The University of Leeds Sustainability Service team is pleased to welcome 9 new staff members, who will each take on the role of a Student Sustainability Architect.
This year’s Student Sustainability Architects will take the lead on delivering projects that align with the University’s strategic sustainability objectives and also develop their own ideas to increase student participation with sustainability. Please help us to welcome Alaa, Negar, Fern, David, Rachel, Ailish, Camila, Karolina and Alejandra to the team.
Ailish Byrne – Residential Services: Circular Resource
Hi, my name is Ailish Byrne and I am a fourth-year Environmental Science student with a year’s work experience as the Sustainability Intern at HP Inc. My degree program has allowed me to gain a complete understanding of the greatest environmental issues we are facing today, through studying the latest research across a number of subject areas including atmospheric pollution, renewable energy and transport, climate change, and sustainable development. I am excited to use my environmental knowledge and experience to further drive sustainability within the university and engage students and staff in initiatives across campus.
As a Sustainability Architect for 2019/2020, I will be working to promote a circular resource economy within the University’s halls of residences. During this project I will encourage students to think about their resource consumption and highlight ways they can incorporate sustainable practices in their daily lives, by purchasing clothes from charity shops rather than buying new or switching from single-use plastics to reusable alternatives, for example. I am excited to get out and talk to students about their views on sustainability and the current efforts they are making, whilst also developing campaigns to further inform and engage students on the importance of reducing and reusing resources to create a long-term positive impact.
Alaa Aldada – Student Citizenship – Litter and local waste management
Hi, I’m Alaa, and I’m currently studying a Masters in Water, Sanitation and Health Engineering. My environmental and sustainability interests were my motives to study Environmental Engineering as my undergraduate course. Since I was undergraduate, I have been actively involving as a volunteer with several organizations and groups working on environmental education, and community development. As one of this year’s Student Sustainability Architects, I will be working on the Local Waste and Litter Engagement project, which is a part of the Student Citizenship Programme. The Student Citizenship Programme supports students’ integration into the local community and aims to ensure that theirs and other residents experience of their time in Leeds is a hugely positive one. I am looking forward to engaging with a group of volunteers, and we will be working to find realist solutions for good waste management in Leeds, especially in Hyde Park and Woodhouse Moor. Over the coming months, I will be developing some behaviour change approaches to achieve the objectives of raising the level of awareness and commitment to proper solid waste reduction, reusing, recycling and disposal processes. In addition, I will be working on engaging and educating households on responsible waste management practice, labelling and wheeling bins back to their stores, litter picks and cleanliness audits. I’m really excited about this project, and I will do my best to make a real difference!
Camila Limberg Dias – Removing Single-Use Plastic from Laboratories at the University of Leeds
Hi everyone! My name is Camila, and I am a Sustainability and Consultancy Masters student here at the University of Leeds! I come from Brazil, where I work as a sustainability consultant helping companies to reshape their strategic planning through the lenses of sustainability, and also collaborating with the report of their activities and outcomes on their Sustainability/GRI report. Back home I also work as a volunteer for the Brazilian association of professionals for sustainable development (ABRAPS). This year I am joining the sustainability team as a Sustainability Architect for the Removing Single-Use Plastic from Laboratories at the University of Leeds Programme 2019/20. I am sure my previous experiences together with this master will contribute to this project and to the university’s sustainability strategy. I want to create a healthy environment for learning exchange and good practices development. But I also expect to benefit a lot from it. Meeting many different people from different places, cultures and backgrounds and also working with new environments and tools will be a valuable experience for me. All this, embedded in a strong sustainability strategy, such as ours, will surely lead us all to thrive with great outcomes!
David Mihell – Blueprint
I am currently enrolled on the MSc in Sustainable Cities, which is taught jointly by the School of Earth & Environment, School of Geography and the Institute for Transport Studies. The course looks at how cities operate as systems and how they can become more sustainable – to support environmental, economic and social goals – through looking at key urban elements including housing, energy, transport and the natural realm.
Having completed my PhD at the University of Leeds, I worked in industry as a management consultant before returning to the University’s as a member of the Student Recruitment and Marketing Team. Having worked as an independent consultant for the last few years, I am enjoying being back as a student and have been really impressed by all the changes and progress that has been made on campus.
The University’s commitment to sustainability is also great to see, and I am looking forward to contributing to this through my role as Student Sustainability Architect, which supports the Blueprint scheme of tailored sustainability plans for Schools, Institutes and Services. In particular, I am keen to learn more about the ways we are responding to to our sustainability challenges; helping share and implement solutions and best practice; and supporting the sustainability community across campus.
