Leeds Sustainable Curriculum Placement Blog – James Bate

Having just completed the MSc Sustainability and Consultancy course within the School of Earth and Environment, I was delighted to be selected to work on the Sustainable Curriculum Programme on a part-time basis working with Kelly Forster and Thom Cooper. I believe that education can change the mind-set of a generation, therefore by embedding sustainability within the curriculum, students will be engaged with environmental issues and equipped with the knowledge and skillset to apply sustainability in full-time graduate employment.

As I studied BA Geography, I have been aware of sustainability throughout higher education, but this placement made me realise that sustainability is related to all academic disciplines in different ways. As a result, the placement involved developing resources for the various schools and faculties across campus, highlighting the links between certain subject areas and sustainability. In addition, the placement aimed to improve understanding of sustainability for staff who may not have heard of the Sustainable Development Goals, sustainability on campus Leeds and the Leeds Living Labs.

It has been a pleasure working in the Sustainability Service office, learning more about some of the amazing sustainability projects taking place across campus. Following the announcement of the ‘Climate Crisis: Principles for Action’, the university is making huge steps in ensuring the student body is engaged with sustainability, in part thanks to the expanding curriculum programme.

Student Architects 2018/19: Final Project Blogs

Our 2018/19 Student Sustainability Architects have come to the end of their year with us. In their posts below, they give an overview of what their projects have achieved as well as some insights on what they have gained from their time with us.

If you are interested in applying to be a Student Sustainability Architect in 2019/20, please visit sustainability.leeds.ac.uk/student-sustainability-architects to find out more.


Since October I’ve worked with Great Food at Leeds as a Student Sustainability Architect, delivering a campaign aimed at reducing staff and student meat consumption in the Refectory. For a number of years I’ve had a personal interest in how individual food choices can affect the planet, especially with regard to meat consumption, so being able to run a project focussed around something I am so passionate about has been great.

Undertaking some survey research with a team   of volunteers in the Refectory outlined the customer demand for a move towards more plant-based meals also. Therefore, I have spent my time since these results promoting the exciting meat-free options that the Refectory already offered, as well as lobbying for the introduction of more vegetarian options. This culminated in Great Food at Leeds’ contribution to the university’s 2019 Healthy Week in June, where plant-based eating was the main focus area. Approximately one-third of the meals sold during Healthy Week were vegan, which was a huge success! I hope that next year’s promotion is as successful as this year’s.

I’ve learnt a lot during my time in this position. Although running a project with little experience was initially daunting, the experience has been invaluable. As someone who wants to work in sustainability in the future, it’s been great not only planning and overseeing my own sustainability project but also getting a deeper insight into the work that the Sustainability Service do more widely. Additionally, conducting a small sustainability project within a large organisation has been really useful for me to understand the challenges facing the implementation of sustainability projects. Despite the steep learning curve and challenges along the way, I believe that my experience in this role will help me progress in my future career in the environmental sector. I’m so grateful for the opportunity and hope that the Refectory’s focus on meat reduction continues far beyond my time in Leeds!


My time as a Sustainability Architect has been a journey. Not only has this role reaffirmed my passion for sustainability but it has provided me with more personal goals for the future. The journey began with big ideas to transform the way students took part in and engaged in sustainability. I wanted to further my knowledge of delivering sustainable projects and supporting sustainable goals.

I had previously said in my first blog post as Sustainability Architect ‘I hope I can encourage others to engage with sustainability projects, discussions and aim for it to make a personal contribution to your life’. This goal still holds true today and my role this year has helped me realise some of the goals I set out in the beginning. I have been able to engage students in discussions about sustainability and offer further insight and information in the process.  Over my term as the student citizenship architect, I have aimed to further the conversation of plastics to fellow students through a film screening, student-led discussion panel and podcast. I have also helped the wonderful sustainability services team in their pursuit to tackle student consumption waste and waste in the local area through various activities this year.

