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2023-24 Student Sustainability Architects

Group of women holding a photo frame, which has the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) written around the edges of the frame

For the 2023-24 academic year, we welcomed twenty-four Student Sustainability Architects to the team; a record number of part-time student roles within the Service.  

Projects for the 2023-24 academic year cover a range of different programme areas including the University’s Climate Plan, the Student Sustainability Research Conference 2024, Sustainable Travel, Leeds Living Lab, the Sustainable Labs programme, Biodiversity and community engagement.  

This year, we have also partnered up with different teams across the University to deliver collaborative projects including the Employer Engagement Team, Catering Services, Residential Services and ResLife, the School of Earth and Environment, the Central Communications Team and the Sustainable Curriculum Climate Principle project team. 

We can't wait for you to meet this year’s Student Sustainability Architects... 

Sustainable Travel

Kylan Goulding - Student engagement with Sustainable Travel

Kylan Goulding

Kylan is a final-year economics student and a sustainability architect.

Kylan will support the communications and engagement planning around the Annual Travel Survey, whilst also raising awareness, increasing engagement from students, and helping inform efforts around sustainable travel. 

My project is focused on travelling to university sustainably, which is also a theme of economics I am fascinated by! Last year I had the opportunity to study abroad in Taiwan which was an amazing experience. I will do my best to contribute to the sustainability team and graduate smoothly!

Leo Swarbrick - Active travel audit on campus

Leo Swarbrick

Leo is a final year BSc Economics student from Manchester working on active travel audit on campus. Leo recently returned to university following his industrial placement year, where he worked in the Asset Management team at Arup in Leeds, and is currently in the process of writing his undergraduate dissertation, which is focused on investigating the economic and environmental impacts of emissions charging schemes.

Outside of work, Leo enjoys playing sport, spending time outdoors and is a keen surfer and the current Vice President of Leeds Surf Club, where he helps organise trips both across the UK and abroad. Leo is also a member of the UoL Men’s Lacrosse Club.

I think this project is a great opportunity to raise awareness of the active travel facilities on campus and help promote sustainable travel amongst students.

Residential Services

Emily Barker - Circular economy

Emily Barker

Emily is a 4th year Geography (BSc) student from Stockport and has just come back from her placement year with the Met Office and Environment Agency. This year Emily will be working with residential services to promote circular economy practices and reduce single use plastics, looking to work with charity organisations and University of Leeds partners to minimise waste, including that of food waste and textiles waste. Emily's future aspirations include working within the sustainability sector, or government, in order to help businesses and sectors minimise their contributions to climate change and look to benefit people from all backgrounds, making communities more liveable and affordable, whilst allowing biodiversity and the economy to thrive.

I have always looked to act sustainability, acknowledging my own contributions to this. I am excited to engage with initiatives that set the University of Leeds up for future generations whilst ensuring that students needs and desires are met effectively. I hope to bring engaging events to students and tackle the issues that we are all impacted by.

Madeleine Norris - Biodiversity action plans and habitat maps

Madeleine Norris

Madeleine is studying a masters in Geographical Information Systems.

For my sustainability project I am making habitat maps of Charles Morris Hall and Lupton Residences to highlight the existing status of the halls and then creating biodiversity action plans with suggestions of improvements to the grounds.

Sustainable Curriculum

Fatema Al Shirawi - Student Sustainability Research Conference 2024


Fatema is a 2nd year student from Oman, studying International Business and Finance after studying on the International Foundation Programme.

Before coming to Leeds, she worked as an English teacher and motivational speaker and looks forward to starting her own business after graduation.

Fatema will be responsible for the Student Sustainability Research Conference 2024 and looks forward to organising it for all students from the twelve member institutions of Yorkshire Universities interested in sustainability and the environment.

I’m excited to be part of this project to enable the students and give them a platform to meet, learn, inspire and connect. I’m also interested in this project as it is a carbon-neutral conference. I can’t wait till 6 March 2024!!


Malin Faux - Supporting the development of the Leeds University Network for Sustainability in Higher Education (LUNSHE)

In 2023 the Sustainable Curriculum programme launched LUNSHE – Leeds University Network for Sustainability in Higher Education. The network will meet monthly and be a catalyst for new ideas and knowledge exchange around embedding sustainability within programmes and student opportunities.

