Being a Student Sustainability Architect

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Student Sustainability Architect Rachel DeCordoba 

Our 2019/20 Student Sustainability Architect cohort share their thoughts and experiences with us as this year draws to a close.

Rachel DeCordoba – Conference and Curriculum

Wow, where did the year go? It’s hard to believe that my time as an Architect is already coming to a close, but it’s been a great experience, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity.

As a major highlight, the fourth annual Student Sustainability Research Conference proved to be a success. After helping to prepare for event, it was inspiring to see students present original research from so many different programmes and backgrounds, truly proving that sustainability is a multidisciplinary concept. Students worked to intentionally link their research with the UN Sustainable Development Goals as well, demonstrating how different research topics can be connected to larger common goals.  From viewing posters to attending presentations to experiencing interactive exhibits, I agree with conference attendees’ feedback that the day was both educational and enjoyable. I learned so much!

I also spent time this year working on how to integrate sustainability into the larger university curriculum and opportunities for research, including researching best practices from other universities around the world. Very quickly, it became apparent just how much of a leader the University of Leeds is in this field, from developing an auditing tool to link existing modules to Sustainable Development Goals, to compiling a comprehensive list of past dissertations relating to sustainability. Having such a large community at this university both amplifies opportunities for spreading the word about sustainability research and curriculum, but can also pose a challenging question for how best to reach students and staff. It’s my hope and prediction that with a combination of robust online resources and the further development of relationships between and within departments, students will gain a greater understanding of opportunities for sustainable research, and staff will utilise resources to implement sustainable aspects in their curricula. 

I’m so thankful to have been a part of this team, who has been so flexible with virtual and remote working during this pandemic (from different continents, no less!). While I’m sad that my one year at the university is nearly over, I look forward to watching future Architects and the Sustainability team continue with these exciting campaigns. This year’s experience has reinforced the idea that we need people from all disciplines to truly realise a sustainable world, and I look forward to seeing what comes next!

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Student Sustainability Architect Fern Spencer

Fern Spencer – Food Carbon Footprinting

My year as a Sustainability Architect has really flown by. I’ve been working with catering services on campus to research and communicate the carbon footprint of food, which has been a great experience to end my degree on.  

Interestingly, not much has been done in catering venues globally to educate customers on the carbon footprint of the food they’re eating. This has come as a surprise to me, considering the amount of attention ‘low carbon’ diets have achieved in recent years. Information on the high carbon content of animal products, such as beef, has been pulsated throughout social media, the news and in international climate change agendas. As a result, there has been a massive surge in the demand for plant based food, as people alter their diets.  

As a Student Sustainability Architect, I’ve been given the freedom to explore this myself and determine how best to educate customers of the Refectory (students, staff and members of the public) about the greenhouse-gas emissions associated with their food choices. This has involved using the TUCO tool, a carbon accounting tool specially developed for large catering organisations, to calculate the carbon footprint of meals in the Refectory.  

The Refectory has been forward thinking in increasing the availability and range of their plant based food options, including the introduction of the vegan deli bar. This year, I have collaborated with marketing teams to develop a strategy to communicate this carbon footprint. It was important that the strategy used would be effective at informing customers which foods were comparatively better and worse for the environment. This would allow them to make an informed decision on their food choices and hopefully encourage the consumption of lower carbon foods. Given the unprecedented global covid-19 crisis we find ourselves in, adaptations are being made and this will likely be incorporated into the Refectory website for new students starting in September.  

During the year, I showcased my research at the annual University of Leeds Student Sustainability conference and networked with many talented individuals who are also pursuing interests in sustainability.  

I’m extremely grateful for the freedom and support given to me by the sustainability team, and my mentor Ian, whilst completing the project. This was the perfect opportunity to put my knowledge and skills into practice, learn from others and gain confidence in the sustainability sector. So thank you for the opportunity! I look forward to seeing what future architects implement.  

