Goodbye from this year’s Student Architects – Emma

I have been lucky enough to be one of the University’s Sustainability Architects this year. This opportunity has allowed me to gain a greater insight into the sustainability initiatives at the University, supporting projects with like-minded people, all from different backgrounds but with the same passion and desire to find sustainable solutions to the many challenges we face.

This experience has allowed me to further my knowledge within sustainability and develop valuable professional skills and experience. I found working as a close team and developing ideas together very successful. Team meetings were one of my favorite elements of the role which were always engaging and motivating (a refreshing break from studying!). One of the key things I learnt was that sustainability is a massive challenge within Universities, but I was overwhelmed to see and be involved in the efforts and the progress here at the University of Leeds.

One of my core projects throughout the year, was promoting and encouraging sustainable dissertations to students. This is an area in which I feel there is great scope within the University, and I am excited to see this develop further with some of the ideas we have been working on. One of the suggestions is to create a sustainable dissertation archive on our website. The archive would have a bank of past student’s sustainable dissertations which others could use to gain inspiration and ideas, and contacts for any further support.

The Student Conference on Sustainable Futures is also something I would promote to anyone looking for dissertation inspiration. Sustainable dissertations are something I have become very interested in over the past two years. I believe it is a great opportunity to invest a long period of time into exploring something that can significantly benefit society in some form. I chose to produce a sustainability themed dissertation based on a personal interest and a desire to contribute to sustainability regarding the future of textiles. My research has benefited me as an individual and significantly changed my process as a designer which has opened up a realm of new opportunities for me. By seeking sustainable alternatives, I have found more advanced solutions and more environmentally friendly ways of working. My passion is finding sustainable alternatives to pigments or dyes in coloring textiles, through bio-mimicry (the imitation of nature). I plan to keep researching within this area with the desire of making this a more commercial coloration process. One of the best things I have learnt and been inspired by during my role and my research is that you don’t have to study a directly sustainable degree, everyone can be sustainable and find more sustainable (and more exciting) ways of working within their discipline.

My role as an architect and working with the sustainability team really helped me develop my ideas and gain confidence in presenting my research. I had the opportunity to present my research at the Sustainable Futures Conference which was extremely successful and really built my confidence with public speaking. The conference is a great networking opportunity which I encourage everyone to get involved with.

I am privileged to have been a part of the team for the past year and have thoroughly enjoyed my experience. The sustainability service has an exciting future ahead and I believe it is one of the most valuable services within the University. Many thanks to everyone in the team who has encouraged, supported and inspired my sustainable journey. The experience has been a pivotal step in preparation for my career as a designer, and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity.

To end on the most valuable thing I have learnt throughout the year; sustainability brings benefit not sacrifice.

– Emma

Goodbye from this year’s Student Architects – Matt

My time as a Student Sustainability Architect is coming to an end and it seems odd to be reflecting on this year as it’s flown by so quickly!

My primary responsibility for the year was to increase the integration of sustainability in dissertations – in line with the University’s concept of a ‘living lab’ and the Sustainability Strategy theme of Building Knowledge and Capacity. This materialised in the form of the ‘Building Knowledge and Capacity Student Award‘, which rewards students for their brilliant and innovative dissertations in the field of sustainability. I’m thrilled to have been a part of setting this up and hope that, as it grows and develops, students from disciplines that are on the peripheries of the sustainability agenda are encouraged to contribute.

The inaugural Student Conference on Sustainable Futures in February has to be my highlight from this year. It was such a vibrant and engaging day that I am confident will continue to be hugely successful in the coming years – especially if the amazing catering carries on!

The last things to do are to thank the team at the University’s Sustainability Service – particularly Josh and Claire, whose enthusiasm and tireless work has made it a joy to work with – and to say good luck to next year’s Architects who I’m sure will continue to do great work and be agents for change.

– Matt

Welcome to our new Sustainability Architects!

