Category: Volunteering (Page 1 of 4)

Join the Big Garden Birdwatch (27th of January)

The 2023 Big Campus Birdwatch takes place on Friday 27th January, and we’re encouraging staff and students to take part.

The RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) Big Garden Birdwatch takes place over the weekend of 27th – 29th January 2023. This annual survey is not only a great opportunity to learn more about our back garden wildlife, but also makes an important contribution to monitoring biodiversity across the country. Last year over a million people took part in the event!

The University encourages staff and students alike to take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch and we also organise our own Big Campus Birdwatch, where we ask staff and students to help us better understand the bird life across different areas of campus.

This year, the Big Campus Birdwatch will take place on Friday 27th January, and can be carried out in your own time, either individually or in small groups with your friends or colleagues.

How can I take part?

To take part in the Big Campus Birdwatch, simply register using this link and choose a favourite spot on campus at any time on Friday 27th January and record what birds you see.

Experience participating in a climate migration programme

This blog post was written by Leander Bischof, International Development student at King’s College London.


In this blog post, I am describing my experience with the Erasmus+ programme on climate migration and unaccompanied minors in Sevilla. The programme was delivered by the local partner organization INCOMA (International Consulting And Mobility Agency Sociedad De Responsabilidad Limitada).

I had a fantastic experience with the hosting organization and the facilities they used. In general, this trip was well organized from the start to the end. I first noticed this programme through an advertisement by King’s College London. Throughout the application process and afterwards, during the introduction and preparations for the training, the staff was very helpful and professional. The pick-up at the airport went smoothly and all other transportation was delivered reliably. Throughout the training, INCOMA staff members were always available to support us. The hotel accommodating us was of very high quality, which made this a very pleasant experience. Most importantly, the training was fully funded, flights, transportation, hotel, and food expenses were fully covered.

Additionally, the participants were well chosen, all were from extremely interesting backgrounds. One of my highlights during the training programme were the presentations of other training participants about their experience with climate migration since the chance to listen and have a talk with such people is usually very rare. It was particularly inspiring to listen to the participants from Laamiga, a London-based organization that supports and empowers migrant women in the UK. I am also thankful that the programme allowed me to make friends with such inspiring people and I hope to stay in contact with them. The training usually finished in the early afternoon and thus, we were given enough time to socialize and explore the city. I am sure there is excellent travel advice on the internet, so I will not go too much into detail about the location. However, I really recommend visiting the Plaza de Espana and the Alcazar, both very beautiful places. Luckily, we were provided with 25€ per day, which allowed us to visit these tourist attractions and try excellent Spanish food.

The programme itself consisted of 6 days of training. On the first day, we mostly received introductions into the training programme and the overall issue of climate migration. We talked about expectations we had for the programme and our reasons to join. The first day did not contain much training but was rather used to allow us time to familiarize ourselves with the other participants and the city of Sevilla.

On the second day we mainly focused on mental health and its importance for both migrants and people working with migrants. We learned how crucial a good mental health condition is to be able to support migrants in their struggles. The training provided many useful information on how to improve the mental wellbeing of yourself and others. Later, we listened to the presentations of other participants. The first presentation was by two social workers from Italy, the second was about volunteering experience in France and the third presentation was about immigration in the UK. My highlight of the day was surely the third presentation by one of the Laamiga members about their work and issues they and other organizations face due to UK politics.

The third day of training was about the inclusion of migrants into educational and vocational pathways. The presentations of that day focused on migration from Bangladesh and on national identities. An important learning outcome was that the domestic population often reacts very repellent and that much work needs to be done to deal with aggressions, fears, and stereotypes in the local population.

Day four included more information on mental health issues of refugees and how to help in overcoming traumas. We also heard a very impressive presentation from a Turkish reporter about illegal pushbacks by the Greek coastguard in the Mediterranean Sea. Her presentation included one of her documentaries, showing refugees on completely overcrowded rubber boats who where troubled by a large boat of the Greek coastguard. It showed the aggressive and endangering behaviour of the European Union to prevent refugees from entering their waters, which has led to so many tragedies in the Mediterranean Sea. In the afternoon, we were invited for an Erasmus+ evaluation session on the training programme.

