloting the scheme, we’re planning the overall package for when it rolls out across the University, such as the design, how we incentivise it with rewards and recognition, and how what support we’ll be creating with online resources.  It’s certainly going to be exciting and I can’t wait to seeing the positive changes take shape across campus!

If you have any questions, please get in touch with me at R.M.Ewan@leeds.ac.uk

We Are Recruiting!

Looking to pursue a career in sustainability? Apply now for a paid internship with us!

If you’re looking to pursue a career in sustainability, our internships offer a fantastic opportunity to build your knowledge, skills and professional network. You’ll get a real insight into working at a University, as well as valuable experience in a supportive environment working alongside a friendly team.

For more information see the role descriptions below, and to apply, visit the University of Leeds jobs page.

Sustainability Engagement Assistant

Open to current University of Leeds Undergraduate students only

Are you a current University of Leeds undergraduate student with an interest in a career in sustainability? Would you like to gain valuable experience by supporting projects which raise awareness of sustainability initiatives within the University and the wider community?

We are looking for a current University of Leeds undergraduate student to join us as an Intern in a professional office environment and in an organisation recognised for its high quality of academic provision and commitment to excellence and good practice.Our Internships are designed to enhance your employability and as such you will develop key skills and experience for your CV, including; team work; interpersonal and communication skills; initiative; high quality administration and organisation skills; and project development.

Sustainability at the University of Leeds has a high profile and is being embedded throughout the organisation, driven through our ambitious Sustainability Strategy which sets out a vision for the University, and sees the realisation of a number of exciting initiatives to help underpin our student recruitment, learning and teaching, research and innovation and operational performance.

Engaging with staff, students and the wider community to raise awareness of sustainability initiatives across a wide range of issues, through social and other multi-media channels and the delivery of engagement events and activities, you will have the opportunity to be involved with supporting our work and in achieving the Sustainability Strategy whilst communicating our values.

With an enthusiasm for sustainability, you will have excellent communication skills and a good working knowledge of social media and other multi-media channels. Experience of producing multi-media resources and design skills, including the use of Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator software are desirable.

To explore the post further or for any queries you may have, please contact: 

Thom Cooper, Sustainability Programme Officer

Tel: +44 (0)113 343 0508, email: T.C.S.Cooper@leeds.ac.uk

Sustainability Student Intern

Open to current University of Leeds Undergraduate students only

Are you excited about trying out new ideas and making a positive difference? Do you want to contribute to an exciting new engagement programme for Sustainability? Do you want to join a dynamic and committed team to help drive forward sustainability at the University? 

We are looking for a current University of Leeds undergraduate student to join us as an Intern in a professional office environment and in an organisation recognised for its high quality of academic provision and commitment to excellence and good practice.Our Internships are designed to enhance your employability and as such you will develop key skills and experience for your CV, including; team work; interpersonal and communication skills; initiative; high quality administration and organisation skills; and project development.

Sustainability at the University of Leeds has a high profile and is being embedded throughout the organisation, driven through our ambitious Sustainability Strategy which sets out a vision for the University, and sees the realisation of a number of exciting initiatives to help underpin our student recruitment, learning and teaching, research and innovation and operational performance.

We are looking for a proactive and creative individual to support us in delivering our ‘making the most of resources’ strategic theme, including the collection and monitoring of data, supporting re-use and recycling programmes and the promotion of low carbon activity.

With a good knowledge of current sustainability issues, you will have excellent communication skills and written skills, with experience of writing reports for different audiences, with a high level of accuracy and attention to detail. Experience of assisting in the delivery of projects and of social media are desirable.

To explore the post further or for any queries you may have, please contact: 

Mike Howroyd, Sustainability Projects Officer

Tel: +44 (0)113 343 7375, email: M.A.Howroyd@leeds.ac.uk 

 

 

Sustainability Architect update: Arianna

Sustainability Architect: what is it all about? Five months in this role and no two days are the same!

So much has happened since I took part in the Welcome to Leeds campaign back in October and it has been an exciting learning journey. One of the highlights of the past few months was the launch of SUS IT OUT!, the Sustainability Volunteering Week, in November; we wanted to offer a new, fun way to get involved with sustainability at Leeds, so we created a week-long programme of volunteering “tasters”. Organising a new campaign from scratch was definitely challenging, but it was a great chance for me to take the initiative, share ideas and work closely with the whole team to make the project a real success.

Sustainability never stops and I am ready for new challenges!

We are now busy planning new activities and volunteering opportunities for the spring and summer time – I’m sure there we will provide plenty of good excuses to take a break from books, spend time outside and make a positive impact.

Keep an eye on our Sustainability Volunteers Facebook group or sing up to our Volunteer Bulletin to make sure you don’t miss any news!

Have questions about volunteering with us? Send me an email: A.Griffa@leeds.ac.uk

Sustainability Architect update: Vaishnavi

The architect role I found is quite independent, where I’ve had a supervisor guiding me along the way by voicing my strategy proposals to the senior board, or working closely with me to discuss the feasibility of my ideas, but the majority of the work I was doing was projects I had designed for myself. I was given a lot of freedom, flexibility, resources and was linked in with valuable contacts who helped me accelerate my projects at different stages.

I really enjoyed taking up this one particular project, which included tying the cafes on campus to a company Too Good To Go with an aim to reduce food waste. I was initially conducting intense research in handling food waste by liaising with Living Lab project students and studying case studies of other universities to look at composting. which met with a lot of challenges along the way that were primarily logistical (for e.g moving waste across campus in trucks, hosting a composting facility on campus in a suitable location, etc.).

Halfway through, I realized that perhaps rather than looking at a solution to deal with waste, we could benefit from reducing the amount of waste produced itself, that is where Too Good To Go came into the picture. The app enabled cafes to sell leftover (fresh) meals produced on the same day for half the price before closing hours, which I imagined was exactly what students would buy into (healthy takeaway + cheap food). I drafted a proposal to expand the apps reach from the two cafes on campus already trialing the initiative, detailing the implementation from start to end, which my supervisor submitted to the board and got an approval of! Thereafter, I went along to train café managers to use the app and integrate it into their workflow; garnering an additional business profit of £1,000 for the company, as well as reducing a huge amount of food waste. 

In the next couple of months, alongside Charlotte (another Student Sustainability Architect) I am looking into setting up a Sustainability themed food stall on campus, to spread awareness and engage students with Sustainability related events throughout the year and what they can do to reduce their own impacts. In addition, I hope to solve the problem of food waste in the Refectory and other cafes by designing innovation solutions.

If you want to get in touch about any of the activities I’ve been involved with please email me – bn15v2m@leeds.ac.uk