We’d like to give a warm welcome to the newest members of the Sustainability Service, Emma Weaver, Matt Morton, Gloria Koepke and Mumo Mutulili.

EMMA

Hello, I’m Emma one of the 2016/17 sustainable architects. I am a fourth year Textile Design student here at the University of Leeds. I am a creative individual with an inherent desire to give something back. I have a fascination for nature and its capabilities and I’m extremely excited by the “sustainability era” that surrounds us. My role as an architect gives me an opportunity to promote my passion to other students within a variety of disciplines throughout the University.

One of my main desires this year is to integrate sustainable knowledge to students, but mostly my intentions are to promote the potential and benefits of sustainability within student educations. My number one aim this year is to promote that our sustainable future doesn’t have to involve sacrifice. Instead, we should be recognising and benefiting from the innovative, revolutionary potential it presents us with.

I am very much looking forward to the year ahead, and hope to influence and inspire other students to get involved and benefit from this fascinating field.


MATT

Hello! My name is Matt and I’m one of four Sustainability Architects for 2016/17. I’m currently studying for an MSc in Sustainability and Consultancy here at Leeds. Following my environmental undergraduate degree, I decided I wanted to further my understanding of sustainability and the shared value it has for both business and society.

My duty as an architect is to diffuse the principles of the sustainability strategy throughout the University. The aspect of my role that I’m especially looking forward to is the opportunity to engage with a variety of students and staff members to find out what sustainability means to them. In the coming year, I aim to make sustainability accessible and achievable for a wider audience by highlighting its interdisciplinary and holistic nature – allowing individuals to be aware of how it can align with their existing learning. Through this, I hope that I can encourage it to be an integral part of people’s consciousness and empower them to be agents for sustainable change in their professional and personal lives.


GLORIA

Hi, I am Gloria, one of the four new sustainability architects. I am currently studying Mathematics as an Erasmus exchange student for one year here at the University of Leeds. After three years of studying I am thrilled to be actively getting involved with the real-world challenge of sustainability. Aside from studying various algebraic structures and proofing endless theorems, I enjoy sourcing the tastiest non-dairy milk and vegan Mousse au Chocolate recipes, experimenting with DIY cosmetic products, and I have previously volunteered for the nationwide German organisation “Foodsharing”. Since 2012 this organisation has prevented approximately 6,692,466 kg of food from being thrown in the garbage by collecting it from supermarkets and distributing it to the public for free!

Amazing projects are coming up at the University in 2017, such as the Student Conference on Sustainable Futures in February. Over the next semester, I want to investigate the challenges and possibilities students have making sustainable choices on campus by conducting one-week-long self-experiments.

MUMO

Hello, I’m Mumo and I’m part of the 2016-2017 Sustainability Architect’s team at the University. I am currently in my final year of an integrated Civil Engineering Masters degree. As a student studying Civil and Structural engineering, sustainability is at the fore front of my daily activities as I am trained to design and operate systems that use energy and resources sustainably, at a rate that does not compromise the natural environment.

I strive to make daily contributions to building a sustainable society by sharing my knowledge with my course mates, housemates and my family, ensuring that we use resources efficiently and effectively. I keep up with current news and information being shared from different parts of the globe in order to understand multiple views to solve sustainability challenges.

My aim as a sustainability Architect is to increase student and wider community participation on this vital subject, particularly focusing my efforts on efficient and effective use of resources. I am very excited to share my ideas and get the student community involved in this journey!

 

Keep up to date with all our architects on our website and social media pages!

Sustainability Architect Spring Update – Amy

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Since meeting with several engagement coordinators, student enhancement officers and faculty education service managers I have been able to better understand how a Sustainability Rep would fit into different faculties across the University. It has allowed me to grasp an idea of what is required of me, as a Sustainability Architect, for the role to be taken seriously within each faculty. Therefore, over the next couple of weeks I am working towards completing a draft profile for the Sustainability Rep position as well as researching how to attain HEAR (Higher Education Achievement Record) accreditation for the role .

