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  1. Sustainable City
  2. London Student Sustainability Conference 2021
  3. London Student Sustainability Conference 2020
About City

London Student Sustainability Conference 2020

City hosted the second London Student Sustainability Conference February 2020. We saw students from City and other University of London institutions share their work which inspires positive impact in the world.

We welcomed students, academics, professionals and members of the public from London and beyond to find out more about what our students are doing to support the UN Global Goals and attend our panel debate.

You can read more about the student projects below, or alternatively you can download the full Conference programme.

Programme

9:00-9:30Registration and Networking
9:30 – 9:50

Welcome Address

Professor Sir Paul Curren, President, City, University of London

Tuna Kunt, City Students’ Union President

Simon Puleston Jones, WokenUp

9:50 – 10:00 Changeover
10:00– 10:40 Session 1

Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

Angolan Healthcare: A Systems Approach
Mauro Cesar Oliveira, City, University of London

The LS-Sea (by Free the Flush)
Harriet Freeman, The London School of Economics and Political Science

Goal 13: Climate Action

Impact of Climate Change on Malaria and Dengue Fever
Marianna Muszynska, Birkbeck College

Paragon - Support your local community and the planet: one choice at a time!
Amy Cooper, Olga Woronowicz, Palmi Parikh and Nikita Bharwani, City, University of London

10:40 Changeover
10:50-11:30 Session 2

Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

Rethinking the Future of Finance
Razan Khalid Osman, City, University of London

Sustainable Finance
Guido Bassi and Alberto BonÃria, City, University of London

Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

UNV: Sustainable, Affordable and Fashionable Consumption
Jeanne Begon-Lours, Maria Vesterbacka, Victor Tirot, Alma Rathle, Leah Bloch, King’s College London

Obj.12
Lauren Ramdin, City, University of London

11:30-11:50 Refreshments, Poster Exhibition and Networking
11:50-12:30 Session 3

Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being

The benefits of lovingkindness. How meditation can improve wellbeing and a sense of interpersonal connectedness
Helena de Klerk, City, University of London

Wild Life and Plant Centred Eco Haven. Life Re-Searchings & Super WildWay Replanting Routings
Margaret Jennings, Goldsmiths’, University of London

Goal 15: Life on Land

D8: Sustainable Agriculture through intersectional supply chain
Bahareh Sarvi, City, University of London

FreeStations in the Colombian Andes
Heather Needham, King’s College London

12:30-13:00 Lunch, Networking, Poster Exhibition and Awards
13:00-14:00

Keynote Panel

Chair: Dr Christopher McDowell, City, University of London

Alex Wright, Association of Commonwealth Universities

Grace Corn, SOS-UK

Caroline Asante, WokenUp

14:00 Conference Close

Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities

Angolan Healthcare: A systems approach

Mauro Cesar Oliveira, City, University of London

The University Hospital, if implemented, will be the very first of its kind in my country (Angola). In concise terms, the purpose of the project is to combine healthcare education with practical healthcare solutions for Angolan citizens.  There is a tremendous amount of under-investment in both areas (education & healthcare), and this presents an opportunity for energetic and resourceful entrepreneurs to create meaningful projects that enhance the standards of living of the community.

To this end, the objective will be to increase healthcare standards and practice in Angola, whilst simultaneously investing in the future of the healthcare labour force. Evidently, the project is in full harmony with the United Nations sustainability goals of improving well-being, creating sustainable communities, and more.

Mauro is an ambitious person with diverse interests in private sector industries and public policy. In addition to his studies, he competes as a student athlete and has been participating and representing football clubs in official national league and cup competitions since 2014. He is currently a Student Ambassador at City University and is studying for an undergraduate degree at Cass Business School.

The LS-Sea (by Free the Flush)

Harriet Freeman, The London School of Economics and Political Science

The LS-Sea is a 10-month (from Nov 2019) public awareness campaign to convey that the rubbish we flush down the toilet becomes the rubbish in our waterways and, fundamentally, the rubbish eroding the functioning of our ecosystem.

Rolled out throughout campus and student halls, this project engages and informs, humours and empowers the LSE community to support:

  1. the correct disposal of “The Unflushables” (wet wipes, sanitary products, nappies etc)
  2. an increased uptake of sustainable, non-toxic sanitary product alternatives

The LSE Sustainable Futures Society and senior facilities management awarded the LS-Sea £3,000 for project roll-out through campus and student halls, funding campaign operations such as the production of over 2,000 sustainably-produced back-of-the-toilet-door stickers and 700 posters. Social media, surveys, films, expert talks and ‘sustainable sanitary giveaways’ are some of the other tools used for disseminating the campaign.

