Sustainability Action Blog


New chapters, constant commitment

By Julia Kendal |

Blackout Team

When I joined the University’s Sustainability Action Programme four and a half years ago, I came ready to work. What I didn’t expect, was how much I’ve learnt along the way.

I’ve learnt that students really are changing the world for the better, through their innovation, their commitment to the planet and their peers, and their academic brilliance. Over 100 of us gathered for the UK’s first international student sustainability symposium in April to celebrate student research that is making the world better now, and for future generations.

I’ve seen groups of committed colleagues give their time, their energies and their expertise to support the university and its local communities. In December last year I was a small part of a big team co-ordinating a collection of Christmas gifts for local charity SCRATCH’s Christmas Complete project, ensuring that over 1930 young people had a Christmas gift that year.

It is however, when students and staff work together that I’ve seen the greatest impact. The partnerships we’ve forged to deliver swap shops, take Waste Wars into its tenth year, launch the annual Sustainability Action Awards, and develop and deliver Blackout – campus switch off campaign spanning five campuses – have enabled us to take student-staff sustainability engagement to greater heights.

The nature of sustainability is that the achievements are great, but the job is never done. After four and a half years at the University, I’m taking all of this learning to a new role and organisation. My job title may be changing, but my dedication to sustainability and community remains constant. The University’s commitment also remains, with the announcement earlier this year that environmental, social and economic sustainability form one of the four pillars of its strategy. Looking back at all we’ve achieved over the past four years, I’m excited to see what the years ahead hold for this community of brilliant and dedicated students and staff. It’s been a privilege to be part of it.


Thank you to all my colleagues who’ve made working at the University so enjoyable and rewarding. A particular shout out must go to the various Chairs of the Sustainability Action Programme during my time here – Simon Kemp, Neil Smith and Lucy Potashnick.

I may be leaving the University but I can still be found on Twitter if you want to get in touch or see what my next chapter holds.