Additionally, having been liaising with the Sustainability Service’s Projects Officer, Amanda, and Manager, Claire, in looking into the possibility of of setting up a new community initiative, loosely based around a mentoring, and will aim to increase student engagement within the Leeds community and better integrate students with local residents. I look forward to seeing where this will lead!

Sustainability Architect Spring Update – Will

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During my time as a student architect, I have been working on trying to increase the recycling rate at University ran student halls of residence. Currently, the recycling rate at some student halls is only 20%, which falls well below the UK average household recycling rate of 45%. Initially, I  hoped to achieve an increase in participation of recycling through making the Sustainability Service’s A-Z Recycling Guide available on the University of Leeds App, and through introducing food waste bins. The concept of incorporating the recycling guide into the app has now developed to the stage where the Service is drafting up a separate app specifically to do with Sustainability at Leeds, which will lead to a wider outreach of sustainability related issues. However, the idea to introduce food waste bins across all residencies has been tabled for the time being due to resource constraints. On the other hand, some of the green reps have taken it upon themselves to trial the use of food waste bins in their halls of residence in a couple of flats. In the coming weeks I will be getting involved in the ‘Leave Leeds Tidy’ campaign, acting as a student representative for the Sustainability Service. This initiative does fantastic work in finding a use for many of the items that get left behind at the end of the year.

Sustainability Architect Spring Update – Ileyas

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My name is Ileyas and I am one of the four Sustainability Architects this year. I am a second year Politics student, so naturally my interest is in democracy and other political concepts. As a result, my aim at the beginning of the role was to explore ways in which I can fuse my area of interest with the need to embed sustainability in the University’s student population. After liaising with Claire, the sustainability manager, we agreed that my key objective would be to embed sustainability through encouraging higher student participation in democratic initiatives, such as voting in local elections and campus-wide elections.

In my action plan, my main aim is to create an event for like-minded individuals who have an interest in a variety of issues, be it democracy, sustainability or just people who want to have a positive influence on our community. This forum would not only be for students at the University of Leeds, but also encompass the community in which our University is apart of. Other angles from which I hope to achieve my objective, involves working in collaboration with LUU on their variety of events focusing on the upcoming EU referendum, and using that opportunity to steer students towards sustainability and the ways in which politics and sustainability are interlinked.

If you haven’t registered to vote for the EU referendum yet, follow this link!

Sustainability Architect Spring Update – Shara

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“My current project with the Sustainability Service is looking at the way we can integrate sustainability into student dissertation topics; particularly those outside of traditional schools like Earth and Environment. By doing this we hope to catch a range of students from different disciplines thus increasing engagement across the university.

The project is trying to capture students who are currently preparing for to undertake their dissertation in either their final year of studies or at a postgraduate level.

In order to achieve this, I have contacted several schools across the university and have set up a workshop to facilitate this discussion. The workshop will be an interactive forum that allows students to share ideas and look at the ways that sustainability can be related to degree and topic choices. The session aims to help build and develop ideas for students. This can either be for students with a clear idea of their topic or indeed those who are still in the early planning stages. This session will demonstrate the flexibility of sustainability and how it is not designated to a particular subject area; it crosses disciplines and is relevant in a range of contexts.

It is hoped that we will see a range of students from different subjects decide to undertake a sustainability related dissertation in the near future!”

The first workshop is on 28th April 2016, for more information and to register your attendance please follow this link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sustainability-service-dissertation-workshop-tickets-23117119928?aff=eac2

Sustainability Architects 2015/16

Amy

Hello – I’m Amy, one of the four new Sustainability Architects here at the University of Leeds. My role as part of the Sustainability team is to encourage and promote student and community engagement with all things sustainable!