Negar Naghshinehpour Esfahani – Cleaning Services Student Architect 

The last few months have been a great learning experience for me working as a student architect with the cleaning services. Initially, it was a steep learning curve. I had to quickly and effectively understand the departments’ needs and challenges. From there, we decided that the reduction of bin liners was the main priority which directly supported the universities wider goal of achieving a plastic-free campus by 2023.  The months that followed were filled with trying to find alternative materials for bin liners and to understand their respective environmental benefits. With the effects of Covid-19, I was not able to take the next step and implement the trail bags nor do a full LCA (life cycle analysis) on them.  That said, the key takeaways from this experience will last with me for years to come and I’d like to share my top 3 with you. 

1 – Be open to change and communicate well – understanding that as a researcher or consultant the need to check in with your clients’ needs should be number one on the agenda. Be willing to communicate over the course of the project as well as open to changing your ideas to fulfil the needs. You don’t want to end up with a great idea that’s not solving your defined problem. 

2 – Sustainability is not an easy choice – for many of us in this field, we’ve come to understand the various tradeoffs sustainability brings. In order to make the best decision, in this scenario, a full life cycle analysis should also be taken. This will then lead to a clearer understanding of what the impacts are from switching to an alternative material besides plastic. Although initially, it may sound like an alternative bin liner is the best decision, the specific details regarding its composition, weight, performance, end of life also play a critical role. 

3 – Learn from the wider community – I found it most effective when I shared my research and findings with the wider sustainable architect team as well as the wider University during the sustainability conference. It was during these times, I received valuable feedback and criticism to then take back to the drawing board. By sharing your research, other opportunities may arise and lead to collaborative working opportunities. 

Camila Limberg Dias

My name is Camila, I am an Msc. Sustainability and Consultancy student. I finish my work as a Sustainability Architect with an award “in hands” and with the feeling of mission accomplished. The mission to reduce single-use plastics in laboratories is already challenging, and together with the difficulties caused by COVID-19 and the lockdown, deeply affected much of the work. But the progress made during the last months brought me, and the other colleagues involved, many learnings and a great foundation to keep fighting plastics in labs.  

I was able to first work with the Protein Production Facility, mapping the consumption of plastics and the willingness to change behaviour from its users. This process showed us the challenges go beyond the lab facilities and its users, but involve the processes, the suppliers, the materials available, health and safety and other aspects. A coordinated action, bringing together researchers, lab technicians, purchasing team, health and safety team and cleaning staff will definitely escalate the various changes that can be done to reduce the use of single-use plastics, reuse them when possible and recycle more. 

The more detailed understanding of this challenge is the first step and the baton I pass for the next sustainability architect to spread such measures to other labs and generate a bigger impact for the University to comply with the pledge. 

I would like to specially thank Laura Hewitt (Lab technician at the Protein Production Facility) for the great ongoing work as a sustainability architect from staff and great supoort. Also, I would like to thank to the whole sustainability team for the opportunity of experiencing this and leave a legacy to the university. 

Thank you Leeds Sustainability Team! 

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Student Sustainability Architect Karolina Zarzyczny

Karolina Zarzyczny Biodiversity Action Planning

As a Student Sustainability Architect, I have spent most of this year working with the Residential Services to develop site-specific, Biodiversity Action Plan Recommendations. Biodiversity provides the foundation for ecosystem services required for human wellbeing. As the UK’s biodiversity is under threat, it is crucial to enhance biodiversity and maximise wildlife opportunities; especially in urban environments.  

Over the course of this academic year (2019-2020) I conducted habitat surveys across six off-campus residences; North Hill Road Residences, North Hill Court, Montague Burton, St Mark’s Residence, Sentinel Towers and Central Village. It was a fantastic opportunity for me to apply my fieldwork skills gained during my Zoology degree to the “real world”. Using ArcGIS and QGIS,  I then was able to create site-specific habitat maps which allow us to easily visualise the current habitats present. Moreover, the maps can be used to estimate the biodiversity value of each site by scoring it based on the quality and area size of the habitats present. This is important when trying to maximise wildlife opportunities across the residences. I was then able to use the maps and notes from the surveys to develop site-specific recommendations aiming to either enhance the biodiversity value of the site or to enhance the opportunities available for the residents, staff and visitors to engage with local wildlife and nature. My work has been shared with senior and site managers and hopefully when the time is right, the recommendations will be gradually implemented!  

