Category: Students (Page 1 of 11)

Take part in the climate listening campaign in the community

Passionate about taking climate action, challenging injustice and building stronger communities? Then this might be an exciting opportunity for you!  

Over the next few months, the King’s Climate Action Network (CAN) will be running a listening campaign in King’s local boroughs. The CAN is now recruiting leads and 121 volunteers to support the roll-out of the listening campaign. 

The leads will form the passionate core team shaping this campaign. As a lead, you will receive full-day community organising training by Citizens UK to empower you to coordinate the project and lead a group of volunteers to conduct 121 conversations.  

As a 121 volunteer, you will conduct the listening to hear first-hand about the climate and sustainability challenges our local communities face and identify how King’s can support them in taking action. 

You will be working together with like-minded people to make real change while developing key skills including leadership, listening, organisation, and teamwork. 

Apply here: https://forms.office.com/r/wcAiRsyBVQ 

Sustainability Awards 2022 

This blog post was written by Lavinia Allen, King’s Sustainability Projects Assistant. You can read the news story on King’s central pages here. 


On Monday 18th July 2022, students and staff came together at the King’s Sustainability Awards to celebrate the efforts and achievements of everyone who has worked tirelessly this year to make King’s a more sustainable place.  

The ceremony took place in the Great Hall on Strand Campus. This was the first in-person awards ceremony since 2019, making it extra special. During the core of the ceremony, we celebrated the hard work of the 500+ staff Sustainability Champions who completed 2,800 actions on sustainability this year. 

Group photo of Sustainability Award attendees and Senior Leaders.

Group photo of Sustainability Award attendees and Senior Leaders.

61 Sustainability Champions teams were awarded: 

  • 1 Working Towards Sustainability Dozen 
  • 13 Sustainability Dozen 
  • 7 Bronze 
  • 1 Working Towards Silver 
  • 5 Silver 
  • 34 Gold 

Office and Residence Teams: 

Sustainability Dozen  Bronze  Silver  Gold 
Clinical Pharmacology  James Black Centre Offices  Arts & Humanities Cluster Offices (Working Towards)  Entrepreneurship Institute 
Deans Office  Research Management and Innovation Directorate  Vascular Biology & Inflammation  Estates and Facilities, Lavington Street 
Denmark Hill Estates and Facilities      Geography 
Global Mobility Office (Working Towards)  Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience 
Guys & Waterloo Chaplaincies  King’s Sport 
International Development  School of Global Affairs 
King’s Online/KPED  Service Centre 
Libraries & Collections, Franklin-Wilkins Library  Social Mobility & Widening Participation 
Libraries & Collections, IoPPN Library  Strand Estates and Facilities 
Libraries & Collections, Maughan Library  The Dickson Poon School of Law 
Libraries & Collections, New Hunts’ House Library  Wolfson House Residence 
Libraries & Collections, St Thomas’ House Library   
Libraries & Collections, Weston Education Centre Library 

 

Lab Teams: 

Bronze  Silver  Gold 
Biological Services  Centre for Developmental Neurobiology  Analytical, Environmental and Forensic Sciences – DNA analysis 
Centre for Inflammation Biology and Cancer Immunology  Engineering  Analytical, Environmental and Forensic Sciences – Drug Control Centre 
Division of Women & Children’s Health (Hodgkin)  Institute of Hepatology  Analytical, Environmental and Forensic Sciences – Genetic and Environmental Toxicology 
Human & Applied Physiological Sciences    Analytical, Environmental and Forensic Sciences – King’s Forensics 
Physics Research Labs (Nanophotonics Suite)  Analytical, Environmental and Forensic Sciences – Lab 4.134 
Randall Division of Cell and Molecular Biophysics  Basic and Clinical Neuroscience 
  Cardiovascular Research 
Centre for Gene Therapy & Regenerative Medicine 
Chemistry Research 
Chemistry Teaching 
Diabetes Research Group 
Dissecting Room 
Division of Women & Children’s Health (St Thomas’) 
Geography 
Guy’s Multi Disciplinary Labs 
Innovation Hub, Guy’s Cancer Centre 
James Black Centre: Cardiovascular Sciences 
Nutrition Sciences 
School of Immunology & Microbial Sciences 
SGDP Centre, Molecular Genetics Lab 
Twin Research (The Rayne Institute) 
Vascular Biology & Inflammation 
Wolfson Centre for Age-related Diseases 
Director of Sustainability, Kat Thorne, hosting the awards ceremony.

