Engagement, education and events by students, for students.
First piloted in 2013 as a series of three month projects initiated by students and funded by the sustainability team, the Student Green Office (SGO) swiftly developed into a permanent installation within the Academy for Sustainable Futures and 2022 marked our 10 year anniversary of peer to peer engagement at Christ Church..
Students are employed year-round in part-time roles designing and running their own events and engagement initiatives, and communicating regularly through a dedicated online blog and social media pages.
The Student Green Office acts as an umbrella for our various student engagement projects, providing physical space and resources for project work and engagement, and peer-to-peer support for one another and the students they engage with on their sustainability journies.
Each student employed in the SGO is encouraged to pursue a passion project in their role. Their work is steered and supported with the lightest of touches by members of the Academy to allow them to work with a great degree of self-direction and independence.
Each year, new employment opportunities in the SGO are advertised to students through Unitemps and where possible, at least one SGO member from the previous year carries over the legacy in person, helping to train and recruit new members the following September. Many students choose to remain working with the SGO for the entire duration of their time at the University.
If you'd like to work with our Student Green Office, there are a number of opportunities available. New SGO staff roles are advertised at the start of each academic year. We always have voluntary openings for students to write blog pieces and articles about aspects of sustainability that interest them for our blog and socials. The SGO can also support students in running projects, campaigns and one-off events on a topic they’re passionate about with a sustainability focus. If you're a representative of a student society, we also have funds available to support you in promoting accessibility and diversity within your society. You can email Felicity to get involved, or pop us a message on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Here's what some of our SGO members have said about what they most valued and how they flourished during their time in the Student Green Office.
"The world is a routinely better place than it is given credit for ... This is something I learned more than ever while undertaking Carbon Literacy Training alongside a dozen students from all across the university. For a week, we all worked together to answer questions, discuss the environmental impact of our own daily actions, and came up with plans to change our own day-to-day life in ways that would lower our carbon footprint and benefit the environment overall. Not only was it an incredible learning experience, but it was also thoroughly enjoyable and heartening to see such an interest and a willingness to learn."
-- Holly Steventon, SGO Project Officer 2021-23
"One of the things that I am very fortunate about is getting the ability to fully explore the university campus, ... to learn about the history of the campus and the heritage of the site, and how Christ Church continues it through growing heritage variety apples and hops in the Jubilee orchard, and across campus, the pizza oven and the bakehouse wall. I feel fortunate to have been able to engage with the local community too, such as going to the cathedral to watch the Walk for Amal. It’s touching to know that I was there and got to be a part of that, and that as I continue my own learning journey in these grounds, I’m able to be a part of that legacy by helping others learn about heritage and sustainability too."
“Being part of the SGO has meant creating and engaging in sustainability in a way that fits my personality and my interests, and I am incredibly grateful for the experience that my time with the SGO has given me. I have learnt about the Sustainable Development Goals, what it means to be in charge of your own project, how to promote engagement and educate, and much much more. My time as an SGO officer has been exciting and brilliant, and something I will keep with me for years to come.”
“If I could sum up my time in the SGO in one word it would be ‘transformative’. My focus within the SGO has been ‘Living Well’ and I truly believe that the best way to do this is to work collaboratively. We don’t know everything but those gaps in our knowledge can be filled by others around us. I now feel like I can see a sustainable way of working in everything I do.”
“When I applied to this job in September 2019, I had no idea how much it would influence my life. It has given me a viable career path to consider and has sparked conversations that I have both instigated and been a part of that never would have involved me if not for this job. One of the opportunities this job presented was being involved with the Carbon Literacy Training pilot group as both a member of the SGO and a student. I was involved in conversations about how the training would most effectively run as well as hearing perspectives of staff members that I wouldn’t have otherwise met. I provided a student perspective on issues and barriers that students face when it comes to sustainability and their carbon footprint, which I hope will benefit the scheme for future participants.”
"My advice for future SGOs is to just go for it, and to not worry about where they are starting in terms of sustainability. I can admit I wasn’t the best when it came to recycling at the start of this job. I was conscious of my impact on the environment and I had strong opinions on caring for animals, but I wasn’t as active in making a positive impact as I am now. Through this job I can genuinely say I have grown. My uni house has grown too, and even my family. We all now recycle and actually think about our impact so I am grateful for this role in that sense. I also feel my voice is stronger and whereas before I may not have had all the knowledge to actively discuss these issues, now I feel I do."
-- Emily Connell, SGO 'Living Well' Project Officer 2019-2020
“Upon starting university, I was fairly used to living independently; saving time and money, whilst still eating healthy, was something I was already in the habit of doing. However, after living in halls I recognised that my living habits were not shared by most students, therefore, I felt inspired to create The Student Meal-Prep Guide (The MPG). This project of mine was published in both print and digital copy through the SGO, during the Freshers season of September 2018, and then published further on our social media platforms throughout the remainder of the year. Developing skills of writing, creativity, photo editing, and time management, the SGO enabled me to create this opportunity for myself through this incredibly rewarding experience – an opportunity that I felt fully supported by the SGO to initiate and maintain creative independence with.”
-- Billie Redwood, SGO Events & Communications Officer, 2017-2019
“Working in the Student Green Office is so much more than just doing your bit for sustainability. It’s a platform where you can develop the skills you want to alongside your degree. Throughout my time with the Student Green Office I’ve been able to develop media, communications and events planning skills – all of which, when combined with my degree, are perfect for my dream jobs in science media or events. This role helps you to develop your communication, teamwork and leadership skills like no other role could. I’ve been able to meet people I never would have done just in my degree, been a part of volunteering projects I never even knew existed and above all have gained such a huge appreciation for how sustainability fits into our wider day-to-day lives.”
-- Claire Nicholson, SGO Events Coordinator, 2016-2019
“Sustainability is an incredibly important subject and the SGO has given me the opportunity to find out more about it and spread the word to the wider community. Since working here, I have improved my communication skills and have learnt how to plan events and write blogs. I’ve had the opportunity to run chocolate tasting and bake-off events, and my position perfectly complements my Events Management degree.”
-- Megan Cork, SGO Events Coordinator 2014-2017