The next day was my favourite day of the week. Since we could not visit a refugee centre in Sevilla due to Covid-19 outbreaks, we had the head of the refugee reception centres in Sevilla come to us. His presentation had a strong focus on the reception system in Spain and on the issue of climate migration. Afterwards, we listened to the presentation of a cultural mediator who works with unaccompanied minors in Italy. Hearing his presentation was very captivating and inspiring. The presenter himself came as an unaccompanied minor from Gambia to Italy, taking the backbreaking route to Europe which so many African migrants have taken, and which has costs so many lives. Through the deadly Sahara Desert to Libya, where kidnappers and modern slave traders are preying on migrants, to the Mediterranean Sea where people spend many days on overcrowded rubber boat and finally to Italy. It was very humbling to hear from such a first-hand experience about these hardships.

The programme of the final day consisted of a visit to the Bioalverde farm, an inclusion project for climate migrants in Sevilla. On this organic farm, migrants who were unable to find a job are given the chance to earn a living. Sustainability in every sense was the main maxim of the farm, greatly supported by the local population. This last day was a fantastic ending for this trip.

On the next day, early in the morning we were brought back to the airport and flew back to London. In total, I can say the training programme was an amazing experience, and I am highly recommending this to all interested students and staff members at my university.


Find out more about Kairos: http://kairoseurope.co.uk/

Find out more about the training opportunities: https://migrationresearchgroup.wordpress.com/

Student Review of Enrolling on and Co-Creating King’s Sustainability and Climate Change #TakeAction Module

This guest blog post was written by student and KEATS TakeAction team member Oliver Yu Hurst.


Who am I?

Hello! My name is Oliver Yu Hurst and I’m studying a part-time MSc in Climate Change: Environment, Science & Policy in the Department of Geography at King’s College London. I graduated from Queen Mary University of London in 2021 with a BSc in Geography with Business Management. I aspire to gain a career along the interface between academia and social-environmental justice working within public, social enterprise and/or non-governmental organisation (NGO) sectors.

First impressions of the pilot module?

I was pleasantly surprised to come across topics not covered in my education journey so far, which is always very refreshing! This included perception framing, digital sustainability and the various ways King’s is decarbonizing and embedding sustainability throughout its activities (with, as always, more to be done/continue doing). Seminars with professionals about, for example, the neuroscience of eco-anxiety or how to ‘bring climate change home’ by highlighting its interconnections with everyday life, are some of several events that made the module engaging.

Joining the Take Action Team

The opportunity to join the Take Action team and add/improve content, was the absolute highlight. I contributed at least 12,000 words, leading on What is Sustainability, Climate Crisis and Social Sustainability sections, whilst coming across resources to help brainstorm ideas for my MSc dissertation.

I was adamant that ‘critical lenses’ of sustainability and climate change were integrated throughout as they are often discussed/practiced through a narrow (Western, Global North) perspective. Dreaming, implementing and governing just pathways out of the climate crisis require transcending dominant narratives of development and learning/unlearning downplayed or silenced voices.

Skills & Experience Gained?

Ensuring content is understandable and accessible for all has developed my skills in science communication, adaptability, and critical thinking. I also helped organize events and create/edit audio of podcast episodes. This was a fantastic experience to interview staff from an NGO I volunteer for, the Environmental Investigation Agency. I look forward to developing public speaking skills during a Q&A event with the Collective for Climate Action (another organization I volunteer with), in February 2023 – look-out!

Greatest Challenge?

Given my passion for the topics and their infinite scope, it was difficult to avoid information-overload. Several times when I had to reflect on the bigger picture and remember key learning objectives of the module, which helped condense content. The Take Action Team’s auditing and peer-review sessions were also very useful.

Final thoughts and why you should join the module and/or Take Action team!

Joining this module will broaden your conception of sustainability and climate change and importance of understanding alternative perspectives, if we hope to transition to more just and inclusive futures for all of (non)human Nature.

The Take Action team welcomes any students, staff or alumni, to add/improve content or help with communications. You will not only gain behind-the-scenes into Keats, but also feel closer to the university by engaging with various academic and professional services staff. Finally, for anyone interested in a career in education, sustainability, climate science/action, this is an invaluable opportunity for you.


Sign up to the Sustainability & Climate Module now, launching on the 11th of October.

Get ready for another year of sustainability action at King’s 

Group picture at the London Student Sustainability Conference with participants holding up SDG signsAre you interested in all things sustainable and making a positive impact whilst at King’s? The Sustainability team have a range of volunteering opportunities, events, and other ways to learn more about climate and sustainability.