I have gained an incredible insight into what it takes to plan and develop goals into reality. The time and effort it takes to hopefully make a change however big or small. Sustainability to me goes beyond what I study and my personal interests. It is a topic that affects all areas of life, even more so now than ever. My role has allowed me to make some contribution to the dialogue of discussion needed and it is my aim to continue to do so. The University of Leeds Sustainability Service – particularly Amanda have truly helped me shape my journey with vision and more knowledge.

I wish all future Sustainability Architects the best of luck and hope they enjoy the experience as much as I have done.


This year I have been privileged to work as one of the Student Sustainability Architects working with the Halls of Residence. My main projects have included setting up food waste recycling in flats at Devonshire Hall and organising two British Heart Foundation (BHF) pop-up shops at the University to encourage students to shop more sustainably (i.e. from charity shops).

I also had the opportunity to take over the University of Leeds Instagram account for a week as everyone was moving out of their accommodation at the end of the year. The main messages were about donating your unwanted items to charity as well as a few top tips on how to make moving out easier. This was a daunting experience, to begin with but also a fantastic opportunity to relay some really important messages to a large audience and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience (once I’d got used to being on camera).

If you’re coming (or coming back) to Leeds in September, on the 30th September the British Heart Foundation will be holding a massive pop-up shop outside the Union building. Buying from charity shops not only raises money for that charity but it is also a much more sustainable (and cheaper!) way of getting all the things that you need for your time at University. Please come along!

Working with the Sustainability Service has been a fantastic experience and I have gained a lot of experience that will no doubt help me in my future career. I am also leaving with a renewed enthusiasm to pursue a career in sustainability. I would like to thank everyone in both sustainability and residential services for this opportunity and for their support. I would strongly encourage anyone wanting to work in sustainability to consider applying to be a Student Sustainability Architect during their time in Leeds.


During my year as the Blueprint Architect, we have seen some incredible achievements with the launch of Blueprint, Leeds’s new sustainability engagement scheme, taking place in October. We signed up over 30 schools and services to commit to their 5-year Sustainability plan and currently have 7 teams live with their Blueprint’s fully functional. The journey of seeing these teams brought onboard as pilots to trial the scheme, to the point we are at now, with another 7 teams ready for sign off by heads of the department has been a fantastic experience. The reach of Blueprint since its launch is a testament to its’ success which we have had reiterated to us in the positive feedback from talking to teams while carrying out workshops and scoping sessions.

As part of my role we have created a tailormade Sustainability scheme which can be implemented across the whole University, the work I have done with teams developing the consultation process and design of the Blueprint has been particularly satisfying to see the advancements in methods and results of our new programme. The future is bright for Blueprint and we can look forward to bringing on board and running productive workshops with more schools and services to unite the university on joint Sustainability projects.

One of the things I have been involved with this year is aligning the Blueprint scheme with the University’s Sustainability strategy. This has been an opportunity to align the sustainability work of the individual department’s around University to our long term plan in Sustainability. The Blueprint process has also been made into a full team effort, we wrote the Blueprint manual over the course of the year which explains exactly how we carry out the process as well as all the findings and actions we have created from the trial and error over the course of our Blueprint pilots and more recent Blueprints.

The experience has been a long road of learning from mistakes on how to run workshops, how to score impacts and opportunities and interact with teams to maximize our time and benefit to departments. It’s been a pleasure to see through the work which I began, to the point of it being fully operational and functioning. Blueprint has been time-consuming, had ups and downs and been stressful, but most of all I am proud of the work I have contributed to the current project and excited to see where it takes us as a department and the potential for the sector within Sustainability to create bespoke Sustainability planning. It’s a pleasure to sign off from the University after two fantastic years knowing we have created a fabulous new engagement scheme and in the knowledge, my contributions have helped shape what Blueprint has become. Over and out.


Well, that was quick! It seems like the other day when I was writing a blog at the start of my time as a Student Sustainability Architect and now I am reflecting back over the year.

I joined the team just before the announcement of the university’s pledge to become single-use plastic-free. This was an incredibly ambitious commitment as I soon came to realise. I had two primary tasks over the course of the year – to find out what (and how much) single-use plastic there was on campus, and to discover success stories of people or places that have already introduced initiatives to reduce single-use plastic.