Director of Sustainability, Kat Thorne, hosting the awards ceremony.

We also had a Special Awards category where we recognised and celebrated the hard work of individuals and groups who took part in sustainability initiatives, projects, and programmes this year. 

Members of staff in this category included: 

  • Dola Akanmu 
  • Glyn Jones 
  • Kautuk Chaddha 
  • IoPPN offices 

Other wider groups: 

  • 84 students who completed the KEATS Sustainability & Climate Module (between March-June) 
  • 6 students who took part in the Sustainable Development Goal Curriculum Mapping project 
  • 6 students and staff from the King’s Climate Action Network  
  • 5 students and alumni who co-hosted and co-produced the Spotlight on Sustainability Podcast 
  • School of Global Affairs communications team 
  • Damely Akizhanova for their work on the Sustainability Residence Committees
  • The King’s Procurement Team  
A variety of celebratory cakes

A variety of celebratory cakes.

THANK YOU! 

A massive thank you to everyone who has contributed to our successes at King’s this year. The combined efforts of everyone involved have a significant impact and aid in achieving our university sustainability goals. 

Achievements this year include: 

  • King’s has reduced its carbon emissions by more than half (51%) since 2005/06 baseline 
  • King’s has divested from all fossil fuels – one year ahead of schedule 
  • King’s ranked in top 5 UK universities for environmental & social impact in the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings, as well as second in the UK in the People & Planet League table this year. 
  • 500+ people taking part in the Sustainability Champions programme and 350+ members of the Climate Action Network (CAN)  
  • Between September 2021 and July 2022, over 1,400 attendees came together across 87 events and training opportunities ran by the King’s Sustainability Team 
  • The development of the KEATS Sustainability & Climate module, which had over 600 students and staff enrol and over 180 complete the full module and receive sustainability awards  
  • Over 1000 modules mapped against the Sustainable Development Goals, carried out with the help of over 60 trained students and staff 
  • All King’s suppliers must now sign up to the Sustainability Supply Chain Code of Conduct. This is a huge step to reducing our carbon emissions, as our supply chain is the biggest source of carbon (scope 3)  
  • King’s Food & Venues choice menus are now 70% vegetation and vegan 
  • King’s has recently been awarded the highest rating of three stars by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) rating, as well as being re-accredited as a Fairtrade university.  

Join us! There are lots of projects and ways to get involved in sustainability at King’s: 

  • If you would like to find out more about becoming a Sustainability Champion, please register via this form and contact the Sustainability Team at sustainability@kcl.ac.uk. 
  • If you would like to join the Climate Action Network, register here.  
  • If you would like to enrol on the KEATS Sustainability & Climate module (to be re-launched in October ‘22), register here. If you would like to join the Take Action team of students and staff developing this module – please email sustainability@kcl.ac.uk 
  • If you are a student living in a hall of residence and would like to get involved in shaping the Sustainability Living Communities programme, get in touch. 
King’s Sustainability Team. From left to right: Rachel Harrington-Abrams, Emily Read, Tasnia Yasmin, Kat Thorne, Alexandra Hepple, Jone De Roode Jauregui, Lavinia Allen, Nicola Hogan.

King’s Sustainability Team. From left to right: Rachel Harrington-Abrams, Emily Read, Tasnia Yasmin, Kat Thorne, Alexandra Hepple, Jone De Roode Jauregui, Lavinia Allen, Nicola Hogan.