Enrol on the KEATS Sustainability & Climate module, volunteer in the Climate Action Network or Sustainability Champions programme, join a committee to make your residence more sustainable, or attend one of the many events throughout the year. Find out more and pick your project below! 

KEATS Sustainability Module, Seminar Series, and Take Action Team
The online module on Sustainability & Climate is an open-access and interdisciplinary module covering the biggest topics in sustainability from climate change and food to sustainable finance and social justice. It has been fully co-created by a Take Action Team which currently includes about 50 students, staff, and alumni members. It has been complemented by a Sustainability Seminar Series and other events to build a sense of community and support participants in developing transferable skills. The module and seminar series are relaunching in October 2022. Register here. 

King’s Climate Action Network
The King’s Climate Action Network (CAN) is an open, interdisciplinary forum bringing together people from the King’s community who are passionate about climate action. It was created in October 2020 to co-create the university’s approach to climate action and now has more than 300 members. It focuses on solutions to reduce our carbon emissions while maximising our positive impact on climate action, through 7 themes: Zero Carbon Estate, Procurement and Waste, Travel, Responsible Investment, Students & Education, Community & Engagement, and Zero Carbon Research. Join the King’s CAN 

One of the current CAN projects is the climate listening campaign in our local communities which aims to hear first-hand about the climate and sustainability challenges they face and to identify how King’s students and staff can work with them. Get involved. 

Sustainability Champions
The university’s Sustainability Champions are staff who work on campus and in our residences to make King’s a more sustainable working environment; reducing the negative and maximising the positive social and environmental impacts. Throughout the year, Sustainability Champions work on implementing projects and actions and working toward gaining a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award. Find out more. 

Sustainability Month
King’s Sustainability Month takes place every year in February. This month is a collaboration between King’s and KCLSU that offers all those involved an opportunity to learn more about sustainability topics, collaborate and connect with others from across King’s and #TakeAction on the climate crisis. The month includes exciting events organised by people from across the King’s community focused on one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Check out Sustainability Month 2022 

King’s Community Garden
Did you know King’s has a Community Garden on campus? Email kingscommunitygarden@kcl.ac.uk if you would like to contribute to this garden or get more information. Check out how to find King’s Wolfson Card Courtyard Community Garden here.

Podcast
The King’s Spotlight on Sustainability podcast aims to draw attention to sustainability at King’s and beyond. The goal is to get you thinking about some of the issues and challenges we face regarding climate change and the natural world by highlighting some of the excellent work surrounding sustainability happening at King’sand on a local, national and global level. Start listening here. 

Sustainable Residences
Students living in King’s Residences can participate in the Sustainable Living Community buddy scheme and join the Sustainable Living Communities Facebook group. 

 

If you want to set up your own sustainability project with friends, a society, or individually, you can also get in touch with the team for support. Any ideas, feedback, things to promote, are always welcome: sustainability@kcl.ac.uk. 

All of those who make a significant contribution to sustainability at King’s will be recognised through the Sustainability Awards and/or the King’s Experience Champion for Change Awards.

Expand your positive impact to local communities by signing up to volunteer with King’s Volunteering.  

Make a difference during your time at King’s! Group photo of Sustainability Award attendees and Senior Leaders.

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 

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.

Community Garden week at King’s

It’s King’s Community Garden week!🌳

King’s Community Garden (Guy’s Campus) was setup by Oli Austen – Sustainability Champion and senior technical officer in the Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine.

Oli set up the space as gardening is a great way to connect with nature (especially for city dwellers), and evidence for the positive impact of gardening is always growing. A report by the King’s Fund in 2016 found many health benefits of gardening, including significant reductions in depression and anxiety. The Royal Horticultural Society website also lists advantages such as improving cardiovascular health and promoting a healthy diet🌸

Since its creation the garden has been tended to by undergraduate and postgraduate students, professional services staff, academics, technicians and KCLSU staff🌱

You can get involved with the community garden in the future by emailing kingscommunitygarden@kcl.ac.uk.

Check out how to find King’s Wolfson Card Courtyard Community Garden here.