I found that the university uses an incredible amount of single-use plastic – laboratories alone bought over 1 million items from just one of our three main suppliers – but there has already been some amazing work done to eliminate this plastic with the Stage@Leeds becoming single-use plastic-free and 180,000 disposable coffee cups saved through the implementation of the KeepCup system.

This role not only allowed me to help in the fight against unnecessary single-use plastic, it also opened up many more experiences and opportunities. I was lucky enough to present some of my research at the Sustainability Conference, I had access to additional seminars on a variety of professional skills, I took part in climate workshops, and I happily embarrassed myself in an Instagram Live Interview! The range of experiences and development opportunities available was amazing and very enjoyable.

Last but by no means least, I want to thank all of the sustainability team – and particularly my great supervisors Thom and Lucy – for all their support and enthusiasm (and letting me steal their desks). It was amazing to meet a group of people so committed to making the university a better place. Thank you too to Kelly for helping all the Architects throughout the year and good luck to all those Architects for next year!


My year as a Sustainability Architect has flown by! I have thoroughly enjoyed it and have both seen a lot behind the scenes in the Sustainability Department of the University, and learnt a lot about how biodiversity is approached when looking at developments on the campus and in the residences.

Over the course of the year, I have surveyed eight of the University’s residential sites- Ellerslie Global Residence, Back of Cromer Terrace, Henry Price Halls, Charles Morris Halls, Lupton Halls, Devonshire Halls, Springfield Mount Residences and Lyddon Hall. These are all very different- from the very traditional grounds of Devonshire which have strong historical links, to the large open courtyard of Lupton, to the individual gardens of Springfield Mount and the small areas of grass around Lyddon. It was interesting and enjoyable to walk around the sites with a base map and mark on the areas of each different habitat I could find.

After converting the data into a digital map, I inputted this information into the Biodiversity Tool, which produces a value for biodiversity for each site. This is an arbitrary number which reflects the size and range of habitats on the site, as well as how good for biodiversity the different habitats are. This is really useful, as if developments take place at the site, it can be resurveyed and a new value calculated, which will allow developers to see if they have met the same standard of biodiversity as previously. Excitingly for me, three of the residential sites had their grounds improved, allowing me to compare the biodiversity values before and after. For each of the sites, the value greatly improved, which proved to me that biodiversity is a key consideration when developments take place at the university.

Using the information I had gathered, I produced Biodiversity Action Plans for each site, which give goals and targets for the sustainability and residential services to take into account in years to come. Suggestions I have put forward for the sites range from conducting an insect survey to building some wetland areas.

This project has improved my ability to identify different species of plants a great deal, as well as being able to categorise habitat types and recognise which ones are particularly beneficial for wildlife. It has been interesting to see biodiversity through the eyes of many different stakeholders, and better understand the challenges that are faced when developing the grounds of the University with biodiversity in mind. I would thoroughly recommend anybody takes the opportunity to be a student architect, as it is a brilliant way to meet new people and do something completely different!


Work Experience Blog: Fred


Hi everyone,

My name is Fred and I currently attend Beckfoot School. This year, we were offered the chance to go out on work experience at a place of our choice just before we break up for the summer holidays. Luckily, I was accepted by the Leeds university sustainability team. For the next week I will get to understand what they do in order to make sure the university is as sustainable as possible.

On my first day here, the first thing I got the chance to see was the bike hub set up all around the university campus. I learned that while here, it is cheap and easy to hire out or lock up bikes within the vicinity of your work place. Also, if you have any problems and need help fixing your bike, then there is a workshop in the afternoon three times per week where Romain, a member of the sustainability team, will be able to talk you through the procedure of how to replace or repair parts of your bike or fix it for you. I got the chance to help out with repairing some of these bikes and really enjoyed learning how to do it. I now know how to replace a tyre, check for a puncture, and repair faulty breaks.

On my second day, I went to a conference lead by Yorkshire Water. At this conference I got to learn bits about the six capitals (financial, natural, manufacturing, social and relationship, human and intellectual) and how businesses, like Yorkshire Water, have to decide how to implement these into the way that they run their business. I found this experience very interesting because I had the chance to see what happened at these kinds of events and meet some of the people who attend them. I also had the chance to research the kind of activities that went on due to the work put into the living lab.

