It seems that we are in some weird time dilation right now. It feels like only yesterday that I was writing my ‘Reintroducing Amy’ blog at the beginning of this academic year and now it’s time for me to wrap up my time in the Student Green Office.
If I could sum up my time in the SGO in one word it would be Transformative.
Before the start of my first year in the SGO back in 2019, I was hot off the trails of just completing work with a team of students to audit the university’s application for Responsible Futures accreditation. This gave me the opportunity to dip my toe into what sustainability means and really whet my appetite when it came to exploring deeper into what sustainability means for me and the impact I have. As part of the auditing process we interviewed the then SGO members and this gave me a peek into the work that the SGO does and so when the job was advertised on Unitemps the following September I knew I had to apply! Since that first application I now feel like I can see a sustainable way of working in everything I do. I am always looking at how I can change the way I work to limit my impact on the environment but also looking at social sustainability. I notice now that I am aware of things like fast fashion and greenwashing that permeates my everyday living.
I would be lying if I said that this experience has been everything I had expected as truly I don’t think any of us could have predicted what this last year and a half has been like. When the first lockdown hit I was home for the Easter holidays and the visit that was meant to last 2 weeks lasted 6 months. This was added onto by the moving of our SGO work solely online, (thanks COVID!). The way we worked changed and we had to adapt. I did this by leaning more heavily into managing the sustainability twitter account (@CCCUSCN) and writing blog posts. This was a challenge as whilst I had been writing blog posts for a few months I still wouldn’t call myself a writer but as this became the new normal I settled into it.
Moving into this academic year, I knew that I wanted to continue the work I had started in the SGO the previous year and so I reapplied and continued, and I’m so glad!
This year has pushed me to develop new ways to work that have taken me out of my comfort zone. The huge step out of the norm for me was the development of the Mindfulness minutes video series. I am not very good with video producing but I had used similar mindfulness techniques before and wanted to share them in a way that wouldn’t take much of the watchers time but could be effective. I’m really happy with how they turned out and I am so grateful for the encouragement I received from the SGO team when producing these.
One blog series that I have enjoyed writing this year has been the ‘New Semester, New habits’ series. I got to speak to some wonderful people and pick their brains for information that I could share with other students. My focus within the SGO has been ‘Living Well’ and I truly believe that the best way to do this is to work collaboratively. We don’t know everything but those gaps in our knowledge can be filled by others around us so my hope with that series was that others would learn something new and be able to live better.
Over on Twitter I have been trying to achieve a similar goal. Throughout this year there has been many tweet series that I started to share knowledge, like #Tedtalkthursdays and more recently a new series I lined up for the summer called #Throughthearchives, looking through our archives of blog posts from precious SGOs and sharing their words of wisdom.
The final thought I want to leave with you is if you are thinking that even just one bit of this sounds like something you want to try and please give it a go! The Student Green Office has been the most amazing experience and is something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. It has given me so many skills that I can take with me into the world of work and will shape my career. New SGO roles for the next academic year are currently open for applicants over on the Unitemps website so it’s worth giving a go!
Thank you SGO!
by Amy Bayliss-Fox, SGO Project Officer #livingwell