Since joining the Student Green Office in October last year, I have had a large variety of different experiences and job roles. From helping out student societies, to writing blogs, and being a part of wider departmental meetings. There is a wide variety of ways in which you can fulfil your role as an SGO Officer whilst also achieving some of your more personal development goals. This blog will talk about some of the ways in which I have contributed to both the sustainability department and across the university whilst working for the SGO.
Helping Societies and the Students Union
Part of the SGO’s role is to assist in the development and promotion of a wider sustainability driven movement within the university. This is largely done by collaborating with and assisting student societies and the Students Union. The society I was most often in contact with was the Eco Students Society. The Eco Students Society is a society made up of students from all different faculties: their main objectives are to promote a more sustainable way of living, assist the university in becoming more sustainable, and to help clean up the local area. One of the ways that the society achieves their tertiary objective is to arrange regular litter picks both on and off campus. My role in supporting this was twofold: first, I try to help promote the event in the best way that I could, and secondly, I tried to be a part of as many of the events that I could. This is all part of a wider effort to improve connections throughout the university so that we can come together to achieve our common objectives.
As well as volunteering with the Eco Students I have also volunteered some of my time to assist with Chooseday chill: an initiative organised by the Students Union. By volunteering my time with the Students Union I was better able to understand the work that they carry out, which then meant I could find more ways in which we could help each other achieve our goals, many of which overlap. This proved to not only be helpful in my work as an SGO Officer, but also helped me feel as if I was achieving a wider objective of mine: to put more time in to help others and the wider community.
Before I started working for the SGO I considered myself to be pretty aware of most of the environmental and social issues affecting our world: how wrong I was! The time in which I arguably learnt the most whilst working for the SGO was when I was researching material to write about on the SGO blog page. Many of the blogs I have written have been based around the 17 Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations in 2015. Because I was writing about a specific subject area, I had to research how each goal applied in the real world. When I started looking into more specific issues I realised how much I didn’t know and how much we do not see in the mainstream media. If you have never written a blog I would recommend doing so: its amazing how much you can learn.
One of the things you are encouraged to do as an SGO Officer is to organise events that help promote sustainability in the university. My favourite event that I organised was my stand at the Student Unions Food and Culture Fayre in February. I based my stand around the idea of sourcing locally from responsible suppliers: I believe strongly in good agricultural practices and how they create much tastier end products. Whilst working at my stand I was able to explore many of the other stands with foods from all over the world. It was wonderful to celebrate the diversity of our university through food & drink and good conversation. We were also treated to some traditional cultural performances: including a traditional Algerian wedding ceremony and joyful Slovakian music.
If you are passionate about sustainability and want to do more to contribute then I would definitely recommend becoming an SGO Officer. You can explore your passion for a more sustainable world, help promote that passion across the university, and help make your local community a better place. If you have any ideas of how to make the university more sustainable the SGO will help make those ideas into a reality. If you want to meet others who are passionate about sustainability the role will provide you with an excellent opportunity to meet and collaborate with people who share your passion. If you want to educate others about the problems facing this world the SGO will give you the means to do so.