I was hoping to spend the spring months conducting wildlife surveys and workshops with the residents, but due to the unfortunate COVID-19 pandemic, this wasn’t possible. Hopefully, the next student architect will be able to bring some of those ideas to life!  

Despite the challenges faced by everyone in the second semester, working as a Student Sustainability Architect has been a fantastic experience. I was not only able to apply a lot of the skills and knowledge gained during my degree, to the real world, but I also learnt a lot. I have gained a lot of knowledge into selecting wildlife friendly plants for various environmental conditions, and I also had the opportunity to attend skills-based workshops such as a Marketing and Communications training session. So, thank you for this opportunity and if you are a university student looking for a part-time role in sustainability, I cannot recommend this position enough! 

 

 

 

The Hidden Cost of a Party

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Creating noise nuisance can not only lead to hefty Council fines and a disciplinary from your institution but it could also be costly in repairing any damage to the property you rent if you hold parties. With the use of social media it’s now easier than ever to spread the word about a party you’re hosting and you risk dozens of strangers turning up and attracting the wrong crowd who won’t respect you, your property or your belongings. Once a large crowd gathers it is very difficult to disperse everyone and as a tenant you will remain liable for any damage caused by the guests- even if you did not know them.  Remember, you are not only paying for the repair itself but also the contractors time which can be very expensive- some examples of costs to expect would be;

Filling and painting over one damaged wall; £60 plus

New carpets; £500 plus

Professional clean; £50 plus

Replacing a broken sofa; £450 plus

If you are not towards the end of your tenancy your landlord can demand you pay for these costs straight away and if it is towards the end of your tenancy you risk losing your deposit altogether and being taken to court for any remaining charges.

It is very common for landlords to request references before allowing you to sign a new contract- remember to bare this in mind because even after you have paid for the damaged property your landlord would still have to be honest when asked if they would consider you a trustworthy tenant.  Some landlords require references from the previous five years so this could have a major impact on you for a long time to come.

Studying is very hard work and it is expected you balance this with a good social life but if you have friends around remember to limit the number you invite and only invite people you trust.  Speak to your neighbours and let them know to contact you if they are disturbed by noise from your property. Leeds offers a wide range of bars, pubs and clubs and it is a much better idea to go to these for a party rather than risking the consequences noise nuisance can bring.

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What I’m Doing To Celebrate End of Term

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The end of exams is a fun time for everyone.  It can often be a shock to the system for students to adapt to the sight of an empty Terrace pint glass instead of a library book. This transition results in a much needed ‘end of exams blowout’. The end of exam period not only benefits students in a positive way, it also affects University staff, lecturers in particular who are excited to see the end of rows of slumped heads and subtle texting in Roger Stevens on a Friday afternoon. A lot of local businesses also thrive from these festivities, especially those situated near the Otley Road region… What I’m trying to say is that students are not the only groups of people benefiting at this time of year.

Alongside hours of partying, noise complaints are also inevitable. Leeds has a very high population density, especially in the inner city which means that noise travels far. Even if you let your immediate neighbours aware of a party, it is still possible that people a few roads away can still be affected. I’ve heard lots of stories about parties getting out of hand, resulting in people’s possessions being stolen. Not only do I live in an area surrounded by families, we are unable to lock the doors of our bedrooms from the outside. This worries me that my valuables may be at risk if I was to throw a party, and so as a result, myself and my housemates have looked into other ways of celebrating this end of term.

To celebrate my end of year,  I’ll be going to Inner City Electronic (2nd June). More than 80 artists will be performing at 11 different venues across the city in a celebration of electronic music.  It’s not just about having a party. There will be feature talks, workshops, art and exhibitions. Afterwards we’ll probably head home to relax. 18 hours of partying in town is enough for one weekend!

