My placement started in September 2020 and my role was Sustainability Advocate. I worked with the sustainability team over the past year to help embed sustainable practices throughout the university. My goal at the start of the placement was to build my understanding of sustainability in wider detail more than just specifically to my course (Textiles Design). I also wanted to build my confidence, take more of a leading role on projects and have more experience with working and communicating with others in a work environment. All of which I have had the chance to work on over the past year on a variety of different projects.

While on my placement I had the opportunity to be involved in many projects that collaborated with others who were both internal and external to the university. Being able to provide admin and technical support on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Board meetings and at the Regional Centre of Excellence (RCE) conference on climate change, really helped me build confidence and communication that the start of my placement. The skills I gained are very transferable to future work and really helped me engage with the projects.

Hedgehog Friendly Campus was one of the standout projects I worked on. I was given the responsibility of looking into and setting up the project. The aim is to make the University campus a safe place for hedgehogs to thrive and raise awareness on how to protect them. I was involved in the approval process, setting up a working group and planning/completing the criteria. Due to the date of my placement ending a lot of the events I started to plan will take place after I leave. However, as a student I still plan to be involved in the project. I am extremely proud that I was given this responsibility and that I could set up the project that can be run for many years going forwards.

Other opportunities I was able to be involved in was organising and delivering a student led event which was attended by many universities across the UK, being a speaker at multiple conferences including a European working group on ESD and being interviewed by other DMU students in an audit review of the university’s sustainability progress. These were completely new experiences for me and before doing the placement I wouldn’t have had the confidence to put myself forwards for them. 

Going back into final year I plan to include and research further into sustainability. I really want my placement to aid my future work so I can make a positive impact. I also plan to stay involved in projects and events that the sustainability team run because I really would like to remain a part of helping improved the sustainability for the university. I am extremely glad I was able to be apart of the team over the past year. They have been so supportive, and I am excited to see what the future holds.