On day 3 of my work experience, I had the chance to look through the SDG’s that the sustainability team have to think about when they are planning any projects. The SDG’s are basically goals that the university has to try and meet set up by the UN. The sustainability team will then provide evidence of where they have reached each of these goals which are expected of them. I had to set up the template for them to then input all of the evidence that they had acquired over the year where it will then be ranked against all of the other universities that have signed up to this.

Later on, I got to go and look around the garden to see what had been planted by the students, I also got to hear about what was planned to happen with the garden later on in the year. I enjoyed this because I got to see what some of the university students did in their free time.

On my fourth day of work experience, I began the day by talking to some of the sustainability team about what they had done in their careers so far. I found out about some of the courses they had taken at university and what jobs they had done prior to joining the sustainability team. I found this very useful because it gave me an idea of some of the opportunities I will have when I go into work. I also got some tips from them about what to look for in a job and what to think about when I am picking a course to do at university.

I also had the chance to learn about the student sustainability conference from last year, which had been put on by the sustainability team in order for them to learn about the sustainability of the world or show off any presentations about research they had done recently. They also get to listen to a talk by someone famous on sustainability. My job was to think of any ways I thought that they could improve this conference or anything that I thought they could add to it.

On my final day here with the sustainability team, I joined some of them while they had an introduction to the “team” app this morning. I really enjoyed this as it was a lot of fun trying out all of the different things you could do on it and gave me a chance to see what kind of things the people working at the university use.

In the afternoon I had to answer some questions on what a new university student starting here would want to know about and look for before they start here. There were also some questions on what the student would want to know about sustainability before joining. This was interesting for me because it made me think about what I would want to know about a university before choosing it.

Overall, I have really enjoyed my time here with the sustainability team and would like to thank them for the experiences I have had here with them and how they have helped me along with all of the tasks I have done here, especially Kelly Forster for organising all of this for me and letting me come along.



Celebrating Sustainability at Leeds

Leeds has won an award for embedding a collaborative approach to sustainability across all aspects of the University curriculum.

At the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN) conference earlier this month in São Paulo, Brazil, the Leeds Sustainable Curriculum, led by the University’s Sustainability Service, received the Whole Systems Approach Award.

The award recognises sustainable campus projects that have excelled at integrating sustainability into the culture, education, research and operations right across the University’s Schools and services.

The ISCN is an association of more than 80 colleges and universities from more than 30 countries, which aims to support the global higher education sector as a leader in sustainability.

Dr Louise Ellis, Sustainability Director at Leeds, said: “Winning this award is a reflection of the hard work of a number of different people across the University, including staff from research, teaching and professional services.

“Working in collaboration has been the key to our success. Our approach to the curriculum reflects the wider University approach to sustainability – looking at the whole picture rather than individual projects.”

Victoria Smith, interim Executive Director of the ISCN, said: “It was so affirming and inspiring to see the quality of submissions we received.

“The award winners demonstrate outstanding leadership for sustainability in higher education and we are thrilled to showcase their work and highlight the global importance of their contributions.”

The Leeds Sustainable Curriculum aims to embed sustainability into all undergraduate and postgraduate courses. This includes offering over 130 modules as part of its Creating Sustainable Futures Discovery Theme. The modules allow students from all disciplines to explore the environmental, social, cultural and economic issues facing society, looking at how they can be tackled from a local and global level.

The Leeds Sustainable Curriculum is intrinsically linked to the Living Lab programme, bringing together students, academic and operational staff to research sustainable solutions to real-world challenges using the University campus as a test bed.

The improved Roger Stevens Pond at the University of Leeds

One of the Living Lab’s recent success stories includes the refurbishment of the Roger Stevens Pond (pictured, above). In autumn 2018, the Living Lab brought Estates Services together with academics and students from the Schools of Biological Sciences, Geography and Civil Engineering to create a space for teaching and research.

