Lisa is a master’s student in the War department at King’s, reading non-proliferation and international security studies. On her own blog she writes about journalism and conflict. She provides her thoughts below on King’s first Sustainability Forum.
How would students want to make King’s more sustainable, if they were the Principal? It was the question asked of the participants of the Sustainability team’s first sustainability forum, which took place on 31 October. To help the students get a grasp on the challenges of creating a ‘green movement’ within King’s College, Felix Spira had been invited to give a talk on behalf of rootAbility. As a student, Spira was the founder of the Green Office at Maastricht University (the Netherlands), a student-led sustainability unit that became a viable and authoritative body within the university, employing students to work on sustainability projects.
Since leaving Maastricht, Spira has duplicated this model and now assists other universities to set up their own sustainability unit. Spira walked the students through the stages of this process, dealing with such issues as commitment, time management and access. His ‘message’ centred around the idea that, regardless of clever schemes and policy, the actual impact of sustainability projects relies on whether you can get people – students, professors, staff – involved and convinced.
In this first forum, there appeared no lack of commitment. The brainstorming session that took off after the initial talks resulted in loads of potential projects: a student policy think tank, vegetarian options in the cafeteria, sustainability skills modules, rooftop gardens… the forum participants were on a roll! Indeed, this is a great time for students and staff to get involved with the establishment of a new movement within King’s, and during this first session, the notion of being an ‘avant garde’ of sustainability was clearly felt amongst the participants.
The Sustainability Team has committed itself to take all of these ideas into account. Keep an eye out for our feedback on these potential projects, and don’t hesitate to get involved if you are convinced of a need for a sustainability movement in King’s!