The most direct beneficiaries to this campaign are the LSE community and LSE Facilities. Firstly, students and staff are receiving very simple guidance on how to enhance their personal and ecological health without cost. Additionally, community well-being is supported with less toilet blockages causing disruptive toilet maintenance. Secondly, it is projected that LSE Facilities is to see budget savings of more than £20,000 over 10 months with fewer toilet blockages. On a broad scale, societal, animal and ecological health is supported with reduced (plastic) waste entering our life cycle. Harriet is collecting data monthly to track the project's progress through toilet blockage metrics, community surveys and analysis of social media engagements.

Harriet is an LSE MSc student in International Political Economy, with a focus on Environmental Politics, at the London School of Economics (LSE). Determined to increase the ambition of LSE’s sustainability agenda, Harriet is engaged in a number of different projects to support this goal.


Goal 13: Climate Action

Impact of Climate Change on Malaria and Dengue Fever

Marianna Muszynska, Birkbeck College

Climate change is not just hurting the planet, it is also hurting the life on the planet. Including humans, especially in less developed countries. Changes in vector-borne disease transmission are likely a major consequence of climate change. My poster shows how climatic changes can impact the spread of Malaria and Dengue Fever.

Dengue is one of the fastest spreading mosquito-borne diseases in the world. The spread of the disease has multiplied significantly since the 1960s. It is a viral disease susceptible to climate variables such as humidity and temperature changes. Malaria, also spread by mosquitoes is too on the rise. Increased rainfall and temperature impact vector incubation, survival and breeding rates. This can impact the parasite's resistance to certain drugs.

The aim of the project is to bring attention to the health aspects of climate change. And to the diseases that do not affect the Western World- but they might if we do not take action.

Marianna currently studies Biomedicine at Birkbeck College and also works as the Sustainability Officer at the London School of Hygiene. Previously she was involved in Cultural Studies and Social Science, where she studied cultural dimensions of climate change. Marianna tries to combine her knowledge from different fields and apply it to her current projects.

Paragon - Support your local community and the planet: one choice at a time!

Amy Cooper, Olga Woronowicz, Palmi Parikh and Nikita Bharwani, City, University of London

In 2018, the UN introduced the Good Life Goals, a set of personal actions to help everyone contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. However, we often lack the tools to do so. According to Forbes 88% of consumers want businesses to help them make more sustainable choices. There, the need for Paragon was born.

Paragon is an app which allows you to integrate sustainability into your everyday life. You will be shown with a list of sustainable spots in your area. You can pay through the app for each order, earn points and spend it on whatever you like within application. After each purchase, you will be able to see your impact turned into a garden animation.

We are aiming to:

- Help you make more sustainable everyday decisions

- Connect ordinary consumers to sustainable spots

- Help small local businesses connect with potential customers

Our research project links particularly well to two of the UN Development Goals. First of all, it is aligned with Responsible Consumption & Production principle. It provides consumers a tool to make more conscious choices and enables the businesses to employ more ethical measures into their operations. We also thought it is very applicable to “Sustainable Cities and Communities” principle, as we want to support small businesses by allowing them to have more recognition and competitive value amongst high street chains. It’s all about giving the spotlight to the ones trying to make a difference.

We believe Paragon would enable the world to be make more ethical choices on a more frequent basis. It follows one basic principle: let’s all try our absolute best to be as sustainable as possible. Little actions - such as having a coffee from an ethical coffee shop - contributes to building a more conscious society and a closer community. And the call for action is now!

Amy, Olga, Palmi and Nikita are a team of four passionate students from Cass Business School. Their mission is to allow more people to access information about sustainable efforts of local businesses. Together they are concerned about the feeling of alienation in London and are passionate about bringing people to local community spots.


Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth

Rethinking the Future of Finance

Razan Khalid Osman, City, University of London

This project emphasises how Sustainable Finance is the future of finance today. It aims to untangle the scepticism of Sustainable Finance, and emphasise how and why Sustainable Finance is the niche market that is a leading contributor to the new finance world.

This project creates a positive impact in society through highlighting new ways to think and approach financial decisions.