The University of Leeds Sustainability Service has exciting plans to develop the Leeds Sustainable Curriculum even further next year. Keep up to date with its progress along with other staff and student opportunities here.

Further information

  • For additional information, please contact University of Leeds Media Relations Manager Anna Harrison via a.harrison@leeds.ac.uk or +44(0)113 34 34196.
  • The ISCN provides a global forum for universities pursuing sustainability across their educational and research missions, and operations. ISCN Members commit to sustainability principles according to the ISCN Sustainable Campus Charter. Founded in 2007, the ISCN features international awards, conferences, and working groups to promote best practice exchange. More information on the ISCN and its Members can be found at http://www.international-sustainable-campus-network.org/

Sustainability in Catering Services: Healthy Week 2019

Hi, I’m Katy, and I’m approaching the end of my term as Student Sustainability Architect for the University catering service. My main aim in this role has been to encourage Refectory customers to reduce their meat consumption, and instead opt for some of the delicious plant-based options served on the Green & Go and Tossed Salad counters. Recent research has shown the importance of reducing meat consumption, particularly ruminant meat, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, water use and land use. A focus on meat reduction has recently been implemented into Great Food at Leeds’ Sustainability Strategy as a result of my work!

My recent project has been to implement this sustainability focus into Great Food at Leeds’ offering for the 2019 Staff Healthy Week. Between the 17th-21st June, a free piece of fruit will be available with every vegan meal, and the Green & Go counter will be serving only vegan meals for the entire week. Additionally, a Street Food Hut will be outside the Refectory all week, serving fresh and delicious vegan meals. This will be a huge step forward for Great Food at Leeds in working towards its new sustainability goal. Reducing personal meat consumption is an achievable goal for everyone, and we hope that this year’s Healthy Week offer will inspire customers to eat more meals with vegetables as the main focus.

I’m excited that planetary health and personal health are being combined for 2019 Healthy Week. Please visit the Refectory and our Street Food Hut outside the Students’ Union between the 17th-21st June and buy a delicious plant-based meal to support sustainability in catering at the University of Leeds!


Student Sustainability Architects Update

This year’s Student Sustainability Architects are all well underway with their projects. Find out what they’ve been up to below:


Hi, I’m Katy, the Student Sustainability Architect for the Catering Service, and I’m delivering a project aimed at reducing staff and student meat consumption in the Refectory. I’m now five months into my role and am loving it! For a number of years I’ve had a personal interest in how individual food choices can have an impact on the environment, so being able to run a project so focussed around something I am passionate about is great. So far I’ve undertaken some surveys looking at the staff/student view of the current meat-free meals in the Refectory, finding that while Refectory does provide many meat-free options, there are a number of ways we can increase the number of customers who choose these options. I have drafted a communications plan and I am in the process of delivering a social media campaign aimed at meeting this goal. Hopefully, by the end of my term, more customers will be aware of, and will choose the meat-free options when eating in the Refectory!


It seems not too long ago I started my work as the Student Citizenship sustainability architect.  In the beginning, the areas I wanted to explore revolved around getting students to engage with sustainability in a way they may not have previously. This still holds true today, but I have found my ideas have narrowed down. So far, my projects are evolving steadily and will hopefully make a positive impact on campus and in the local area.

The process has been fulfilling, challenging and enjoyable.  In the coming weeks, I am working on opening a discussion on the issues of plastic consumption. This event will be part of the Sustainability Conference Fringe events. I hope this event will facilitate discussions towards our interactions with consumption and the road towards being single-use plastic free by 2023.  Other projects planned this year will include tackling consumption in clothing and promoting a clean local environment through cleanups. The main plan is to enable students’ engagement and citizenship towards sustainability in their daily lives and the local community. I look forward to planning and implementing these projects as they continue.


Hi Everyone. I’m Nicola, a final year PhD student studying Bioenergy in the School of Chemical and Process Engineering. This year I have been working as one of the Student Sustainability Architects where I am working to reduce waste in the University Halls of Residence.