King’s is a finalist in the Green Gown Awards

This blog post was written by Rosa Roe Garcia, King’s Sustainability’s Digital Communications Assistant.


We are thrilled to announce that King’s has three finalists for the 2022 Green Gown Awards UK & Ireland. These awards are intended to recognise the outstanding sustainability initiatives at different universities and colleges. We are so proud of these three finalists who have worked so hard to integrate sustainability into King’s.

The King’s Climate Action Network (CAN) has been chosen as a finalist in the 2030 Climate Action Category. This category focuses on the steps that institutions are taking or plan to take in order to meet their sustainability targets. The King’s CAN is an open, interdisciplinary forum for co-creating and implementing the university’s Climate and Sustainability Action Plan.

With many sub-groups tackling a wide range of climate issues, this network always puts students and staff at the center of our approach to climate action. More than 350 students and staff have joined the King’s CAN since its beginnings in October 2020. The judges described it as innovative engagement centered on staff and students.

We have two finalists in the category of sustainability champions: a student and a staff member. This category recognises individuals who have worked incredibly hard to implement a sustainability project that has had a positive impact on their colleagues, their institution, or the local community.

Clarisse Mace is a finalist for the student sustainability champion category. She began volunteering with the King’s Sustainability Team to assist in the development of our new course, Sustainability & Climate: Learn, Discover, #TakeAction. She has covered various aspects of the climate crisis and sustainability with a diverse and growing group of students and staff. She has said “I am passionate about this project as I think that learning about climate change is the first step to taking action.”

Fatima Wang is a finalist for the staff sustainability champion. She has established nine green impact initiatives for MSc students studying sustainability in collaboration with Lambeth’s Air Quality Team and Business Improvement Districts. She also launched a new project on low traffic neighbourhoods in Lambeth to motivate residents to adopt greener modes of transport. She said “Through research, education and community engagement, universities have huge potential to have a positive impact on local communities and to forge unique collaborations.”.

Congratulations to the two individual finalists and all the members of the Climate Action Network. We are so happy all your hard work is being recognised and we look forward to the awards ceremony.

An update from Tasnia Yasmin, King’s Sustainability Projects Assistant

Image of TasniaHello all, 

My long-awaited blog and introduction to the team is finally here (despite me working for 10 months…). My name is Tasnia and I work as a Sustainability Project Assistant in the Sustainability team here at King’s. I mainly focus on sustainable education and looking at how we can improve access to sustainable education across the curriculum at King’s (formally and informally). I work closely with students and staff to achieve this because student co-creation is at the heart of most of our projects – we want to give opportunities to students to both get involved in making a difference at King’s, develop skills and facilitate peer-to-peer learning. 

The main project which I worked on was the Sustainable Development Goal Curriculum Mapping which mapped how education for sustainable development and SDGs sat across the curriculum at King’s. This involved over 60 students mapping ~1000 modules! This helped us develop a baseline of what and where sustainable education currently sits at King’s and how we can embed it more. I’m also working on our KEATS Climate & Sustainability module which is another opportunity for students to learn about sustainability outside of their own courses.  

I’m also an alumnus (BSc Geography, 2020) as well as a previous KCLSU Student Officer (Welfare & Community, 2020/2021). I’ve always been super keen on learning about climate, the environment and sustainability and loved my undergraduate. I was even lucky enough to do a 10 day fieldwork trip around Morocco (10 cities in 10 days!). My time as officer was also a very interesting experience – seeing how decisions get made and knowing that I am the student representative in a lot of these conversations was very empowering.  

I’ve been a student, sabbatical officer and now a staff member at King’s – I feel like I’ve seen the college from every angle you can see it from! 

