Meet the Interns Part 2: Daihachi Yagi

Continuing our “Meet the Interns” series, this week we’d like to introduce you to Daihachi Yagi!

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Name: Daihachi Yagi
Where are you from?: New York, USA
Internship Title: Web Design Discovery Intern
Degree and year of study: Sustainable Development (entering 3rd year)

Give a brief snapshot of your role:
My primary task for this internship was to assist Estates and the Environment Team in re-evaluating the digital content on the Estates and Environment Team webpages. Much of what I did involved interviewing staff and students.

What attracted you to this internship with the Environment Team?
I was interested in seeing what kind of experience I would have working for the University over the summer.

What have you learned/what skills have you acquired?
During this internship I was able to learn some key do’s and don’ts of website design and content management. Additionally, the interviews with stakeholders improved my communication skills.

How does this internship fit into your future career plans?
This is the first job that relates to what I have been studying for the past 2 years. Hopefully this will open new doors in the Environment/SD sector for me in the future.

Share one tip for sustainable living that you wish more students would adopt:
Reduce meat consumption. You can save money and shrink your carbon footprint!

Creative Engineering students visit Guardbridge & Kenly

This summer, 24 students from the South China University of Technology are visiting St Andrews to take part in a three-week long course on “Creativity in Engineering”, which has a stong focus on renewables and sustainable energy practices. At the end of their three weeks, the students must present their ideas for how the University of St Andrews can reduce its non-renewable energy usage, and help us reach our ambitious goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2016!

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To help them out, David and Roddy from the Environment Team gave a presentation last week on the measures to reduce energy consumption, and the various micro and macro renewable projects that are currently ongoing within the University. The main two projects are the community wind project at Kenly Farm, and the biomass district heating project at Guardbridge, with students being offered the chance to visit these sites as part of their day out with the Environment Team.

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First up was Guardbridge, located four miles west of St Andrews, and home to a disused paper mill. During our visit the students learned more about the history of the mill, and how the existing structures are going to be integrated into the new biomass energy centre to make it as sustainable as possible.

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Using locally procured chipped wood, the new biomass boiler will annually produce 34.3 GWh of heat which will then be pumped to St Andrews via a 6km long pipeline to heat our buildings, saving 8,000 tonnes of carbon compared to our current heating process!

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After a quick tour of the buildings we headed over to Kenly Farm, a piece of land that has been owned by the university for the last 600 years, and was once home to an airfield. Although the 6 turbines have not yet been built, it was very clear that this will be an excellent site for them based on the winds we experienced on our visit! These turbines will allow the university to take control of its energy production and reduce its carbon emissions by a further 19,000 tonnes per year, bringing us even closer to carbon neutrality.

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 The students were really engaged with the topic of renewables, and asked many articulate and insightful questions throughout our day together. Needless to say, we were very impressed with their knowledge on the subject, and can’t wait to see what they come up with for their project proposals at the end of the course!

 To find out more about Guardbridge and Kenly, check out our videos here and here.

Meet The Interns: Dominyka Urbonaite

This summer the Environment Team has been a hub of activity as we welcomed three student interns to the team to work on various projects.

We’d like to introduce them one by one so you can find out more about them, the important work they’ve been doing, and how the internships have helped them with their future career goals. It’s been great having some new faces in the office and we’ve really valued all their fresh ideas and suggestions for how we can take their projects to the next level!

So, without further ado, meet Dominyka!

DSCN5156-001 - Copy (2)Name: Dominyka Urbonaite
Where are you from? : Lithuania
Job Title: St Andrews Sustainability Award Intern
Degree and year of study: I am studying Sustainable Development and I am going to my 4th year.

Give a brief snapshot of your role:
The project I am working on is a new environmental accreditation and awards scheme called St Andrews Sustainability Awards. As part of this new scheme departments and units within university will have to complete a number of practical eco-friendly actions within their office in order to achieve an award: bronze, silver or gold. During my internship I was researching similar schemes at other universities and developing a set of environmental criteria for departments to complete.

What attracted you to this internship with the Environment Team?
I am interested in the sustainability in the institutions and working on a new programme aimed at making workplace more sustainable seemed as a brilliant opportunity.