Looking for ideas on what you can do? Check out the following link which lists what’s going on! https://confidentials.com/leeds/things-to-do

Myth Busting the House Party

My top tip to any student thinking of holding a house party is to think carefully whether you are likely to cause any offence or nuisance to those living around you- remember loud music can travel some distance and will affect more than your immediate neighbours.   

I’ve heard many DIY solutions that students have tried in the past to try and prevent the noise from the DJ’s and professional sound systems being heard. No amount of cardboard or mattresses pressed against windows will prevent your neighbours from hearing exactly what is going on! Especially if your guest list extends to 100+ people who will be in and out of your property and causing a disturbance as they make their way home through the neighbourhood in the early hours. And of course, I wouldn’t have this knowledge if it wasn’t for the University receiving numerous complaints about noise and having to speak to the students involved.

Here are a few more common misconceptions about house parties that I have come across.

1. The noise has to exceed a certain decibel level for action to be taken. NOT TRUE! A sound meter isn’t even used. The University and Leeds Antisocial Behaviour Team make an assessment based on who your neighbours are and how noise is impacts on the wellbeing of your neighbours.

2. Action can only be taken over noise that happens at night.  NOT TRUE! Noise is more of a problem for people after 11pm but action can be taken for noise at any time. Even at low levels if you have a neighbour that is more sensitive to noise, such as an elderly neighbour.

3. If I can hear the noise, investigators can take action. TRUE! If the noise is audible outside of your house, there is a good chance it’s loud enough to cause a problem for your neighbours.  Turn the volume down!

4. Having Bouncers will limit the number of people crashing your party and prevent problems with your neighbours. NOT TRUE! Bouncers are more likely to scare off your neighbours when they call around to let you know there is a problem.  Being able to speak to your neighbours direct about any issues as they arise is a far better way of dealing and resolving disputes. Disciplinary and enforcement action is a far worse consequence of making a mistake than having to apologise to the people living next door.

5. If you create excessive noise you are breaking the law. TRUE! Leeds Antisocial Behaviour Team can take enforcement action that includes the confiscation of equipment, house closure notices, fines and a criminal conviction.

6. If I let my neighbours know that I’m having a party then no action can be taken. NOT TRUE! I would always advise that you speak with your neighbours in advance of having your friends over and share your contact details. However, residential streets are no place for a party that continues past midnight and has over 30 guests at any time!  Your neighbours are still likely to make a complaint if your event is too big, too loud and goes on too late.

7. Its my birthday, a one off party isn’t going to hurt anyone. NOT TRUE! If every student has a house party for their birthday then that means  a lot of parties and a lot of lost sleep! Take your celebrations in to town or book a venue to hold your party.

8. Hyde Park is a student area, its okay to have house parties. NOT TRUE! Hyde Park is home to many different residents. No street is completely student only. We also receive as many complaint from students as other residents about house parties!

9. I moved into a property next to a noisy neighbour so I guess I have to put up with it. NOT TRUE! Let us know if you are experiencing a problem through our Helpline. You may not be the only person affected by the noise!

10. I can’t have my friends over at any time as my neighbours will complaint. NOT TRUE! No one is likely to object to your having your friends over if you do so in a reasonable way. Would you really like to live next door to a party animal if you had to be up for work or lectures at 9am?

For information on the University’s procedures in handling off-campus issues see my earlier Blog for details on the joint action being taken by the Council and Police to tackle noisy parties.

Sustainability Architect update: Clare

It’s not exactly an easy task, ensuring that every student at a university has the opportunity to access learning for sustainability. Especially at an institution as large and diverse in focus as the University of Leeds. Even more so when you have just 6 hours a week to commit to it…

Yet, when you take a closer look, it’s perhaps a little less enormous than originally anticipated. The information-gathering I did in my first few weeks as an Architect revealed that sustainability already appears quite frequently in certain areas, and through particular mechanisms, of the university curriculum. There are entire programmes with sustainability at their core, including BSc Sustainability and Environmental Management at the School of Earth and Environment and MSc Sustainability in Transport at the Institute for Transport Studies. Some programmes include sustainability modules, and for those students who can chose electives, Discovery module themes include Creating Sustainable Futures. For programmes that don’t include electives, some have had specific modules crafted by the Sustainability Service, like Sustainability in Healthcare for the School of Medicine. Students wanting to focus their dissertation research on a sustainability issue can explore opportunities with the Living Lab.