Student Auditors for Sustainability Champions

Last week, students from a variety of degree backgrounds volunteered as Student Sustainability Auditors. They received IEMA approved training on sustainability auditing, which they then used to audit teams of Sustainability Champions at King’s across two days. Find out more about the Sustainability Champions programme here.

We asked the students how they found the experience:

May be an image of 7 people, people standing and indoor

 

“Training was very helpful and well presented. Using this method to evaluate organizations in sustainability efforts will be beneficial in future interactions personally and professionally. A very insightful experience.”

“I have enjoyed this opportunity to learn more about what different departments are doing at King’s and how they are able to improve this. It was also good to be able to meet fellow students with a similar interest in the topic.”

“I really enjoyed the training and met interesting people. It was really exciting to look into all the meaningful work the sustainability team and the sustainability champions are doing.”

Mental health and sustainability – what’s the link?

This blog post has been adapted from a post written last year by Helena Fazeli for Mental Health Awareness Week. Trigger warning – this blog discusses mental health and suicide.


Mental Health Awareness Week (9-15 May 2022) is the UK’s national week to raise awareness of mental health and mental health problems. The theme this year is loneliness and the week aims to raise awareness of the impact of loneliness on our mental health and the practical steps we can take to address it.

How do mental health and sustainability intersect?

#1 SDG 3 – Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all

One of Sustainable Development Goal Three’s (SDG 3) targets is to “reduce by one-third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being”. Awareness of the importance of addressing mental health has increased in recent years, and rightly so: depression represents one of the leading causes of disability, suicide is the second leading cause of death amongst 15-29-year-olds, and people with severe mental health conditions are at risk of premature death due to preventable physical conditions (WHO, 2021). Additionally, individuals with mental health conditions may face stigma, discrimination and human rights violations. 

While SDG 3 focuses explicitly on mental health, achieving this target requires progress across all 17 SDGs. Mental health and wellbeing are intricately linked to challenges such as poverty, inequality, work, education, gender, infrastructure, air pollution, access to quality green spaces, peace etc. Not only do these factors increase the risk of poor mental health, but they also impact the accessibility and quality of mental health services. 

One example is emergency contexts, including natural disasters, conflict and forced migrationduring which many individuals will face temporary distress. In the longer term, the prevalence of common mental disorders generally doubles in a humanitarian crisis due to increased poverty, lack of security, separation from family, community and home, and trauma. Overall, it has been estimated that 1 in 5 people living in an area affected by conflict will have a common mental health condition. Finally, it is important to note that climate change is expected to exacerbate many of these issues, thus causing greater and wider distress, which leads us to our next topic… 

#2 Climate change and mental health

When you think about climate change, mental health might not be the first thing that comes to mind. We often discuss climate change on a global scale, in terms of physical processes and tangible, measurable impacts. However, it both directly and indirectly impacts individuals’ and communities’ mental health and psychological well-being. 

Indeed, climate change and its associated impacts (rising sea levels, changing temperatures, extreme weather patterns, wildfires, droughts, food and water insecurity, etc.) put at risk a range of phenomena that people and communities value and rely on in their daily lives, both material and non-material, from homes, landscapes and ecosystems to cultural traditions, livelihoods, identities and social cohesion… From forced displacement to gradual changes in an environment, feelings of loss – loss of place, loss of identity, decreased sense of self – can arise. And, as mentioned above, these impacts are more acutely felt in communities and populations where climate change intersects with pre-existing health conditions, socioeconomic inequities and unequal power dynamics. 

#3 The rise of eco-anxiety 

As with many crises, the climate crisis is causing (justifiably) strong emotional responses, in people and communities around the world. Amongst inspiration and hope for change, feelings of anger, hopelessness, guilt and fear are common and natural. 

Eco-anxiety refers to the stress caused by “watching the slow and seemingly irrevocable impacts of climate change unfold” or the “feelings of helplessness, anger, […] panic and guilt toward the climate and ecological crisis”Force of Nature has been studying the occurrence of eco-anxiety amongst youth globally. They found that amongst 500 respondents, over 70% had experienced feelings of hopelessness in the face of climate change. 

