Meet the new sustainability team at the Student Green Office.

Now that that new academic year is in full swing, the Student Green Office (SGO) has employed four new officers. With an aim of enhancing sustainability at University and beyond, Harry, Jack, Halle, and Jenny all have exciting plans for the year ahead.

We caught up with them to find out more.

Harry, third year Film student

“I got involved with the SGO after finding out about it just last year. I really liked all the little things they were doing that built a community and an awareness around sustainability.

“I wanted to meet like-minded people whilst focusing on sustainability. I went through quite a large period with eco-anxiety. I delved into a negative spiral as I focused on what was wrong with the world, which I shared with my friends. But it wasn’t helping.

“So, I turned the narrative around and focused on the positives. Being around people who share the same beliefs as me, and focusing on positive messages and events, really helped.

“Being a part of the SGO has helped me share my voice as well. I also have an idea of creating short-form video content for socials, covering sustainability at CCCU and what people can do to help the environment. Being a Film student, this is something I’m really excited for and something that will hopefully help my fellow students as they engage with sustainability at uni.”

Jack, PGCE Further Education student

“My background is in community organising, which I’ve been doing for the last three years. Whilst I was rushing from church to church last year in the 40-degree heat, I realised that if we don’t do something to fight climate change right now, then it’ll be far too late.

“As my degree’s in education, I’ve been moonlighting the carbon literacy training with the goal of eventually delivering that to students, as well as staff.

“I’m also doing a mini series with lecturers who have been embedding sustainability into their courses and curricula. I’m building a portfolio of staff experiences asking questions along the line of: Why have you embedded sustainability? What challenges did you face?

“With this, I’m hoping that this will eventually be used externally so other institutions can benefit from embedding sustainability into their curriculum.”

Halle, second year Games Design student

“I joined the SGO because I care about a lot of people and I want them to live in a world that’s clean, healthy, and ultimately happy.

“I’m particularly interested in fast fashion and how we can minimise it. Let’s be real, eradicating fast fashion seems impossible – there is no conscious consumption under capitalism.

“So rather than tackling the impossible, I’m looking at spreading awareness around sustainability and how to consume ethically. For example, rather than spending £300 on loads of clothes that you’ll wear once, you could buy one item that would wear a lot.

“I’m currently running a fast fashion campaign for Oxfam and Amnesty International, which is due to launch in a few weeks. Our goal is to get students climate-educated and to create some engaging resources that will shed light on the importance of tackling climate change.

“I also have ideas for a clothes swap towards Christmas. This will be a great opportunity for students to get a whole new wardrobe in a sustainable way.”

Jenny, first year Forensic Archaeology student

“I’m lucky enough to come from a pretty, quiet village in the middle of nowhere. I’ve always appreciated how beautiful our country is, and I’d really like it to stay this way. I want to keep the planet alive for future generations to come, and I want others to experience how lovely our countryside is, just like I have.

“My main goal this year is to teach other students how to implement small sustainable habits that are good for the environment. Thinking about sustainability on a global level is quite overwhelming. But if we create small, easy habits then we’ll all be doing our bit.

“I also like to work with the seasons, so I’m working on a few Christmas projects. Christmas is a time of year that is insane for consumerism. I’m working with the team to plan events that involve making your own Christmas presents and wrapping paper, rather than buying them.”

Taking a collaborative approach to enhance sustainability

The SGO’s main goal is to implement sustainable education and action around the University, so they’re eager to collaborate with other teams around campus.

They’re currently working with Christ Church Students’ Union (CCSU); Harry has plans to link up with the library and our social media team; and Jack continues to work with lecturers and fellow PGCE students as he delves into the practice of teaching sustainability in the classroom.

But one of their main, shared goals is to connect with our students. Halle explains more:

“Students can sometimes be wasteful, particularly with fast fashion. Many don’t recycle and forget to foster these small habits that Jenny is keen to showcase.

“Being sustainable is so easy. But there’s a long way to go. We want to nurture our community and get as many students on board with us so they can spread not only sustainability awareness, but also create daily habits that will benefit the environment.

“It’s also a fantastic opportunity to socialise, make friends, and try something new.”

Jack: “I think that’s why the SGO is so important. We’re modelling these behaviour changes, as well as showing students that sustainability is embedded in everything everyone does, even their courses’ curriculum, regardless of which course they’re on.

“If we get our students on board then this will have an enormous impact because they’ll then go into the workforce and hopefully continue this sustainable mindset.

“So, we hope to foster a behaviour change amongst our student cohort, which can have such a huge impact. That’s the hope anyway!”

Why the SGO chose Canterbury Christ Church University

Whilst we were catching up, we couldn’t miss the chance to ask the team why they chose to study at CCCU.

Harry: “I feel accepted at CCCU, both on the course and with the SU. I’ve learned so many skills and made so many friends since being here. There’s a really strong and inclusive community here.

“I also like how the staff interact with the students. They’re very approachable. Whether you need support from your Personal Academic Tutor or you need to speak to the Mental Health team, there’s always some form of support for you.”

Jack: “I really like how this University really sets you up for the workplace. With the focus on employability, it’s refreshing to know that you’re learning real skills that are essential for when you graduate.”

Jenny: “I’ve only been here a few months but there are already so many opportunities open to me. I’ve joined the SGO, where I feel instantly accepted. And I’ve been invited to excavate a castle in Bulgaria.

“My lecturers are great – they’re very approachable and keen to discuss opportunities that arise. I think I’ll gain more than just a degree whilst I’m a student here.”

Halle: “This sounds very cliché but CCCU feels like home. I’ve had a lot of opportunities here that I never would’ve had back home. I’ve been to Poland, Downing Street, and now I’m following my passion in this role in the SGO. It’s exciting that I now have a platform to share my voice and actually do some good surrounding sustainability.

“I also feel very accepted with the people on my course, and my lecturers are my friends. They’re incredibly knowledgeable and friendly; I’m very grateful that I feel so accepted.”

We’re excited to see what our new SGO achieve this year. With so many plans to raise awareness around environmental sustainability, there’ll be a lot to get involved in throughout the academic year.

If you’re looking for a university that values a sustainable future and a student-led movement, then find out more about Canterbury Christ Church University and feel free to visit us to get a feel for who we are what we stand for.