So it wasn’t going to be a case of starting from scratch, but more accurately, one of highlighting existing initiatives, joining up some dots, developing things further, and perhaps introducing new initiatives where gaps are revealed. All of which necessitates a more detailed picture of what’s already happening. One aspect of creating this picture has involved an audit of modules that include aspects of sustainability. None of my searches for a standardised approach to this sort of audit came up trumps, so I developed my own rule of thumb: if a module covers challenges within at least one of the three pillars of sustainability – economic viability, environmental protection, social equity – or explores how to tackle some of these challenges, it was added to my list. Applying these criteria as I worked through the module catalogues resulted in a list of 192 undergraduate modules and 133 postgraduate modules. Which are not insignificant numbers, but tell us relatively little on their own. To be really useful, we need to know how many students are enrolled on each of these modules, which of them is a compulsory part of a course, and a whole lot of other things. The search for these details is one of the things I’m currently working on, but at an institution as large as this it’s tricky to work out where those numbers can be found, or even if they’re kept in any one central place.

Alongside the module audit, I assisted with the design and running of the second Student Sustainability Conference that took place in February. Hosting 190 attendees, it featured over 30 student presentations, covering everything from sustainable drainage to microplastics, from vegetarianism of the Romantic poets to creative social activism. It’s a particularly important event, as it offers an opportunity to bring these pockets of changemakers together, to share their research, provide support or provide some challenge. Exposure to, and collaboration with, different disciplines is a core aspect of sustainability thinking.

Over the next few months I’ll be thinking more about how to gather insight into the levels of sustainability understanding that students have both at the beginning and at the end of their time at the university. That will give us a better sense of the degree to which the initiatives in place are adding up to a more sustainability-savvy student body. My guess would be that some good progress is being made at the current level of activity, but there’s much more that can be done to ensure that every student graduating from the university is a sustainability champion.

If you have any questions about the above, please get in touch – pccm@leeds.ac.uk

Sustainability Architect update: Rob

So far my role as a sustainability architect has been really varied and exciting! Together with Josh West (Sustainability Projects Assistant) I have been attempting to build sustainability into laboratory inductions. We have produced a ‘best practice’ checklist that will be circulated to labs soon, allowing for a reference point for sustainability in labs.

I have been involved in an equipment replacement scheme, jointly working between sustainability and the energy department, to replace energy intensive equipment such as drying cabinets and ovens. I have been involved in the data collection process through distributing plug in energy monitors that monitor energy intensive equipment. So far we’ve had a massive response from labs across the University, with multiple schools requesting energy monitors for their equipment. In turn we have collated a good dataset and hopefully, after I have finished the analysis, there will be some beneficial replacements taking place which will result in lower energy consumptions.

A real highlight so far was getting the chance to present at the University of Leeds Student Sustainability Conference, a interesting event with some brilliant ideas. Look out for the conference in 2019! Moving forwards, in 2018 I am keen to focus on getting more student engagement within laboratories (if anyone reading this wants to get in touch please email me!). We will also be focusing on reducing water consumption in labs. 

If you want to get in touch about any of the above please drop me an email – wsdrgi@leeds.ac.uk

Sustainability Architect update: Charlotte

My main deliverables as Student Sustainability Architect have been to conduct a comprehensive review of all the Great Food at Leeds food packaging to ensure that the Catering Services are implementing best practice within the business. Packaging, although essential for food hygiene, has a lot of implications, from its manufacture and the usability, to how it is finally disposed of or reused. It is important to consider these challenges and implications when assessing new packaging types!

Since the publication of the 25 Year Environment Plan by the current UK government, there has been a nationwide surge to reduce plastic-use and to create radical changes in packaging. I have conducted research on the wide variety of packaging types currently in use to see what can be swapped out for more sustainable options, or eliminated completely. I have enjoyed this research, and learnt a lot about the material components and their potential negative impacts. At present, I am currently conducting life-cycle analyses of the types of products used to aid recommendations to the University.