In recognition of the interconnectedness between the health of our minds, bodies and planet, last year’s Mental Health Awareness Week’s theme was indeed nature. This demonstrates how sustainability refers not only to environmental sustainability but also to social sustainability.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed by the immensity of the climate crisis, be kind to yourself, and connect with your loved ones and your community. However, if symptoms of anxiety are interfering with your ability to function well and feel good, we encourage you to seek professional help. Here are some ways you can find support at King’s: KCLSU’s wellbeing eventsPositive PeersCounselling and Mental Health supportBlack Students TalkOut-of-hours counselling. You can also find resources here and here

Get involved this Mental Health Awareness Week

Join the Mental Health & Climate Change seminar (13 May)

What are the links between mental health and climate change? What is eco-anxiety? And how can we go about overcoming this?

To mark the UK mental health awareness week, King’s Sustainability will be joined by neuroscientist Dr Kris De Meyer for a lean-forward seminar on mental health & climate change. According to Kris, the best way to combat eco-anxiety is opening up pathways to action, to give the sense that we are not powerless and that we can indeed do something that is meaningful and can make a difference.

Kris will briefly explain the brain basis of eco-anxiety before diving into interesting break-out room activities exploring how to cope with it. Join this interactive seminar led by an expert on eco-anxiety to build your own eco-anxiety “toolkit” by identifying what your personal pathway to action might be in a safe, positive environment.

Kris is a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s Department of Neuroimaging and the Director of the UCL Climate Action Unit.

This seminar is part of a series that runs monthly between October ‘21 and June ’22 covering some of the biggest topics in sustainability. If you would like to stay in the loop about upcoming seminars, please sign up here. These seminars are linked to the KEATS Sustainability module which we are piloting this year. You can enrol on the module here.

KCLSU’s Take Time Out (3-20 May)

Take Time Out is taking place until the 20th of May and aims to encourage you to schedule in some time, away from your studies, to boost your wellbeing, take a break and connect with the King’s community. See all events here.

More opportunities at King’s

This coming week, King’s wants to focus on what we can do individually and as a community to foster connections and support each other. Access King’s gyms and BeActive programme for free and join the events on journaling, connecting with charities, a virtual coffee morning, or one of the mindfulness sessions. Find out more here.


Some further reading on the topic

Tackling social inequalities to reduce mental health problems: How everyone can flourish equally

Mental Health and our Changing Climate: Impacts, Implications, and Guidance 

The case for systems thinking about climate change and mental health 

Caring for the environment helps to care for your mental health 

Mental health and the environment 

Mental health and wellbeing in the Sustainable Development Goals 

The Lancet Commission on global mental health and sustainable development 

This Must Be the Place: Underrepresentation of Identity and Meaning in Climate Change DecisionMaking

Place identity and climate change adaptation: a synthesis and framework for understanding

“From this place and of this place:” Climate change, sense of place, and health in Nunatsiavut, Canada

Examining relationships between climate change and mental health in the Circumpolar North 

New student-led initiative: Freecycle

King’s Residences and King’s Sustainability are trialling a new initiative this year called Freecycle. Items such as bedding and cookware will be donated by current residences and reused by students moving in after summer. The goal is to minimise waste while providing students with essentials without a price tag. Tasks will include sorting out and distributing items. Volunteers will be able to call dibs on certain items and there might be free food involved. If interested, please fill out this form to receive more information.

This is initiative has been led by Kindness Ezekwe who is a BSc Accounting and Finance student at King’s Business School and part of the Students & Education subgroup of King’s Climate Action Network.

Cycling in London event & survey

Two photographs showing a bike mechanic looking at a bicycle in the courtyard of Bush House.On 3rd March, a cycling event was held at Bush House as part of Sustainability Month to increase awareness and understanding of how students and staff can get started with cycling in London.