Malin will work with academic staff members from the School of Maths and the School of Food Science & Nutrition to further develop the LUNSHE network. She will also work with other Sustainable Curriculum Architects to explore avenues to raise student awareness of engagement and participation in the Sustainable Curriculum programme.

Maureen Kewe - Evaluation of student engagement in Welcome, Induction and Transition sustainability resources

Maureen Kewe

Maureen is a 2nd year International Business and Marketing student and has been assigned to oversee the Evaluation of student engagement in Welcome, Induction and Transition sustainability resources. As a recent addition to the sustainability team, she brings a fresh perspective and a commitment to integrating sustainability learning materials on campus.

She is eager to contribute her skills and enthusiasm to create spaces that not only inspire but also prioritize environmental responsibility.

Beyond my professional aspirations, I am an advocate for sustainable living and an explorer at heart. Whether it's immersing myself in the latest sustainability trends or engaging with communities to foster environmental awareness, I am dedicated to making a positive impact. I am excited to embark this journey and work alongside other architects as we positively contribute to the university's mission. Let's create a sustainable tomorrow, today!

Annalisa Mack - Enhancing the staff Sustainable Curriculum SharePoint resource

Annalisa Mack

Annalisa is a Biodiversity and Conservation MSc student and one of this year's Student Sustainability Architects (SSA). Her project is focusing on developing a SharePoint platform for staff with scholarly content, case studies, toolkits, and other relevant materials to support them in embedding sustainability in curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular sustainability learning opportunities.

She will also work with other Sustainable Curriculum SSAs to develop avenues to raise student awareness of, and participation in, the Sustainable Curriculum programme.

I am really interested in sustainability education, particularly in a way that is relevant to students’ subject of study, so that more people can get involved and contribute towards achieving a more sustainable and just future.

Marianna Rostkowska - Supporting the Sustainable Curriculum programme to build connectivity with student societies

Marianna Rostkowska

Marianna is a 4th year student at the University of Leeds pursuing a BSc in Sustainability and Environmental Management. She has just returned to university from her placement where I worked as a research analyst. Although her primary focus was on data-related tasks, she infused her passion for sustainability into the office by developing an environmental plan for her workplace, which is still in place today.

This summer, she was chosen as the Sustainability Ambassador for the Sustainability Summer School organized by the United Nations Association Poland. She has actively participated in student societies and was elected as the President of the Polish Society for two years in a row. She also joined other cultural and sports societies.

I am eager to make a meaningful contribution to this field and I believe in designing and coordinating initiatives that integrate sustainability into student societies.


Engagement with Sustainability

Harriet Adjabeng - Student engagement with the Living Lab programme

Harriet Adjabeng

Harriet Ann Adjabeng is a 2023/2024 Chevening Scholar and is currently pursuing an MSc in Sustainability and Consultancy at the School of Earth and Environment. Harriet is a freelance fashion writer, children's book author, and researcher, specializing in sustainable fashion. She is a contributing author having written a chapter in the book, Fashion Marketing in Emerging Economies. She is also a 2022 Community Solutions Fellow where she served the Fashion Impact Fund in Manhattan, New York, as a communications and partnerships fellow. Harriet's interest in sustainable fashion has largely been focused on research and education.

Harriet founded Quinsera, a sustainable Fashion community information platform to drive sustainability at the core of Ghanaian fashion businesses by providing research focused and women-led sustainability education and information. She is passionate about amplifying the voices and leadership of women to mitigate the issues of climate change and move towards a sustainable future; particularly within the Ghanaian fashion industry to influence global action.

Harriet will be working on the Leeds Living Labs Project, where she will contribute her expertise, commitment to research, and dedication to advancing sustainable practices.

Nancy Blake - Activities and events for sustainable careers

Nancy Blake

Nancy studies sociology and is the sustainability architect working with careers at the University of Leeds to promote sustainable careers.

I have a keen interest in making the climate crisis a central part of young people's education. Outside of studies, I enjoy films, reading, and ballet.

Alejandro Bueno Espindola - Faculty of Environment student-led project

Alejandro Bueno Espindola

Alejandro is a Student Sustainability Architect at the University of Leeds whose role focuses on fostering collaboration between the School of Environment (ENV) and the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPS) through systemic and impactful sustainability initiatives.

