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Introducing our Sustainability Interns

Sustainability Interns
Sustainability Interns

Written by
Max Holloway
Published date
14 November 2019

In a UAL first, our Sustainability team has recruited 8 interns who will be working on sustainability projects across the university. The interns are all current UAL students, with a mixture of first years and post-graduates.

In their first meeting, the interns got to know more about sustainability at UAL, the challenges of having such a big central London estate and the successful interventions starting back in 2013 that have been paving the way for the university’s move to a more sustainable and green institution.

What makes this project different from what other universities are doing is that we’ve invited the interns to work with staff to co-create their job roles and the scope of their projects. It’s important that this is a collaborative process and will help us get greater insight into some of the opportunities across the university and will contribute to 2020’s Green League.

We caught up with some of our interns to find out a little bit more about them and their projects.


Harvey Wright

College: London College of Fashion

Course: Psychology of Fashion

Project: Sustainability E-Pledge initiative

Why did you want to be a Sustainability Intern?

I wanted to gain a better understanding of how sustainable consideration is implemented in a business.

What does your project involve?

My role involves helping to raise awareness and increase student engagement with regards to sustainability.

Why do you think it’s important to have sustainability interns?

As students of the university, the interns have inside knowledge of what other students will be interested in. It also gives a fresh perspective on sustainability and problems that need solving.

What do you do on a personal level to live sustainably?

Whilst I admit I still have a long way to go before I can say I live a completely sustainable life, I do try and do my bit. I am a vegetarian and have been for 10+ years, I walk everywhere it is humanly possible and I spread the message of sustainability to anyone that will listen.


Yasmin Turner

College: London College of Fashion

Course: Psychology of Fashion

Project: Sustainability E-Pledge initiative

Why did you want to be a Sustainability Intern?

I have always been personally interested in sustainability, with a focus on the fashion industry given its issues. Although this project will not directly impact the fashion industry, I believe by changing the attitudes of young people at UAL, it will change the future and the fashion industry.

What does your project involve?

I am working with one of the other interns to produce an E-pledge board where students and staff can pledge ways that they can help reduce UAL’s carbon emissions.

Why do you think it’s important to have sustainability interns?

I think it is important as students can be the voice of change, and they bring a new perspective given that they have not worked in it before.

What do you do on a personal level to live sustainably?

I try to make small changes in my life to live more sustainably. These include buying most of my clothing from vintage stores or charity shops; being a vegetarian; using reusables wherever I go and actively campaigning for a stronger government policy through Extinction Rebellion.


Sachi Patil

College: Central Saint Martins

Course: MA Graphic Communication

Project: Encouraging positive behavioural change and lifestyle choices

Why did you want to be a Sustainability Intern?

Through my undergraduate program, I developed a deep relationship with the idea of sustainability at an individual level and I also ended unmaking my thesis project on the same topic. I applied for the sustainability intern position at UAL to dig deeper into my practices and learn more about the same through the sustainability department at UAL. I believe individual behaviour and intentions are responsible for greater impacts and I would like to explore that relationship through my internship.

What does your project involve?

I will be looking at conducting fun and interactive surveys to understand the students’ perspectives about sustainability at UAL and their personal practices.

Why do you think it’s important to have sustainability interns?

The interns provide an important connection between the university and the students at UAL.

What do you do on a personal level to live sustainably?

In 2017, my thesis project was an enquiry on the role of consumerism in this world of climate change. As a part of my project I conducted an experiment on myself to live my life in a sustainable manner in every possible way. After the project ended, I am still very conscious of my consumptions and I try to live/eat/shop/sustain myself more mindfully than I did three years ago.


Liene Kazaka

College: Central Saint Martins

Course: MA Material Futures

Project: Boosting compliance across the university with our Environmental Management Systems.

Why did you want to be a Sustainability Intern?

I wanted to apply because of the importance that sustainability department has when facing climate emergency. I wanted to learn about and be part of systematic sustainability solutions.

What does your project involve?

My role will involve site visits, assessing current state of UAL facilities according to environmental management system and helping to make improvements where needed.

Why do you think it’s important to have sustainability interns?

It is a great link between very motivated students that have a lot of drive to make the university sustainable and the department that has the knowledge and experience but also knows the daily struggles for achieving the same goals.

What do you do on a personal level to live sustainably?

I try to be as minimal as possible in my consumption and always chose quality over quantity.


Sandy Andres

College: London College of Communication

Course: MA Advertising

Project: Looking into how we make our events more sustainable

Why did you want to be a Sustainability Intern

I was excited to see that UAL puts in so much effort into sustainability. I can keep moving forward with my sustainability practices from my previous jobs and adapting new ones as UAL grows as one of the greenest university in the UK. I’d especially like to make UAL events, be it workshops, conferences, talks, etc more eco-friendly & sustainable.

What does your project involve?

Making the journey of event planning and execution more sustainable by observing current behaviours of organisers and attendees but as well as putting in place a guideline or charter in order to track efforts made. Also involve people in good practices.

Why do you think it’s important to have sustainability interns?

Because we are actively involved in this. We are the students now and this is our only time to make a change, not only for us but also for the future students to come. Additionally everyone comes from different backgrounds and cultures so it is highly valuable as we can find different solutions together.

What do you do on a personal level to live sustainably?

I mainly eat organic food as well as fair-trade wherever possible. I like to walk a lot. A lot seems “walking distance” to me, I think I wouldn’t mind walking an hour somewhere. I rarely eat meat during the week. Also I usually don’t get a hot drink to go if I didn’t bring my own cup. I like to buy sustainable clothing and recently avoid purchasing fast fashion.


Mengfan Chen

College: London College of Communication

Course: MA Data Visualisation

Project: Feasibility study into how our canteens can achieve Fairtrade status

Why did you want to be a Sustainability Intern?

Before I came to study at UAL, I had taken an online course called ’Fashion & Sustainability: Understanding Luxury Fashion in a Changing World’ which was opened by Centre for Sustainable Fashion from LCF. From that course I learnt what an industry or an organisation can do towards sustainability. An organisation is responsible to evaluate its own system and trace back to some raw sources.

I was impressed by UAL’s expertise and emphasis on sustainability. So I applied to be a sustainability intern at UAL, wishing to join a team not only promoting the idea of sustainability to a broader scale of audience, but also improving its own environmental and social impact.

What does your project involve?

I will be looking into Fairtrade at UAL. This involves finding out from the catering department at King Cross, the catering company Baxter Storey and the Students Union what is feasible against the Fairtrade status requirement.

Why do you think it’s important to have sustainability interns?

I think this is a good way to engage students. With students interning for sustainability at UAL, it shows that sustainability is a matter for everyone and every student can take their own actions

What do you do on a personal level to live sustainably?

If not in hurry, I always walk for 40 mins instead of taking vehicles for 20 mins. And every time I go to supermarket, I take my own shopping bags.


So whether it’s working to help us achieve our pledge to cut an extra 1 million kWh this year through a student and staff pledge board, encouraging more students to get involved with the Sustainability Working Group or working with teams across the university to make sure our events are as sustainable as possible – there’s lots going on and we can’t wait to see the results.