The event consisted of a “Dr Bike” session, where external bike maintenance mechanics provided free bike health checks, advice, and small fixes (fully funded by Westminster City Council).

Students were also on hand to provide information to help others get into cycling, particularly focusing on commuting to campus. They discussed where the bike lockers are on campus and how to access them, information offered by external organisations (for example, TFL cycle safety pages and relevant council pages for cycle buddy schemes), and KCL’s Cycling club.


Two photographs showing a bike mechanic looking at a bicycle in the courtyard of Bush House.

The COVID pandemic forced us to rethink how we travel to campus. Cycling was identified as being a safer, more sustainable mode of travel that also supports wellbeing. King’s is keen to support our ‘new ways of working’ so identifying where improvements to cycling provisions need to be made is central to that.

To help us identify what those improvements might be, please could you take this 5-minute survey by 17 May? Your responses will shape how we grow the estate to meet everyone’s needs. Please direct any queries to Ruonan Zhang.

The Careers & Employability Festival starts next week!

How does sustainability tie into a career in healthcare or arts & entertainment? What jobs lie in the environmental sector?

Join this Careers & Employability Festival to hear from professionals who studied subjects from clinical medicine to museum studies to geography and are now part of the Greener NHS Programme, own sustainable fashion businesses, work in climate finance, renewable energy, and more. They will be discussing how they incorporated sustainability into their careers.

Sound intriguing? Find more information and sign up here.

12 April: Be a sustainability changemaker in any and every career.
14 April: Assessing your future organisation’s commitment to sustainability.
26 April: Build your employability for a sustainability career.

An update from Jone de Roode Jauregi, King’s Climate Action Assistant

Hi all!

Photo of JoneMy name is Jone and I am a Climate Action Assistant in the Sustainability Team. I graduated from King’s with a BSc in International Management in May ’21 and have been working in the Sustainability Team since. 

My journey with the Sustainability Team started in my final year at uni when I joined the King’s Climate Action Network. It was a great experience working together with people from across King’s and brainstorming actions to make King’s more sustainable – both on- and off-campus. 

It was also during this year that I got the opportunity to learn more about sustainability in my studies, for example through the interdisciplinary Sustainability in Practice module and by writing my dissertation about sustainable behaviour during COVID-19. I also did a year abroad as part of my studies, during which I spent 5 months studying in Brazil and 5 months doing a climate diplomacy internship at the Dutch Embassy in Costa Rica.  

Sustainability considerations play a big role in my personal life too. My diet is largely vegan, I mostly buy seasonal and local products and I rarely waste food; I travel as much as possible by train (e.g. from London to my family in the Netherlands or Spain) and I cycle in London; I buy in zero-waste stores when I can (e.g. at the food co-op Fareshares near Elephant & Castle which is run by volunteers); I limit the number of purchases I make (reinventing my grandma’s clothes was a great exercise); I switched to a renewable energy tariff; I use water, electricity and heating sparingly; I’m changing banks to a more ethical one; I raise the sustainability topic with friends and family, sometimes sign petitions and join marches, and I vote for parties which prioritise addressing the climate crisis and other SDGs, etc. For me, the key part lies in doing as much as I can to contribute to a better world through my individual actions, without restraining myself in such a way that it burdens me disproportionately. 

In my role as a Climate Action Assistant, I have been supporting the development of the university’s Climate Action Plan, the running of the King’s Climate Action Network, the creation of the KEATS sustainability module and seminar series, and the mapping of climate education and research across King’s. I also support the Sustainability Team’s comms and I look after our blog and newsletter. And I jump in here and there when things come up. 

I’ve been enjoying the work so far and I am excited to work on many more sustainability projects with the King’s community. I do not know yet where the future will take me, but I am keen to contribute to finding ways to live more sustainably taking better care of both people and our planet. 

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