Fern Spencer – University Catering Services: Carbon Footprinting of Food
Hi! I’m Fern and I’m in my fourth year of study in Environmental Science, MEnv. This year I’ll be working with catering services to further increase their sustainability. The success of previous Sustainability projects means that there is now a wide range of low meat or meat-free food options on campus, as well as 65% of food being sourced within 40 miles. This is a great step towards reducing our carbon footprint because livestock generate 14.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Emissions can be saved by eating plant-based diets but also local produce too. I will be working to calculate the carbon footprint of different food options in the Refectory so that we can each make informed decisions about our food choices.
Since starting my studies at the University of Leeds, I have been fortunate enough to gain sustainability-related experience with different NGO’s and businesses, including being a Green Impact Assistant for the University in 2017. I’m hoping that this position will allow me to put my learning into practice but also enable me to learn new things from other enthusiastic staff and students. By communicating carbon footprint information, I’m also hopeful that people will become more able to make better environmental choices and reduce the University’s environmental impact further. Every person making a small change can make a large difference!
Karolina Zarzyczny – Residential Services: Biodiversity Action Planning
Hi, I’m Karolina and I’m a final year MBiol Zoology student. Apart from sustainability, I have a great interest in outdoors and ecology. I have spent my industrial placement year working for an environmental, outdoor education charity and I have spent endless hours in the field surveying a range of plants and animals since the start of my degree. I am also working with the Living Lab on the Campus Pollinator Project which will tie in very closely with what I will be doing as a new Student Sustainability Architect. Safe to say, I am super excited to start!
I will spend the rest of this academic year working with the University Residential Services and the Sustainability team to develop biodiversity action plans (BAPs) for the residences of interest. To do this I will conduct site-specific surveys to establish an extensive list of species present around the residences and highlight those of special interest. As a Sustainability Architect, I’m also hoping to increase student and staff engagement in sustainability-focused events. Furthermore, I’m hoping to provide students with the opportunity to participate in biological recording across the residences which will allow them to develop skills and gain experience in this field without having to travel far away from the university!
I am very open to ideas and collaboration so feel free to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alejandra Velarde Medina – Colour Hyde Park
Hello everyone! My name is Alejandra Velarde and I am studying a MSc in Sustainability and Consultancy at the University of Leeds. I am originally from Peru where I studied a BSc on Economics. I am particularly interested in the integration of commercial industries, environment and social inclusion.
I am pleased to be joining the Sustainability Architect team. I will be working in the Colour Hyde Park Project (Second Phase), which has the main aim to continue preserving city’s cultural identity, join and inspire communities to feel pride and ownership for Hyde Park through art. The inclusion of communities is part of the sustainable commitments and doing it over an innovate solution as art, gives everyone an aggregated value.
This year I hope to involve as many people as possible in the second phase of this project. Work with the local and student communities and make a positive contribution to Hyde Park through the creation of opportunities. I am looking forward to embracing everyone and alleviating social issues through sustainable solutions.
Negar Naghshinehpour Esfahani – Cleaning Services: Plastics Reduction
Hello, my name is Negar Naghshinehpour and I am studying an MSc in Sustainability & Consultancy. My background is in environmental science and my passion lies in the intersection of sustainability, technology, businesses and behavioural change. I am originally from Vancouver, Canada and I hope that my previous learnings will help me succeed in this new role.
As a sustainability architect, my project is looking into reducing plastics; specifically in the cleaning service. If you think about it, the cleaning service is a very large consumer of single-use plastics. I will be looking into reducing bin liners, through better means of managing waste stream as well as looking into alternative materials for bin liners. I think the university goal of becoming plastic-free 2023 is an ambitious one – but one in which I am excited to play a role in. If you happen to have an idea or want to chat more about this project, I’d be happy to do so! Send me an email at email@example.com.
Rachel DeCordoba – Conference and Curriculum
Hi, my name is Rachel and I’m a MSc Sustainable Cities student. I’m especially interested in waste reduction and public transportation, and I previously worked in the field of community engagement and public involvement. As a Student Sustainability Architect, I’ll be focusing on integrating sustainability into the broader curriculum at the University of Leeds, as well as helping organise the Annual Student Sustainability Conference.
My hope is that all students at Leeds can engage with sustainability initiatives on and near campus in whatever way suits them best – whether it’s conducting and presenting research, attending the Sustainability Conference, thinking about their particular programme of study through a sustainability lens, or anything else! As an international student myself, I’m also excited to find ways to engage students who come to Leeds from all around the world. When it comes to sustainability, new and different perspectives are so valuable to create lasting change.
Every academic course relates to sustainability in some way. I look forward to discovering how we can truly ingrain sustainability into the academic curriculum and conduct and present sustainability research in new and unconventional ways. There are so many amazing sustainability projects throughout campus that provide great inspiration already!