As part of this I hope to continue to develop the role of a “Sustainability Representative” within each school.  Their role would be to put sustainability on the agenda by integrating knowledge of it into teaching and assessments, promoting sustainable practice within their school and departmental society encouraging other students to get involved, share their ideas and help to develop new initiatives for both environmental and social sustainability.

Being from Leeds, I understand how important it is to integrate students with the local community. There is no better way of doing this than through sustainability! I aim to do this by promoting  volunteering and community engagement projects within the University and Union setting – bringing to the attention of students what is available for them to get involved in around Leeds.

I hope to create an environment where students feel they are able to get involved with sustainability and make a difference!

 

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Hey I’m Will, a second year Environmental Science student at the University of Leeds. I am planning to take a year out of University during my third year, hoping to gain more valuable experience in sustainable roles. As well as representing the sustainability service at events, I hope to increase student engagement in sustainable practices, particularly focusing my efforts on halls of residences and sport societies.

 

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Hi I’m Shara, I am currently studying my masters in Sustainability and Consultancy here at the University of Leeds. My undergraduate degree was in International Relations and my dissertation looked at environmental change and energy security in the European Union. After taking a break from University to work and travel, I started to look into sustainability in a wider context, which lead me back to higher education.

This year I hope to increase the range of individuals engaged in sustainability; moving it out of traditional circles and into mainstream discussions so it’s accessible for everyone.

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My name is Ileyas Mogeh and I am a student sustainability architect. I am currently on my second year of BA Politics. Being a sustainability architect is an exciting way to make a positive impact in your community. As an architect, you are able to do this through your area of interest, for example in my case this is democracy. This ensures that the role is enjoyable, whilst also challenging and developing your knowledge of sustainability within higher education . By August, I hope to have helped embedded sustainability in the student community through increased participation in democratic activities.

Student Sustainability Architects

As part of the University’s commitment to increasing student engagement, and ensuring sustainability is relevant to all students, we employ four students each year to work alongside the team to increase our engagement within the student body.

The Sustainability Architects are here to support the implementation of our strategic aims and our commitment to increase awareness of sustainability with students on campus.
The four Sustainability Architects in 2015/2016 were, Amy, Will, Ileyas and Shara. Each of them were focusing on a different section of student engagement, including developing a sustainability rep role, increasing sustainability themed dissertation opportunities across all schools, strengthening student voices through political and governance activities, and promoting increased recycling and reuse rates within Halls of Residences.

Keep up to date on the architects progress and experiences with the team via our blog. The architects also attended student facing events, such as open day talks, presentations and more to discuss sustainability at the university and how students can get involved.  If you would like involvement from the student architects at a talk or a student facing event please contact us.

If you are looking information on the Staff Sustainability Architects network please click here.

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Student Engagement

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The Sustainability Service has a commitment to make sure that all of our students become sustainability literate, and graduate with related key skills and knowledge. This forms one of the four themes in our Sustainability Strategy and we have a number of key performance indicators that help us to monitor our development in this area. We support our students to be responsible citizens and an active part of society, both locally and globally.  There are a variety of ways to get involved with sustainability; from working with us as a student architect, or intern, through to volunteering on one of our projects, or even taking a module in sustainability.

“Sustainability is part of being a student at the University of Leeds, no matter what your discipline.”

One of our key messages is that sustainability is applicable to all, and all disciplines.  Graduates are going to have to make some tough decisions in the future and we want out students prepared to make these decisions with a key knowledge and understanding of the importance of sustainability.  Alongside formal learning in sustainability, we focus on supporting students in developing, understanding and communicating the skills that they have – from volunteering, internships, and auditing, to trying their hand at beekeeping!

You can find out more about our Student Sustainability Architects here.

Integrating sustainability into the curriculum  
Take a look at the hundreds of elective module “Creating Sustainable Futures” available to most undergraduate students, here.
For ideas and tips about completing a sustainability-related dissertation, no matter what your subject, contact us.