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:

Sophie

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!

Katy

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!

Lulu

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.

Nicola

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!

Dave

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.

Any comments or ideas please let me know by emailing d.burt@leeds.ac.uk

Chloe

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.

 

 

 

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.

I’d love to hear any ideas or feedback you have so please feel free to email me at pmnjw@leeds.ac.uk

Lulu Kariba, Student Engagement Architect

Hello

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! My email is ee18djsb@leeds.ac.uk

 

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

 

 

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 

 

 

NEW JOB OPPORTUNITY!

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

Sustainability in the Curriculum: LUBS Commercial and Professional Skills Module Update

This year, Masters students taking the Commercial and Professional Skills module at Leeds University Business School were given the opportunity to work with the Sustainability Service as part of a consultancy project!

Posing as internal consultants, student groups were tasked to review the student and staff awareness of sustainability initiatives across the University and develop recommendations that could improve people’s knowledge of the Sustainability Strategy and what they can get involved in.

After initial meetings with members of the Sustainability team, groups went away and collected data using a questionnaire to gain a better understanding of people’s sustainability knowledge and activities that are already taking place. They also reviewed specific areas of engagement by the University, using their results to highlight gaps for improvement and make recommendations.

The student’s proposals ranged from utilising social media trends and behaviours, to increasing visibility on campus, and tailoring campaigns for specific audiences.

This is just one of the ways we are integrating sustainability into student learning as part of our commitment to giving all students the opportunity to study and be involved in sustainability.

Student Consultancy

University Sustainable Garden Featured on Leeds List

The University of Leeds Sustainable Garden has recently been featured in Leeds List’s 7 Secret Things That Only Leeds Locals Know About article.

The Sustainable Garden was created in 2013, and is open to staff, students and members of the public. Regular gardening sessions can be viewed on our events page and are open to all.  These sessions allow volunteers to learn new skills in growing food and to inspire people to try it at home. The food is intended to be picked; instructions of what can be picked, and how to pick, are clearly signposted throughout the garden with a bespoke ‘traffic-light’ system.

To read more about the garden click here.

7 Secret Things That Only Leeds Locals Know About

The Brownlee Centre and Bodington Cycle Circuit now open!

 

Bodington Playing Fields had a £5m investment in 2017 to create world class sports facilities. It is home to The Brownlee Centre which is the UK’s first purpose-built triathlon training centre and sits alongside a 1 mile (1.6km) cycle circuit, one of the longest in the country.

Alongside the cycling and triathlon facilities, there are a large number of sports pitches which are regularly used by students who are part of our Leeds Gryphons Sports Clubs and Social League Teams as well as staff members and the local community. Bodington Playing Fields are located just three miles north of the main University of Leeds campus and compliment the nearby Sport Park Weetwood.

The 1 mile (1.6km) cycle circuit is one of the longest in the country, providing a safe traffic free environment for cyclists of all abilities, and a good place to head out for some fun on your University of Leeds hire bike!

We have signed the UN SDG accord!

The Vice-Chancellor has signed the UN SDG accord. The accord, firstly, is to inspire, celebrate and advance the critical role that education has in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the value it brings to governments, business and wider society.

Secondly, the Accord is a commitment learning institutions are making to one another to do more to deliver the goals, to annually report on each signatory’s progress, and to do so in ways which share the learning with each other both nationally and internationally. An objective is that sector SDG reporting metrics will be presented at the annual UN High-Level Political Forum.

For more details see http://www.sdgaccord.org/

As well as signing up as an institution, individuals can also sign up to the commitment, here.