So far I have helped to re-establish food waste recycling in flats at Devonshire Hall. Food waste that is collected is taken to an anaerobic digestion plant in Wakefield where it is used to produce bioenergy to power local homes and businesses. Approximately two-thirds of flats have chosen to have a food waste recycling bin put in their flat and we have already seen an increase in the amount of food waste collected.

I am also working with students to help reduce the amount of waste produced. This includes encouraging everyone to recycle as much as possible, donate spare belongings and look in charity shops for things that you need rather than buying everything new – this also saves you a lot of money! On the 30th September, The British Heart Foundation will be coming to campus (outside the Union building) to hold a pop-up shop where you can grab a bargain and buy all those things you may have forgotten to bring to university. Please come along!

If you live off campus and are not sure about what can be recycled in your area take a look at the Leeds City Council Page here – there is probably more than you thought!


Hello, I’m David and I have been working on the new SINGLE OUT pledge by the university to phase out single-use plastic by 2023. This is a huge task as plastic is used almost everywhere and so initially my main aim has been to work out what and where single-use plastic is used on campus. We have three areas that we are focusing on; labs, catering and offices. We have gathered feedback from students and staff across the campus and the information we have collated is being used to help determine what solutions can be implemented. To further develop our knowledge of what single-use plastic the university uses, we are also working with the catering service and purchasing department. We have already begun to collaborate with some labs and services on reducing single-use plastic including plastic audits in offices, reducing water bottles at careers fairs and spreading best practice in labs.


My name is Chloe, and I am looking at the biodiversity of the university residences as part of my student sustainability architect project. This has involved me walking around surveying each of the halls of residence, particularly the larger ones like Lupton and Devonshire Halls. I have been identifying the different plant species and their distribution and categorising them in order to input the data on the University’s Biodiversity Tool. This calculates a biodiversity value for each of the sites, so if any improvements are made or the site undergoes development, it can ensure that the biodiversity is either maintained or improved by comparing the values. An example of this is the areas around Lyddon and Charles Morris Halls, which I surveyed in November, and will re-survey once the current landscaping works are complete, in order to quantify the improvements.

Next, I hope to create a Biodiversity Action Plan for each of the sites, in order to work out what can be done to maximise the benefit the plants will have on other species and on staff and students.


I’m the Student Sustainability Architect working on the Living Lab this year. I identified key areas to be targeted in order to encourage greater engagement with and participation in Living Labs projects across the University, including the website, the curriculum, the Student Sustainability Conference and producing video content. There have been some really exciting Living Lab projects with a wide range of students and staff involved. I want to highlight these projects and people further in order to celebrate what has been achieved so far and inspire people with knowledge about the kinds of things possible.

We’re updating the website with a more user-friendly layout as well as producing some new content. I developed some resources (inspired by the University of Edinburgh’s Living Lab “toolkit”) to help with the planning, writing and completion phase of a Living Lab project. I’m also in the process of conducting interviews with students, academic staff and operations/professional staff who’ve been involved with the Living Lab and these are forming the basis of case studies. It’s been really interesting gaining such in-depth and personal insights; for instance, I spoke to Dr Chris Hassall (School of Biology) about his work developing the Roger Stevens pond, which was fascinating! My work on the curriculum was largely focused on module mapping in order to identify which ones constituted Living Lab modules and to highlight those that have potential through work placements or research projects. The next step is to develop some engaging video content that can be used on the website and at events!






Welcome to This Year’s Student Sustainability Architects

The University of Leeds Sustainability Services team is pleased to welcome eight new staff members, who will each take on the role of a Student Sustainability Architect.

The new Student Sustainability Architects will provide support with student engagement activities, events, campaigns and initiatives. They take the lead on delivering projects that align with our strategic objectives and also develop their own ideas to increase student participation with sustainability. Please help us to welcome Dave, Katy, Nicola, Lulu, Chloe, Sophia, Rory and Clare to the team.

Katy Warner, Sustainability in Catering Architect

Hi, I’m Katy, and I’m currently studying a Masters in Climate Change and Environmental Policy. I’m one of the Student Sustainability Architects for 2018-19, working in sustainability in Catering Services. One of my main sustainability interests is in food procurement and the impact that your food choices can have on the environment.

