The Student Environment & Sustainability Committee (SESC) is a student-led group which looks to improve sustainability at the University. The group aims to gather feedback and understand student priorities regarding sustainability. The SESC is chaired by the Ethics and Environment Rep and is attended by Environment & Sustainability (E&S) Reps from many academic schools. Any student can sign up to be an E&S rep, just ask about the position at your school at the start of each academic year!
The SESC was created in 2020 following student Emilie Coutin’s year as Ethics and Environment Officer. During her time in this role, Emilie set up numerous activities, including regular Ethics and Environment Discussion Groups and a Student-Staff Summit, where students were able to put their ideas to members of Executive Board. When Emilie left the post, she put plans in place to create a Student Environment and Sustainability Committee, to feed into the [Staff] Environment and Sustainability Committee. This became the SESC we have today.
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Who is in the SESC?
Attendance at SESC meetings is not exclusive to E&S reps; any interested students are welcome to attend and contribute. Just get in contact with your school’s E&S Rep, or NUSU’s Ethics and Environment Rep to ask to join a meeting. Meeting outcomes are taken to the University’s Environment and Sustainability Committee (ESC). The [Staff] ESC is mostly made up of colleagues but is also attended by one or more Students’ Union Sabbatical Officers, the Ethics and Environment Rep & a postgraduate officer.
We have representatives on the SESC from schools across campus including: Architecture, GPS (Geography, Politics and Sociology), Psychology, Combined Honours, SNES (Natural and Environmental Sciences), Computing, English, Planning and Business.
Read on to find out what being a SESC rep is like from the reps themselves.
Why did you choose to become an Environment and Sustainability Rep?
Being an Environmental and Sustainability Rep provides me with lots of opportunities to get involved in increasing climate issue awareness, campus development and other activities. I also get the great experience of working alongside the people who are striving for the better future and care about making our University environmentally friendly. – Vladislava
While in year 11/6th form, I decided to become a member of the eco committee when I became more aware of our impact on the environment. After stage 1 at university, I wanted to become more involved in the university in some way, so I volunteered to be on the Student Staff Committee for my degree as a stage rep. There was an open position for the E&S rep, and I thought this would line up well with my role from the past. – Sham
What does your role involve?
A lot of teamwork and doing your own research. I usually go through some ‘hot topics’ related to the climate change, sustainability, local development etc. and try to brainstorm some ideas of how to apply it at our University. During the meeting we discuss all possible solutions to current issues and Reps can present their thoughts. – Vladislava
Away from the SESC meetings, I have worked with staff in my school towards reducing our impact on the environment as a degree specifically. This is ongoing and I can gather feedback from others on my degree/ in my school on things to bring up at SSC meetings, where I can either take it to SESC meetings to discuss or meet with staff to seek improvements. In the SESC meetings I provide feedback on any ongoing campaigns and play a role in helping organise any future events. I also gather information which is to be brought back to the SSC meetings to be distributed to students around the school/ degree. -Sham
What would you say to somebody who is thinking about taking up this role next year?
Our future begins here and now, and you can change it! Be brave, curious and use your potential as much as you can! – Vladislava
There doesn’t have to be a lot of work involved to make a difference and if it is something that you are passionate about then it won’t be any work at all. It feels great to be able to make an instant difference to what is happening around you when making changes within your sphere or around the university/ planning events. – Sham