Sustainability Stories: Liza and Mia from Fetch Ur Veg

Fetch Ur Veg is a student-run vegetable bag cooperative at King’s. If you would like to sign up, volunteer or join the committee, follow @FetchUrVeg on Instagram.

Can you tell us a bit about yourselves and your background?

[Liza] I’m a third-year BSc Nutrition student, and I’m originally from Belarus.

[Mia] I’ve just graduated with a BA in International Relations. I’m from Osaka, Japan and the UK.

What does sustainability mean to you?

[Liza] Sustainability is about maintaining a balance. It’s about how long and beautifully we can live and coexist with nature and maintain the diversity of the natural world.

[Mia] Sustainability is about caring about where things come from, how you’re using them, how long you’re using them and not taking them for granted. Also, remembering that the Earth doesn’t belong to us, but we belong to the Earth.

Is there a specific turning point you can identify that sparked your interest in sustainability?

[Liza] It started quite early on for me because I was in a school in Moscow that was incredibly sustainability-driven – which is quite funny to think about now because Moscow was and is not a very sustainable city. We were taught about recycling even though there weren’t any recycling systems in Russia, and everyone was encouraged to drop the personal drivers and use buses instead. So, I was conscious of it but never really cared that much. I really started caring because of my mother’s friend. She started promoting a healthy lifestyle from a food perspective, and I had terrible acne when I was younger, so eating healthily became a way for me to deal with my skin. And eventually, I caught onto the impact of food and the importance of eating sustainably.  So yeah, I didn’t like see a picture of a seal with plastic and think, wow, poor seal. It was probably more of an egotistical way of getting into sustainability, hahaha.

[Mia] I think I started noticing sustainability after I went vegan. I decided to become vegan because it seemed fun and interesting, and then a friend told me about the sustainable benefits of a plant-based diet, and I was like, wow, that’s a great addition to this new diet.  And from there, it was like a domino effect.

Could you tell us a little about Fetch Ur Veg?

[Mia] FUV was founded by two alumni of King’s, inspired by a similar initiative at a French university. I think students can find it difficult to find good quality vegetables or cook sustainably, or they’re just put off from cooking because it seems expensive to buy all the ingredients at once. But what the veg bag does is you don’t have to choose the vegetables – you get seasonal vegetables from local farmers which is more sustainable and at a discounted price. A weekly veg bag costs around £7.00 a week. If you have a small appetite, it’s just enough for two people, but if not, it’s perfect for one person. And if you volunteer, you can also get some extra veg on the side for free, which is always quite nice!

Our main goal is to offer a more sustainable way of getting your vegetable groceries and maybe stepping out of your comfort zone and encouraging yourself to cook with different ingredients. Each bag comes with a leaflet with recipes and cooking tips. Contrary to the supermarket, the vegetables you get are still covered in dirt. So you get an overall healthier diet, with a diverse set of vegetables that are not stripped of their nutrients or chemically processed and cleaned, and it just really makes you appreciate the food a lot more!

[Liza] Coming from my nutritional science background, I’ve been reading a lot about gut health and the importance of diversity in your diet. Experts recommend eating 30 different plant-based foods a week… and because FUV’s offering really follows the seasons, you’re guaranteed to get a larger diversity of veg.

Why did you decide to get involved and volunteer?

[Liza] I keep trying to remember how I found FUV… I remember really wanting to find a way to buy local veg that didn’t involve travelling to a farmer’s market (which aren’t always close by or accessibly priced).  So when I saw this wonderful scheme (which I thought was a genius idea), I bought a veg bag and then signed up as a volunteer, and it sort of kicked off from there. I also thought it would be a great way to meet some cool fellow vegetable lovers! So I guess it’s like my love for vegetables that piqued my interest. I don’t know how many people can relate to that, hahaha?

[Helena] You touched upon an aspect of the community, and I think that was the strong pull for me. London is such a big city, and I feel like we’re very disconnected from where our food comes from – you know, it just lands in our supermarkets all cleaned and packaged. But other options aren’t necessarily as accessible. So FUV was just an obvious yes for me. But the other thing I was drawn to was the opportunity to volunteer and spend a couple hours each week, outside, just packing vegetables with a lovely group of people. It was always such a great way to get away from coursework, to feel the fresh air, feel connected to others, to the food I’ll be eating, to get my hands dirty. It’s very –

[Liza] – meditative and calming.

[Mia] I agree. It’s very therapeutic.

