By Alex Green, on 10 July 2014
Tabitha is studying for her GCSEs at a school in Westminster. She recently spent some of her week’s work experience with UCL’s Sustainability Team, finding out what they’re doing to improve the environmental impact of the university.
Photo caption: Tabitha (middle) with Sustainability Manager Stephanie Chesters and Director of Sustainability Richard Jackson.
As a student in my first year of GCSEs, I have becoming increasingly interested in Geography and Maths and the world around us. I chose to spend my Work Experience working with the UCL Sustainability Team to discover more about what being sustainable means to me and everyone else, including UCL.
During my time here I have discovered UCL to be a huge university, made up of people from across the world with very different experiences and backgrounds. As UCL is so large, the need for it to become more sustainable is ever increasing and is required in every aspect of the university.
“Through working together to make these small changes, we can help make the world more sustainable”
The size of UCL is constantly increasing, which despite its benefits comes with its challenges. UCL currently uses the equivalent energy of 11,000 homes and energy bills have reached an astronomical cost of £14million per year. This not only has an impact on the environment, but also on the university’s finances. Moreover, a huge amount of carbon is produced during the academic travel, which generates 160,000 tonnes of carbon per year. This is a big part of UCL’s contribution to global warming and rapid climate change.
Fortunately, the Sustainability Team are working to find and develop solutions to the problems that UCL face. Of the 3,672 tonnes of waste produced by UCL from 2012-2013, 69% of it was recycled and that number is continuing to rise through the new installation of recycling bins across campus (coming soon!). The team is also encouraging more students to take cycle safety training to advertise a more sustainable commute, which is why more bike racks more showers and safe cycle routes will be installed. The use of renewable energy has also increased and they’re exploring the possibilities of installing an energy efficient cooling loop around the university campus.
From my time working with the Sustainability Team, I have learnt how we can do small things every day to help the environment and make it more sustainable. Simply by using recycling bins properly we can help reduce our carbon footprint and turning the plug off when our mobile phones have finished charging. Pestering our parents to mend a leaky tap could save money and thousands of litres of water a year. Through working together to make these small changes, we can help make the world more sustainable.