Sustainability

A year in the life: reflections of an SGO Officer.

Sustainability

A year in the life: reflections of an SGO Officer.

I can’t believe my first year as an SGO Officer has come to end. The SGO Officers of 2019/20 wanted to each produce a blogpost about a certain aspect of life working in the Sustainability team. This has been a great opportunity for me to reflect on my time working in the Student Green Office, and reading this post may even interest some people in getting involved next year!

When I first applied to do this role, I was a fresher who wanted a job doing something I was actually interested in. Having mainly worked in supermarkets growing up, this role would have been a welcome change to the way I earn money. I went in thinking that this would be good interviewing experience if nothing else, and soon realised this sounds even more perfect than I thought. Before I came to university, I worked for six months at an events company based in London that put on events all over the country, which I mentioned in my introductory post. I realised as an SGO Officer I would be asked to put on sustainability-promoting events, which made this role something I knew would be right up my street.

I have learnt so much since I started this job in October, including how to put together an event that is engaging and enticing but also has a strong message behind it. I have learned to work together with my fellow SGO Officers to solve problems and offer opinions, so whilst we all had our own work to do we were able to learn things from one another as well. I’ve definitely learnt the most when writing all of my blog posts. I’ve loved writing since I was young, so from that perspective I knew that blog posts would be an area that I thrived at, but I never anticipated how much they could teach me. When it comes to writing, there is a lot of research that goes into a post because we SGO Officers try to come across neutral on as many topics as possible. I came into this role to try and encourage people to small changes to how they live their life and I hope my blog posts have reflected that. Even if my posts encourage people to stop and think, that is a step in the right direction at the very least.

Putting on events is something I had experience with, but had never been the person who was solely responsible for creating and running events of this kind. Putting on events that fit with promoting us #actingtogether was a little challenging at times, but I learnt from the challenge and hope to take what I’ve learnt forward in life and hopefully to being an SGO Officer for another year. I think my favourite event that I put on this year was having a stall at the International Food and Culture Fayre. I had some many people mention how much they loved the Tofu and Nut Sausage Rolls that I made (the recipe can be found here). Encouraging people to try Vegan food that may outside their comfort zone and seeing the results was definitely my favourite way to promote sustainability through events.

My favourite blog post is difficult to pick because I have enjoyed writing so many of them. During lockdown, my favourites were definitely ‘#livingwell How to travel without leaving the house‘ and ‘#livingwell Stuck At Home Bucket List’ both of which were fun to write and research and hopefully gave people some ideas as to how they could do something different despite the circumstances. Before lockdown, I found I learnt a lot and enjoyed writing about Sustainable travel, which probably comes as a surprise to no-one who knows me. They are two things that I am passionate about, but they don’t always go together when you take into account the carbon footprint of flying and the number of countries where bottled water is the norm. Something I am also really interested in is gender equality, so being able to research and write a post about the progress we have made about SDG5 was actually a privilege. It was definitely the post I spent the most time on overall, so if I didn’t manage to entice you with any of the above posts, maybe I can entice you with ‘SDG5: Gender equality – the battle isn’t over yet‘.

Working with the Sustainability department for this past academic year has been a privilege, one I hope to have again next year. But even if I don’t, I will value my time in the SGO and everything that I have learnt from it for the rest of my life. I would love for you to check out our blog and social media pages if you’re at all interested in becoming more sustainable, you may just learn something life-changing.

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