In what ways are you taking action on sustainability?

[Mia] A lot of me being sustainable comes from actually being quite frugal. So there are certain things I haven’t bought in years, such as kitchen towel or clingfilm – I’ll just use a cloth or cover it with another bowl or plate. When I’m in London, I use apps like Karma, Olio or Too Good to Go. Karma and Too Good To Go allow you to buy leftover produce or goods from stores at a reduced price, so they’re great if you live in a busy city with lots of surplus food. Olio lets you give produce you won’t use to people in your community. For example, if you buy a bottle of cordial and try a little but don’t like it, you can put it on Olio, and someone from your community will come and pick it up. So those are great ways to shop more sustainably, tackle food waste and save money!

If you’re an international student, your friends will probably move around a lot. Everyone always has awkward bits of salt or some cling film or soap, etc., things that they don’t want to take with them. So you can always help them out by taking those, and it’s a perfect way to just keep things going around. I really think the best thing is to just try and make do with what you have and see how far you can go with one product.

If you make one change, it inspires you to make another one, and another one and it keeps going. Take it slowly, and don’t bash yourself for using one piece of plastic sometimes because it will not be perfect. It’s the same with being vegan. I don’t think anyone should be forced to be vegan 100% of the time, and in many places, you just really can’t be vegan 100% of the time. So I just suggest that people be maybe 5% more sustainable than they were last week and then just keep increasing that number, in ways that are convenient for you.

I would add that with FUV, our goal is not to make people become vegan. We just hope that the bags will inspire you to have one plant-based dish a week and try new recipes. And when you try plant-based foods, don’t focus on how/if it’s similar to meat; approach it with curiosity and awe that we’re able to make some really creative foods. Like how on earth did someone think to mix tapioca starch and three flavourings together and make it taste like fish? It’s insane. Being curious and enjoying the process is the most important thing.

Can you recommend a resource (book, activist, documentary, social media account) for people who’d like to learn more?

[Liza] Ooh, ok, I have to say Ottolenghi. I mean, he’s like the God of vegetable cooking. So his recipes have been hugely inspiring for me and have allowed me to discover how to cook so many different vegetables.

[Mia] I really love the Zero Waste Japan account – it’s run by a mum of two young kids, and it’s quite wholesome. Everyone probably knows Max Lammana, Alice Aedy and Jack Harries – they’re all really great activists. But I tend to prefer Japanese resources in English because while it’s crucial to be bold and make really clear statements about how we can be more sustainable, I personally think that taking a more gentle approach encourages many more people to make small changes. Whereas activists can sometimes be quite daunting because they’re so passionate about the subject, and even if it’s for a really great cause, I think it can create a barrier for people who are sceptical about this subject. If you’re looking for Asian vegan recipes, @okonomikitchen and @chez.jorge are great!

What is something that currently gives you hope for the future?

[Mia] From the time I moved to London, which was only three years ago, I think the amount of vegan options has quadrupled.  People I know are huge meat eaters, people who you didn’t expect will be like, oh, that’s interesting. My grandma recently bought regular lasagna for everyone else, but she saw all the M & S plant kitchen options and bought me 6 different things to try over the weekend. Living sustainably has become integrated into many aspects of our lives. It’s so easy to focus on the negatives, but many little changes really add up to a lot.  I think we just need another big push, and I believe sustainable lifestyles will become the norm. I think that everything is moving in the right direction, considering that people who probably had no idea about sustainability a few years ago have at least a small idea now.

[Liza] I’m a bit more pessimistic… Maybe renewable energy will have a breakthrough, or a miracle kind of battery for electric cars that isn’t bad for the environment will be invented that isn’t also bad for the environment. Yeah, still waiting for a miracle, I suppose.

Thank you, Liza and Mia! The ‘Sustainability Stories’ series seeks to highlight the work and passion of individuals from across the King’s community. If you would like to get involved, get in touch with us.

 

Why should you become a Sustainability Champion Assistant?

This guest blog comes from Mason Cole, MA Politics and Contemporary History student and Sustainability Champion Assistant, supporting the King’s Energy Team.

With a new academic year approaching, you may be thinking about how you can get involved in sustainability at King’s. While many students come to university eagerly anticipating joining societies, less think about volunteering. I’ll be honest, I was one of them. When I became a Sustainability Champion Assistant (SCA), I had little idea of what it would entail. But here I am to explain why you should become an SCA for King’s Energy.