Coming from a Mechatronics and Robotics background, I've witnessed the limited exposure to sustainability within engineering curricula. This realization fuels my passion to bridge the gap between engineering and environmental perspectives. My project, The Eco-Innovate Competition, which is taking place on the 24th of April, where students work together in diverse teams to create a holistic and systemic intervention to a local sustainability issue.  My hope is that by participating, students will get to learn from each other and to get a better grasp of the interconnected and interdisciplinary nature of sustainability issues, which are also multi-level and multi-scalar. The work of environment and engineering students will be vital in the future, and neither exists in a vacuum.

Education initiatives planned for this semester:

  • "Retaining waste value as a Community" Presentation at SSRC24
  • Eco-Innovate Competition : Bridging Disciplines for Sustainability
  • Earthling Ed@LUU

Email Alejandro if you're interested in collaborating with him on the above initiatives or if you want to participate in the Eco-Innovate Competition.


Rufus Davies - Engagement with the University’s Climate Plan

Rufus Davies

Rufus is a third year BSc Sustainability and Environmental Management student and is looking to pursue a career in law and diplomacy after completing a related master’s degree.

With this role he will be running events concerning progress on delivering the University’s Climate Plan. An event in February will focus on renewable energy (e.g., geo-thermal) on campus as part of the Climate Plan’s “Pathway to Net-Zero” as well as “Net-Zero City.” Another event will be concerning “Institutional decision-making.” This will see University governors and management attend to interact with students.

Sign up to attend these events when they are posted on the Sustainability Service Instagram, website, and other socials!

Katherine Fox - Supporting engagement with sustainability in catering

Katie Fox

Katie is a fourth-year student in the Sustainability and Environmental Management programme, and has recently completed her study abroad year at McMaster University (Canada) on Indigenous and Peace Studies.

Over the year, she will be working with Head Chef: Lisa Hall, within the university’s Refectory to reduce food waste at both the kitchen and consumer level. Career-wise, she aims to establish herself within the agricultural sector as a logistics and waste expert for food supply chains and wants to complete her Master’s dissertation on this topic. Alongside her Sustainability Architect role, as a Laidlaw Scholar, Katie conducted a research project on attitudes towards reintroduced beavers in the Tay Valley, Scotland. Katie is also part of the Volleyball and Vertical Fitness society at the university!

I am hoping for this role to give me a better understanding of how organisational policies impact consumer behaviour such as how much food waste an individual produces as food choices are one of the most climatically impactful we make on a daily basis. But most importantly why I chose this role is because I want to help the University of Leeds Achieve their Net Zero goals as it makes me feel that I have agency and impact on something as complex as the climate crisis.

Kate Howard - Exploring Plastic Free zones

As part of ongoing work, we are keen to identify and celebrate the areas of campus where avoidable single use plastics (SUPs) have been removed and one potential approach could be through the designation of ‘Plastic Free Zones’.


As an architect exploring Plastic Free Zones, Kate will:

  • Undertake research into the concept of Plastic Free Zones and collate insight into best practice around implementing Plastic Free Zones within higher education settings 
  • Incorporate insight into best practice around communicating the implementation of Plastic Free Zones and encouraging the associated behaviour change 
  • Draft proposed criteria, test this amongst staff and students and pilot in areas of campus to inform the longer-term reporting and monitoring of operational SUPs. 

Hannah Long - Campus biodiversity monitoring

Hannah Long

Hannah is a biology student with a particular interest in ecology and conservation biology. She spent the previous year studying a nature conservation programme in Sweden and is passionate about conserving and enhancing biodiversity, wanting to also improve the variety of nature found on campus.

My project is campus biodiversity monitor in which I will be promoting the monitoring of biodiversity along the campus transects.

The university has 3 transects which are positioned across campus for biodiversity monitoring, these each contain 5 FIT (flower insect timed) sites in which abundance of pollinators are studied for research purposes. Hannah will photograph animal, bird, insect and plant species, recording the findings into a database using the iNaturalist program, a simple tool people can use in their day to day lives. Biodiversity monitoring provides data, which is used to establish hotspots for biodiversity, meaning management can be species specific and the success of implemented measures can be monitored.

I will be leading group sessions in which we will wander around campus observing and recording biodiversity, with the aim of helping people build a stronger connection with nature. If anyone who feels this group may be for them, please contact me to collaborate with the project.

