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Case Study: Lucy

Personal details
Degree:MA Sustainable Development Profile picture
School(s): School of Geography and Geosciences
Year of Graduation:Jun-2011
National of: United Kingdom
Employment details
Organisation: University of St Andrews, Estates
Job title: Sustainability Intern
Occupational Sector: Sustainability Consultancy
What has been your route to getting your current position?
While still a student in the SD programme, I heard about the position of Sustainability Intern through personal contacts at the University. I happened to know my predecessor, Hanna Plant, who encouraged me to apply for the position. After interviewing and being offered the position in May 2011, I started the job only a week after I graduated in June!
What does your job involve ?
The Sustainability Intern post on the Environment Team is funded by Santander and is part of the bank’s Universities Global Division. As Sustainability Intern, I work on the outreach, communication and awareness raising projects and report writing for the Environment Team. Such projects include a Staff Environmental Awareness campaign, which has so far consisted of an all staff survey and developing a CAPOD training course for ‘Environmental Facilitators’, leading a student campaign in favor of the Kenly Wind Turbines project, and an art competition with a local primary school for a green illustration to go on the side of the Grounds 100% electric vehicle. Reports have included helping with the development of an Environmental Management System for Estates, writing up the Green Business Tourism Award re-application for two halls of residence and a carbon and climate change report on the University’s practical SD actions.

There is lots of potential for working with people to engage others in environmental actions. I am a Carbon Conversations Facilitator and lead staff and students in the course, I have participated in several University events such as Kaleidoscope Festival, Re/Freshers Fayre and Green Week, and I have helped produce and ‘Sustainability in Practice’ films on recycling at the University.

What are the best bits of your job ?
The best bits of my job are a mix between the work that I’m doing and the atmosphere that I’m working in. It has been so satisfying to go straight into a job where my degree is directly relevant, and to feel like this work is making an impact. The other best part about my job is that I’m not stuck at a desk all day, but am able to move all about the campus and interact with others, and all of the people in Estates are wonderful to work with.

Being the Sustainability Intern with Estates has taught me practical skills to support my degree and has shown me what sustainability put into practice looks like. It has been fascinating to work ‘behind-the-scenes’ and rewarding to make a positive change here at my University! It’s a great feeling to know I’m making a difference in a place that I care about.

Why were you successful?
Apart from being a graduate of the St Andrews SD programme with a good academic record, related experience helped me to get the job. As a student I was actively involved in environmental initiatives as a member of the Transition Steering Group and helped to write a successful grant to the Scottish Government for £90,000. I had also been highly involved in other areas of student life as an active member of the Charities Campaign, leading events and organizing fundraising projects. In addition, I had experience in an environmentally focused summer internship Sound skills as a verbal and written communicator were essential for the position as well as the ability to work in a team and motivate others
What skills/ knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?

As the job is the ‘Sustainability’ Intern, pretty much all aspects of the SD have been relevant, particularly, however, ideas about behavior change and theories of paradigm shifts. In addition, basic knowledge of climate change, renewable energies, biodiversity and habitat change, and waste. The skills that were very useful from my SD were working in a group, report writing, researching and presentation practice.

What advice would you give to students wishing to follow the same path?

The advice that I’d give to students wishing to be the next Sustainability Intern for Estates would be to get involved at the University. For the job, it is really helpful to know people around campus and how the student life runs.

In accepting the job, don’t be worried about finding housing. Housing for non-undergraduate is a totally different situation and things come up all throughout the spring and the summer. The job is 8:45- 5:00, with an hour lunch break, and hardly ever evenings and weekends, and when these arise it is up to you whether or not to attend events. The office at Estates is beautifully situated on East Sands. Social life is great as you are still able to be part of everything that goes on at the University