This year I am aiming to work with the University Catering Service to reduce the meat content of some of the meals served on campus and to increase the number of vegetarian options. Did you know that livestock production is responsible for 14.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and that by feeding crops to humans rather than animals we could feed 3 billion more people? Hopefully, I will be able to encourage staff and students to be more conscious of the environment when they made their food choices! This is a significant task, and I’m excited to get started.

Sophia Nicolov, Living Lab Architect

Hi, I’m Sophia Nicolov and I’m a second-year PhD student. My research focuses on whales and marine ecosystems, bringing together the Environmental Humanities and marine conservation sciences. I’m researching some of the most pressing issues of our generation so I really care about sustainability and finding ways to tackle these problems.

I’m a Sustainability Architect for the Living Labs programme, which I’m really excited about because it addresses a range of sustainability issues in innovative ways with diverse researchers. My PhD is really interdisciplinary, so I can’t wait to work with researchers from different disciplines and help create some exciting projects and networks. While I’m really passionate about my own research I’m also driven to make a practical difference – this is why it’s so great to be working on this project.

I’ve been a student for six years now (a long time!) so I have a good understanding of what engages students. Since my undergraduate degree, I have used my own assessed work to explore environmental issues and this puts me in a good position to offer guidance to students undertaking Living Labs dissertations and projects. With a background in humanities, I’ll bring some creativity to this role – hopefully I’ll get students from the arts, humanities and social sciences engaged alongside those from STEM subjects!

Rory Hayes, Blueprint Architect

Hello! I’m Rory, a final year BA Geography student here at the University. This year I’ve been hired to continue the work I took part in last year as part of my industrial year working with the Sustainability team, piloting the new engagement scheme called ‘Blueprint’. After the success of the pilots we carried out over the 2017/18 academic year, Blueprint has now launched in full and is something we are getting really excited about in the team. My role this year is mainly to aid in the running of workshops and engagement sessions, as well as continuing the work I did last year to assist and continue to build the new scheme and ensure its successful implementation with teams.

We hope that Blueprint will mark the next step in embedding Sustainability at the University of Leeds. I hope to get out and talk to as many people as possible across campus and work to encourage collaboration between schools and services, by using the knowledge I have of the University from my placement year. By sharing my enthusiasm I want to involve as many people as possible in Sustainability all across campus to try and make a real difference!

Clare Martynski, Sustainability in the Curriculum Architect

Following an enjoyable twelve months as a Student Sustainability Architect, I’m delighted to be back for another year! Since previous blogs have covered a bit about me, my interest in the role, and an insight into what I worked on last year, I’ll keep this short and sweet.

I’m looking forward to extending the work that I contributed to last year, continuing to make strides towards fully integrating sustainability into the curriculum. That includes getting a firmer grasp on what a sustainable curriculum looks like for the University of Leeds, and drawing further on the expertise and enthusiasm that already exists throughout the institution.

And of course getting involved with the next Student Sustainability Conference, for which plans are already afoot!

I’m really excited to be working with Kelly Forster this year, who is bringing fresh insights and new energy to the curriculum work. And I’m looking forward to getting to know the new Architects who are bringing an array of experience to the roles.

Nicola Wood, Residential Services Student Engagement Architect

Hi Everyone. I’m Nicola, a final year PhD student studying Bioenergy in the School of Chemical and Process Engineering. My project focuses on how algae can be grown in wastewater treatment facilities to help remove harmful contaminants from water and to produce oil that can be turned into a sustainable source of fuel.

As one of this year’s Student Sustainability Architects, I will be working with the halls of residences to inform and engage students about sustainable living. There are lots of tiny changes that everyone can make to live a more sustainable lifestyle and with such a large student population in Leeds, we have the opportunity to make a real difference.

Lulu Kariba, Student Engagement Architect


My name is Lulu and I am glad to be joining the Sustainability Architect team this year. I am currently doing a Masters in Sustainability and Business at University of Leeds. I have an interest in various aspects of sustainability, particularly ethical/green consumption as well as sustainable lifestyles. As a sustainable architect I am excited to learn new things about sustainability and use my experience to fulfil my role.