Clock volunteering hours

Did you know that at KCL you can log your volunteering hours on an online portal for an award? You could receive a bronze, silver or gold award for your efforts which is not only a personal pat on the back but would also be viewed favourably when included on your CV. It should be noted that you can mix-and-match volunteering experiences so you won’t only be reliant on King’s Energy, but over an academic year, you can easily attain a Gold award just through being a Sustainability Champion.

Learn new things

I’ll be honest, when I was allocated to King’s Energy, I whipped out the old CGP GCSE Physics revision guide to refresh my knowledge. However, prepare to be surprised. You will work with experts in the field who have extensive experience working in their field. I’ve been working with the Energy Team for 6 months, and I feel like a bonafide expert already, so you’ll be surprised how quickly and easily you will pick up information. Another thing that may surprise you is just how versatile the topic of energy is and how it links with so many different things around us.

Gain experience doing something you love

No, I don’t mean energy. We don’t expect you to love energy (although you may just fall in love with it along the way), but you likely have a skill that we are looking for. For me, that skill is writing. I love writing but it is so difficult to gain experience in a low-pressure environment. Enter King’s Energy. Whether your skill is writing, social media marketing or team management, there is a role for you here.

Make a positive impact

How could I ignore this one? As I mentioned, energy is all-encompassing, and it’s becoming an increasingly important issue in the modern world. Not only will being an SCA enable you to learn more about this crucial matter, but you will also be raising awareness and spreading that knowledge in an impartial, non-political way. In other words, you will play a vital role in the education of climate issues and, in doing so, help protect the future of our planet.

There you have it – my top four reasons to become an SCA!

The Sustainability Champions Assistant programme is an opportunity open to all King’s students to help the King’s Sustainability Team deliver the Staff Sustainability Champions programme. Find out more here

Mason’s experience working with King’s Energy

This guest blog comes from Mason Cole, MA Politics and Contemporary History student and Sustainability Champion Assistant (SCA), supporting the King’s Energy Team.

Those of you who are regular readers of our weekly blog posts may notice the same name every week next to the title – that’s me. You may be questioning what I actually do, why I volunteer for King’s Energy and how I keep churning out these posts – or not. But I will tell you anyway.

To be completely honest, I didn’t sign up to volunteer as a sustainability champion because I was particularly passionate about being an ecowarrior. In fact, I didn’t even sign up at all. My girlfriend signed me up because she felt some volunteering experience would look good on my CV. I must confess, I wasn’t pleased. I interpreted that I would be collecting rubbish in my already limited spare time. When I was assigned to King’s Energy, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. To give you some background info, I studied History as my BA and Politics and Contemporary History as my MA – nothing “sciency” and very little to do with energy.

But I attended the first meeting with the team, consisting of two permanent members plus whichever sustainability champions have been coerced into joining. When I started, there were two of us. Neither of us knew a thing about energy. You would think it is quite over-awing being dropped in a call with two people who work and have extensive experience in the field, but they’re completely normal people who are relaxed and accommodating, creating a laid-back, low-pressure environment. Additionally, they had no initial expectations of us. Instead, they allowed us to establish what roles we wanted to take on – enabling us to play to our strengths. Finally, the role did not involve hours of scouring the beach for litter. Instead, I spent an hour a week partaking in our virtual team meetings and around the same time researching and writing blog posts.

When it comes to this part of the role, you agree as a team what the post will be about, but the content and how you write it is entirely up to you. There is also the opportunity to create graphics for social media, but if you were to see some of my attempts, you would understand why I stuck to writing. In terms of researching and writing posts, as I mentioned, it is not terribly time-consuming, and it is actually interesting. Energy is not just about telling people to turn the lights off; it covers how it is generated, the impacts of this and educates you on how energy affects your life. It is a topic of huge importance, and quite simply, there is no better place to educate yourself on this than working with King’s Energy.

Six months on from being forcibly signed up, I am here advocating the role. As my girlfriend initially suggested, it will take pride of place on my CV, but it has been so much more than that. I have gained valuable writing experience and been exposed to a potential future career.

The Sustainability Champions Assistant programme is an opportunity open to all King’s students to help the King’s Sustainability Team deliver the Staff Sustainability Champions programme. Find out more here

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