Isabel Nia Davies - Student engagement with sustainability

Isabel Nia Davies

Isabel is currently studying BA Geography and Economics, and through that has been able to learn and engage with sustainability initiatives, from the grassroots all the way up to policy implementation.

This year she will be working on the student engagement with sustainability and believes that finding ways to work together through collective action is one of the most important ways to find sustainable solutions to the world’s biggest issues.

Engaging with sustainability is now more important than ever. Whether or not you have a personal interest with sustainability, the reality is that we all need to start thinking about how we can adopt more sustainable practices into everything we do. Getting students involved with sustainability is such a great way of creating a new generation that is striving toward creating alternative sustainable futures. There are so many ways that the student body can get involved with different initiatives across campus and I’m really excited to work in my new role to inform and engage them with these programmes. I can’t wait to get started!

Surbhi Thakur - Gair Wood outreach and engagement

Surbhi tending to the recently planted trees at Gair WoodSurbhi is an MSc Sustainability and Consultancy student at University of Leeds.

As a seasoned professional in sustainability, project management, and corporate social responsibility, I offer comprehensive services aimed at driving impactful change. With expertise in ISO standards, project management tools, and CSR strategies, I specialize in providing tailored guidance to integrate sustainability into operations, ensuring timely delivery and budget adherence through meticulous planning and execution, and crafting impactful CSR initiatives.

As the current Student Sustainability Architect of the Gair Wood Project, Surbhi's role encompasses overseeing and coordinating various initiatives aimed at fostering sustainability within the University of Leeds community and beyond.

My involvement in managing the 'Gair Wood' initiative has provided me with a profound understanding of the intricacies involved in nurturing and sustaining ecosystems. Whether it's collaborating with research teams, engaging with local community organizations, or spearheading outreach efforts, I am dedicated to ensuring the long-term viability and impact of sustainability initiatives

Ashley Victoria - Engagement with the Sustainable Labs programme

Ashley Victoria

Ashley is a PHD student and is working on the Sustainable Labs project, an area she was also involved with last year as a student architect.

As a PhD student, Ashley spends a lot of time in the lab, and understands the challenges faced when trying to implement sustainable thinking into experimental work. No two labs are the same and so she has been working to provide relevant guidance through the development of the Sustainable Labs Resource Hub, which was started last year.

I am also keen to increase awareness and engagement with the Sustainable Labs programme among staff and students and support more labs to get involved in the Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework (LEAF). I’m super excited to be part of this work and support our amazing lab spaces in their sustainability goals.


Social Sustainability

Rishabh Bezbaruah - Positive Impact Partners

Rishabh Bezbaruah

Rishabh Bezbaruah is currently pursuing M.Sc. Data Science and Analytics at the University of Leeds, as a Chevening-Adani AI Scholar. Before joining the programme, he has contributed to impactful projects in healthcare, nutrition, and child welfare at prestigious organizations such as NITI Aayog and UNICEF. His work included developing data-driven insights for policies, managing projects integrating AI in healthcare, and enhancing children's well-being through data analysis and visualisation.

In his current role as a Student Sustainability Architect for the Positive Impact Partners (PIP) project, Rishabh explores the synergies between the University and local community organisations. This initiative aims to enhance the city's resilience to climate crises, aligning with the University of Leeds' Climate Plan’s ‘Net Zero Cities’ principle. The project emphasizes leveraging creative, bottom-up approaches co-produced with community organizations to increase the city's resilience to climate challenges.

Coline Lightfoot - Community gardening projects lead

Coco is a third-year student studying BSc Sustainability and Environmental Management. She has studied modules such as ‘Managing biodiversity’, ‘Introduction to ecology’, ‘Ecosystems; process, pattern and change’, ‘Conservation science’ and ‘People, sustainability and the environment’. Alongside this, she has volunteered for the conservation volunteer society, Yorkshire wildlife trust and the Student Sustainability Consultancy society, where she was lead consultant on a project which conducted a habitat survey for a client.

I’ve always loved being outdoors, whether that’s looking after my garden at home with my family or going on lovely long walks in the Peak District! Being a student sustainability architect for the community gardening projects has therefore been perfect for me as I’ve translated my passion into real-life projects. Particularly, my role has consisted of 2 projects; the creation of a forest garden at Brudenell Primary School and a herb/floral garden for the community wellbeing hub in Chapeltown. This has included using sustainability and permaculture principles to create green areas that will have both environmental and social benefits in an urban setting. Additionally, these projects aim to increase the integration of university students into Leeds’ wider community as I helped organise volunteer gardening days where students can help make the planting designs I created become reality!