Having completed her undergraduate in BA International Business and Management, Razan is now doing a Master's in International Business Economics. She has a strong interest in sustainability and business.

Sustainable Investments

Guido Bassi and Alberto BonÃria, City, University of London

This project focuses on alternative strategies to invest money in the stock market. Given the new challenges related to global warming, it is pretty urgent to address these issues with a decisive cultural change in finance. There are plenty of opportunities which allow an investor to opt for a portfolio made of sustainable funds. Our presentation looks at these funds more closely and aims to give an overview of what is already out there.

We will then consider the broader effort of the financial professional service industry when it comes to sustainable development. For example, what strategies are these financial companies implementing to reduce their ecological footprint? Are they using recyclable stationary? How much money are they investing to promote this change?

We will rigorously analyse graphs and data to verify the engagement of the professional financial services industry. In our presentation you should expect illustrative and interactive charts which will help to deeply understand the reasons behind the project.

Guido and Alberto are two Mathematics students who would like share their passions and knowledge to leverage their multidisciplinary background. Their strong ethic pushed them to interface with the ecological emergency. They believe in action instead of passive acknowledgment and want to play a role in the student community to improve the prospects of a sustainable society.


Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production

UNV: Sustainable, Affordable and Fashionable Consumption

Jeanne Begon-Lours, Maria Vesterbacka, Victor Tirot, Alma Rathle, Leah Bloch, King’s College London

Our project is about sustainable fashion in the process of upcycling fashion waste.

It consists of collecting clothes that students at our university don’t use anymore and collaborating with students interested in fashion, to use their creative talents upcycle the clothing in order to give those clothes a 2nd life.

In fact, studies have found that, in the United Kingdom, three-quarters of consumers throw away rather than recycle or donate unwanted garments. Which leads to a predicted 235m items of Britain's’ unwanted clothing that are expected to end up in landfills. Furthermore, it is not only that we waste a lot of things we consume, but that we also use a lot of natural resources to produce the clothes that we buy. Therefore, we strongly believe that the solution to the fashion issue would be to focus on the clothes waste by recycling them and emphasizing a circular fashion economy instead of producing more clothes in a sustainable way. By doing this we can extend the life of a garment reducing the waste and water impact of that garment by 20-30% every nine months.

In addition, the aim of the project would be to make sustainable fashion affordable. Since the collapse of the Rana Plaza in 2013, a general awareness of fast fashion has arisen, sustainable brands are becoming more common. Yet, those pieces are quite expensive. It is, therefore, difficult for students who are on a budget to get access to those garments. A possible solution to this would be to buy second-hand, for example in thrift shops, but it is often difficult to find the perfect piece. Thus, students tend toward fast fashion brands to find cheap and trendy clothing. However, by recycling new clothes, working on them, making them attractive, students would get access to unique, sustainable clothing pieces at an affordable price which will change their ways of consuming.

Therefore, we are aligning with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 12 of Responsible Consumption and Production because we are reducing fashion waste, using what we already have and engaging students towards a more sustainable way of consuming in order to decrease the impact of the fast fashion industry. By doing so, we are also indirectly reducing the negative environmental and social impacts of the fast fashion industry which linked our project to the environmental Goals such as Goal 6 of Clean Water, Goal 13 of Climate action and social Goal 8 of Decent Work and Economic Growth.

In conclusion, what makes UNV special is the fact that we, students are creating sustainable and affordable fashion for students, locally in London in order to solve the complexity of the fast fashion industry.

Jeanne, Alma, Leah, Maria and Victor are all part of the Enactus Society in King's College London. We were all brought together for UNV because of our devotion to use the power of entrepreneurial action to make an impact and shape a better, more sustainable world.

Obj.12

Daisy Grace Cave, Lisa Lorang, Lauren Ramdin, Rachel Rayhab, City, University of London

Our video is focused on the promotion of responsible consumption. The obj.12 project originated from a group of 4 students on campus, aiming to inspire, engage and inform people about responsible consumption and the negatives of fast fashion. The main topic and message of the video is to inform others about the fast fashion culture and why it is so detrimental to our earth and health. We promote alternatives to fast fashion and share some of our favourite methods to avoid fast fashion, including our favourite thrift stores, how to reinvent your wardrobe and avoid fast fashion frenzies. We hope to help viewers understand how they can make small changes in their fashion consumption habits to become sustainable friendly.