A key part of my job here is to propose solutions which are applicable to the business and can be a real game-changer. Solutions I’ve looked at include; deposit-return-schemes (DRS) and KeepCup libraries. DRS are where consumers pay a small sum (let’s say 10p) on a purchase which is then refunded when they return the item. In the UK, recycling has fallen to 44%, however the Campaign to Protect Rural England estimates that recycling rates would increase up to 98% if we have DRS in place.

Unfortunately there are no DRS machines currently on the market in the UK. To overcome this, I’ve been scoping out international companies with the expertise in this field to building relationships and scope possible future procurement opportunities.

Selling KeepCup’s at the University has been a great success, with over 600 units sold in the first few months of the initiatives launch. Despite this surge around campus, there are some things that could aid in increasing reusable use, such as a KeepCup borrowing scheme for when people may forget to bring theirs into uni. I’m still working on the logistics of how this could work across the cafes and eateries on campus, but hopes are this might end the need to buy a hot drink in a disposable cup!

The next few months will see the launch of the Sustainability Market, which will take place on the 30th of April (watch this space!). This will be an opportunity to chat with students, staff and visitors on what the Sustainability Service are working on around food waste and other initiatives. We want to hear YOUR thoughts of on food packaging and what you think should be a priority. Also, keep an eye out for more questionnaires and surveys dotted around cafes on campus, a great opportunity for you to voice your opinion on what needs to be done to reduce food waste and improve packaging!

If you want to get in touch about any of the above please drop me an email – ee14cd@leeds.ac.uk

The Bee Network – what a buzzing opportunity!

Bees, I have always had a soft spot for them. I was that weird fearless child who would push past my screaming mother with a glass and card to save that panicked little bee who just couldn’t figure out why the window wasn’t a passageway to the outside world again. From a very young age, I have always respected animals and found them absolutely fascinating.

As a recent Zoology graduate from the University of Leeds, I learnt even more about the importance of bees, not only for the maintenance of our ecosystems, but also to provide us with food via crop pollination. It wasn’t until I was lectured by an academic here that I heard about the three hives on campus and I knew I wanted to be involved with the Beekeeping Network as soon as possible. Protecting our bees is so important, especially as their population numbers are crashing due to increased urbanisation, pesticide use and introduced disease. Beekeeping benefits our bees by helping to re-establish their colonies and can improve local pollinator rates which in turn has a huge positive impact on your “feeling sorry itself” garden. We of course get a taste of locally sourced honey which is special in itself, and this of course reduces the demand for imported stock that has travelled a long distance, therefore cutting back on carbon emission impacts. There really wasn’t any reason why I didn’t want to sign up!

The first meeting took place in February where I was met with a lot of friendly faces including Jen Dyer. It was rather wonderful being in a room full of people who all wanted to be a part of something that benefited our bees as well as themselves. A few slides were presented to us that gave an overview of the colony structure and included some photographs of the hives from previous years. I never actually realised how many bees can fit inside a hive, it’s madness! A virtual hive was used during this session instead of a real one as the colder months leave the bees feeling very sleepy and inactive. This virtual hive wasn’t the most techy, yet still very informative. It consisted of a wooden box that contained several sliding panels with various pictures of the hexagonal structures inside. We were asked to identify which hexagonal cell contained honey, wax, eggs or diseases such as chalkbrood, a fungal disease that attacks the eggs and larvae. This triggered a lot of discussion and interaction which was fantastic as we were all able to learn from each other. We were informed that with the following months comes the buzzing activity and honey harvesting, so bring on the warmer weather!

I have now signed up to the Beekeeping Network newsletter and avidly follow their Facebook page which provides activity updates and general bee news. Feel free to contact Jen Dyer at j.dyer@leeds.ac.uk if you wish to find out more! It’s time to save our bees!

Written by Emily Rampling (Administration Assistant – SCAPE)

Nurturing student wellbeing is firmly Rooted in University life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Student Sustainability Architect update: Becky

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

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

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

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

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

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