Niamh Robertson - Circular economy community projects

Niamh Robertson

Niamh is a postgraduate researcher in Atmospheric Chemistry and a student sustainability architect working on a sustainable fashion circular economy project.

LUBS Architects

Kriti Bandyopadhyay - Equality and Diversity in the LUBS Curriculum

Kriti Bandyopadhyay

Kriti is from Mumbai, India and will be working on the Equality and Diversity in the LUBS Curriculum project.

As a queer international student from a formerly colonized developing nation with a background in Psychology, English Literature and International Relations, decolonization is something I am very passionate about. Fun fact about me is that I speak 7 languages (English, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Mandarin Chinese, Korean and Japanese) and I would love to use my abilities while engaging in conversations for my project. It is such an honour to be involved in this project and I hope I can contribute at least a little bit to making the LUBS curriculum more diverse and inclusive for all communities.

Xiaoyin Na - Sustainable flower project

Xiaoyin Na

My name is Xiaoyin Na, and I am a postgraduate researcher from the International Business Department at Leeds University Business School. After the United Nations published the 17 sustainable development goals in 2015, sustainability became more concern to various social entities. I hope that as a social individual, I can make a small contribution to sustainable development through joining this sustainable architect project.

For the sustainable flower project, we mainly want to convince the local market to choose flowers grown on local farms instead of flowers shipped from other countries by air. Because flowers shipped by air are not only expensive but also increase a lot of carbon footprint. Therefore, we hope to promote the development of the local flower industry and follow the goals of sustainable development.

Mutya Nayavashti - Positive Impact Rating (PIR) Survey

Mutya Nayavashti

Mutya Nayavashti (Naya) is an MBA student at LUBS from Indonesia. With a robust 9-year background in Market Research, she has developed a keen interest in sustainability, exploring consumer behaviour.

The transformative Climate Action Training (CAT) at LUBS opened my eyes to new perspectives, driving me to weave sustainability into my MBA studies. Currently  undertaking the role of Student Sustainability Architect at LUBS, I’m leveraging my market research expertise to the Positive Impact Rating (PIR) Survey project. I aspire to enrich my MBA journey with sustainability, aiming to bring significant value by blending my experiences and interests.

Interested in becoming a Student Sustainability Architect?

Each academic year, we offer different sustainability-related projects for students to join the team on a part-time basis. Whilst the roles have been filled for 2023-24, keep an eye out for updates on when applications will open for 2024-25. 

In the meantime, find out what this year’s Architects have been up to in their blog posts.   


Careers in Sustainability Spotlight

Thinking about your future career, and realising you don’t know where to start? Between 4 March - 8 March, the Careers Service are running a Sustainability Spotlight, with a host of events to help you kick start your career in sustainability! This week is designed to help you explore a sustainable future. Connect with employers...

Success at the 2023 Green Gown Awards

We are thrilled that the University of Leeds has been recognised with four nominations and two prestigious awards at the 2023 Green Gown Awards.. The awards are a celebration of sustainability excellence in higher education run by EAUC, the Alliance for Sustainability in Higher Education, and the winners were announced at a ceremony in Liverpool...

Apply to be a Student Sustainability Architect

Applications to be a Student Sustainability Architect are now open until Wednesday 4 October. These part-time paid positions give you the opportunity to work with the Sustainability Service to deliver a sustainability project that aligns with the University’s strategic objectives.  What does the role entail? Student Sustainability Architects are flexible roles where you will work...

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Revolutionising how we tackle food waste at the University

Student Sustainability Architect Katie Fox shares insight into food waste within the UK and her mission to revolutionise how we handle food waste at the...

Conversations with professionals in the sustainability sector: Shawnie Sun

Freya is a Student Sustainability Architect who had a project focused on Sustainable Careers. While in post she has worked alongside the University of Leeds...

Conversations with professionals in the sustainability sector: Qi Xia

Freya is a Student Sustainability Architect who had a project focused on Sustainable Careers. While in post she has worked alongside the University of Leeds...

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United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to guide our activity. Our work with Staff Sustainability Architects is linked to all of the SDGs.

Find out more about our impact on the SDGs.