This year I would like to make a positive contribution however big or small and hopefully inspire others to do the same. Sustainability is part of a wide range of topics and issues, but sustainability can also be personal. I hope I can encourage others to engage with sustainability projects, discussions and aim for it to make a personal contribution to your life.

I look forward to working with the student community, the university and the local community to promote sustainability through various projects.

Chloe Badge, Biodiversity Action Planning Architect

Hi everyone, my name is Chloe and I am in my final year of BSc Environmental Science. My sustainability architect role is focusing on biodiversity around the campus and university accommodations. Over the coming months I will be surveying some of the university residences to look at their current biodiversity value, and looking into ways they could perhaps be improved. My first task is some areas of empty grass around Charles Morris halls, and looking at what things can be planted to attract more wildlife, but also be of value to students living there.

I love being outside and am passionate about us looking after our local wildlife, so I’m really excited to be involved in this at Leeds University!

Dave Burt, Plastics Architect

My name is David Burt and I am at Leeds studying an MSc in Climate Change and Environmental Policy. My sustainability architect project is looking at how to minimise plastic waste, particularly single-use plastics. This is getting plenty of media attention everywhere from supermarkets to the legend that is David Attenborough, so it’s an exciting time to make a change. However, it’s not as easy as swapping to paper straws, (plastic is everywhere!) but it is a challenge I look forward to.

I am really keen to help Leeds Uni reduce plastic waste and the more people that get involved the better so if you have any ideas on how you think we can reduce plastics at uni then please let me know!

To keep up to date with progress on each of the Architect’s projects follow us on social media and search for #ArchitectsofPossibility.

Great Food at Leeds (GFAL) receives the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s highest accolade

Great Food at Leeds (GFAL) is delighted to announce that it has received the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s highest accolade, a three-star ‘Food Made Good’ sustainability rating. The team achieved an overall score of 70% over three main categories; Sourcing, Society and Environment.

Beverley Kenny MBEDeputy Director of Commercial Services, said “Receiving the highest rating at the first attempt is a fantastic achievement. It is a reflection of the commitment of the entire team and the hard work they do every day, ensuring the catering service supports the sustainable aims and objectives of the University. We look forward to using the feedback from the Sustainable Restaurant Association report to guide improvements in sustainability across our catering outlets”.

Find out more at the following link:

GFAL receives high marks for food sustainability

Progressing Campus Sustainability: The University of Leeds joins the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN)

The University of Leeds has joined the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN), a global network of universities committed to holistically integrating sustainability into campus operations, research and teaching.

“The University of Leeds is proud to be an international university which has sustainability at the heart of what we do. Being part of the ISCN will allow us to further enhance our dialogue and knowledge about best practice in sustainability and to be part of a global education community working to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals.” Sir Alan Langlands, Vice-Chancellor, University of Leeds

The International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN) provides a global forum to support leading colleges, universities, and corporate campuses in the exchange of information, ideas, and best practices for achieving sustainable campus operations and integrating sustainability in research and teaching.

In 2009, the ISCN partnered with the Global University Leaders Forum (GULF), a World Economic Forum initiative bringing together the heads of 26 top global universities, to develop the Sustainable Campus Charter, which organizes campus sustainability into 3 core principles, requires a commitment at the highest level of the institution, and includes annual reporting on sustainability goals, initiatives, and performance.

To date, over 90 Members represent top-tier colleges and universities from over 30 countries across the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.

“We are delighted to welcome The University of Leeds into the ISCN and look forward to providing a platform for international value exchange and partnership on campus sustainability,” says Bernd Kasemir, Secretary of the ISCN Board.

For more information on the ISCN, please visit: http://www.international-sustainable-campus-network.org




Do you want to play a key role in creating a truly sustainable university? Do you have significant experience of working in a senior sustainability role combined with a proven ability to lead and manage others? Are you passionate about having a positive impact on society whilst effectively driving forward institutional change?

We are looking for looking for a Deputy Director (Sustainability Service). For more information and to apply please visit: https://jobs.leeds.ac.uk/vacancy.aspx?ref=FDSUS1007