Every year the Environment Team gains a new Sustainability Intern whose position last for a year. This internship provides the incredible opportunity to work for the University of St Andrews Estates Environment Team, helping to support, develop and implement the sustainability agenda across the campus. Over a series of blogs we have invited some of our interns to answer a few questions about their time as Sustainability Intern and what they have being doing since finishing the position. First up we have Lynsey Smith who was with the Environment Team from 2014 to 2015.
What was your favourite part of your role as Sustainability Officer?
The people! The role requires you to work with lots of different people: students, university staff, colleagues at other institutions, members of the community and other external stakeholders. It is a great feeling when you are working together towards a common goal, and I was very inspired and motivated by the fantastic ideas generated by our students to help build a more sustainable St Andrews.
Was there a particular highlight of your year within the Environment Team?
Green Week and Fairtrade Fortnight were real highlights of my time in the Environment Team. We spent so long planning and preparing for all the activities that it was really rewarding to see so many students, staff, and members of the community getting involved in the work that we do and showing their support by taking the time out of their day to attend our events.
Do you think you were particularly sustainable before the role? How did your attitudes to the environment and your own behaviours change over the year you were with the team?
I think I was relatively sustainable before I took on the role, but there is always room for improvement! Holding the position of “Sustainability Officer” certainly makes you a lot more aware of your own behaviours and actions, and when trying to implement behaviour change across an institution, looking at your own actions is often a very good place to start.
What do you think the University’s strongest asset/project/policy is in it’s pursuit for sustainability?
Again…the people! As a whole, I think our University community is very passionate about the local environment, and a huge number of fantastic initiatives have stemmed from the desire to make St Andrews greener and greater. By nurturing this enthusiasm and with the right support I believe we can make St Andrews an even more sustainable institution.
Tell us what you have been up to since finishing your position as Sustainability Intern!
Since my contract ended I have remained in St Andrews, but now work in the Admissions unit as an Education Liaison Officer. My job involves a lot of travel to meet prospective students, tell them about St Andrews, and offer advice and guidance on the application process. As a unit we are very aware of the impact our business travel has on the environment, but it is very encouraging to see us using alternative means of connecting with students when possible (e.g. Skype sessions and webinars) and alternative methods of transport (rail travel is encouraged, and we use E-Cars for travel to local events).
Do you have any green new year’s resolutions for 2017?
Because I undertake so much business travel I am trying to keep my personal travel carbon to a minimum. I invested in a huge travel guide full of ideas for places to visit in the UK and have a couple of “staycations” planned for this year so that I can explore more of what is right on our doorstep!