What have you learned/what skills have you acquired?
Report writing and talking with various stakeholders was a very useful part of internship. I learned more about how the environment team operates within an academic institution and different stakeholders involved in creating a more sustainable workplace. In addition, I got to know more about areas and issues preventing from choosing the most sustainable way such as time, money and other more complex issues.

How does this internship fit into your future career plans?
I am interested in working in sustainability within institutions in the future so the experience I obtained from this internship directly relates to my future career plans.

Share one tip for sustainable living that you wish more students would adopt:
Reduce paper waste, print less lecture slides, handouts or readings and instead read on the computer or laptop. Most of all share this with a friend.

Look out for future posts introducing our other summer interns coming soon!

Say hello to your new Sustainability Officer!

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This week we welcome a new addition to the Environment Team as Lynsey Smith begins her year as Sustainability Officer.

Lynsey has recently graduated from the School of Biology at the University of St Andrews, and has a keen interest in biodiversity and environmental protection. Lynsey is eager to get stuck into the projects that the previous Sustainability Officer, Tucker Diego, took part in, as well as thinking of new ventures the Environment Team can get involved with. Tucker has been a highly valued member of the Environment Team, and will be sorely missed. We wish him all the best for the future!

Lynsey will be focusing on outreach, engagement and communication with staff and students, as well as supporting University sustainability initiatives like the Transition group. She will also be supporting the other three members of the Environment Team; Roddy Yarr, David Stutchfield and Barbara Aitken on their exciting projects, including the Environmental Facilitators Network, recycling schemes and implementing renewable energy systems to achieve the university’s goal of becoming carbon neutral for energy by 2016!

To contact Lynsey, email her on las93@st-andrews.ac.uk

You can also see what the Environment Team is up to and get in touch with Lynsey via facebook and by following us on twitter.

Looking back on the year

It’s that time of year again when a I’ll be handing over the role to a new Sustainability Officer. The nature of the 1 year graduate role means I’ll be moving on to greener pastures…

I’ve hugely enjoyed my time spend this year working on a wide range of sustainability projects here in St Andrews. There is so much going on and so many enthusiastic people doing impressive things it’s hard not to feel optomistic about the future. While rereading my predecessor’s final post, she mentions:

“The staff and students I have met during the year have been great and there are clearly many people at St Andrews who share our vision in the Environment Team for a carbon neutral future.”

One year on and I couldn’t have said it better myself.

So… what has changed? How far have we come in the past year? To answer these questions I’ve arranged a sample of happenings from this past year (along with a hint or two at things to come). I hope this shows just how much is going on and how achieving sustainable ways of living and working involves all of us.

For those interested, you can view my recent final report in full detail here: End of Year Report


Greening traditions

Sometimes we do things for no other reason than because we’ve always done it that way. I’m thinking of some of the famous St Andrews traditions we love so much. This year we made a stab at making one such tradition – Raisin Weekend – a touch more sustainable by encouraging students to make ‘greener’, less-wasteful receipts and costumes… a good try, but can we do better next year?


Long time in waiting

After years of planning, project proposals and appeals, the LOGO- smallerUniversity was glad to receive the go-ahead for the Kenly Windfarm project which represent a huge step towards powering the University from renewable energy sources. Be sure to keep an eye out in the year(s) to come as the next project phases get underway.


A shove in the right direction

Behavioural change theory suggests that in order to achieve largescale changes, sometimes a ‘shove’ is required. This is percisely what happened in January when the Scottish Government introduced new food waste legislation. And we’re glad they did so as this was a good push for expanding or recycling facilities and increasing recycling rates to 73%! How our food waste is recycled is fascinating – learn more about the process here.


A Celebration

This year saw one of the  busiest St Andrews Green Weeks 10273105_303446916477434_7205161890721196243_owith over 35 events and 750 participants taking part. What better way to celebrate sustainable living than to share ideas, food, films and activities with friends? To see what activities were offered and updates for next year’s events visit the Green Week homepage.


Exciting future

The future of a sustianble St Andrews is something to get excited about! Transition is putting this to the test by developing new and bolder projects for their next round of funding in 2015/16 and are looking for your input – why not get involved and be a part of the future?

And finally, for those who read this far – thanks for your patience. As a reward here’s a sneak peak of the new Guardbridge Energy Centre website which I’ve been developing over the past couple weeks. Keep an eye out for the launch of the website in the coming month!

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Until next time –

Tucker