Lauren and Rachel are both American students currently studying for a Masters in Public Health. Daisy is a Canadian student in her second year, reading BSc International Politics and Lisa is a MA Media and Communications student from Luxembourg after completing her undergraduate studies in Fashion Business in Paris. Together they founded obj.12 to engage and inform people about the dangers of fast fashion and ways to have a more sustainable closet. They believe obj.12 is the ideal platform to encourage people to adopt a more responsible consumption and use their passions to bridge the gap between creativity and sustainability.  


Goal 3: Good health and well-being

The benefits of lovingkindness: How meditation can improve wellbeing and a sense of interpersonal connectedness

Helena de Klerk, City, University of London

Significant attention is being directed towards the mental health of young people as studies are showing that a record number of young people are experiencing mental health difficulties but that services are not equipped to provide the support that is needed. Therefore, it is essential that we identify different ways that young people may seek relief. As such, this study explores whether the lovingkindness meditation might be a suitable way to improve wellbeing.

Although meditation practices have been shown to improve wellbeing, and lovingkindness specifically has been shown to increase positive emotions, decrease migraines and pain, and improve empathy and social connectedness, this study aims to explore these outcomes in a more nuanced way by using a mixed methods design strategy, employing both quantitative (specifically questionnaires) and qualitative data (specifically surveys and interviews). In doing so this study hopes to better understand the mechanisms underlying the lovingkindness meditation, in addition to its impact on young adults.

Lena is a trainee Counselling Psychologist at City. She is interested in exploring the connections we make with each other, ourselves and our environment, asking questions at both the individual and societal level around improving wellbeing and mental health.

Wild Life and Plant Centred Eco Haven. Life Re-Searchings & Super WildWay Replanting Routings

Margaret Jennings, Goldsmiths’, University of London

My aim is to establish a richly biodiverse sanctuary to help diminishing species and offer practical pathways to decolonise and re-sensitise ourselves to nature by creating a Wild Life and Plant Centred Eco Haven WLEH, on our individual university campuses or on other appropriate spaces.

In the context of a climate emergency, rather than placing human centred colonising and consumeristic values on land use, The Eco Haven  gives rise to the need for phycological shift towards non anthropogenic, democratic and necessary creative positive ways forward by community spirited socially engaged action.

Positive impact in society might include:-

  • Establishing relations with 'Green Charities who may offer native flower seeds to keep species alive also trees to reduce pollution levels.
  • Teacher trainers using The Eco Haven as a template for their prospective schools or to bring school children to the campus if it cannot be setup in the school.
  • Opportunities for artists to display non invasive Eco Arts in the Eco Haven area offering an alternative to exhibiting in art galleries that are only limited to certain clientele.
  • Such events as Tree Planting Ceremonies offer opportunities for local community and university members to meet and discuss environmental shared concerns and projects.

Margaret’s interests are on socially engaged, community driven, participative art activism, evoking critical questioning on pressing social issues. Currently her work is focused on creating a green corridor, a Super WildWay, connected  by university campus eco havens. She holds a BA Fine Art (Hons) 1st from Goldsmiths, University of London.


Goal 15: Life on land

FreeStations in the Colombian Andes

Heather Needham, King’s College London

Colombia is the second most biodiverse country in the world and has a unique variety of ecosystems, from the tropical forests of the Andes to the tundra of the Páramos. These environments produce Colombia’s biological richness and abundance. As part of a university research project ‘POR El Pàramo’, Heather installed FreeStations (low-cost environmental monitoring sensors) in a cloud forest of the Colombian Andes. Her participation was funded by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Fieldwork Apprentice Research Grant. FreeStations are easy to build and made from upcycled materials. Once installed, FreeStations continuously collect reliable data which allows for the continual monitoring of the environment. The project uses comparative field and modelling studies of paired Páramo-agricultural catchments in the Boyacá and forest agricultural catchments in Cali, Colombia. This meets Goal 15 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals ‘Life on Land’ which aims to protect and promote sustainable management of forests.

Heather is a second-year undergraduate student reading BSc Geography at King’s College London. In June, she obtained a King’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship (KURF) where she alongside The PLuS Alliance, monitored the health and ecosystem functioning of the Okavango Delta, Botswana. During August, Heather with academics from her university, installed FreeStations (low-cost environmental monitoring sensors) in a cloud forest of the Colombian Andes supported by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Fieldwork Apprentice Grant. Heather has an environment, research and travel blog www.hevneedham.wordpress.com

D8: Sustainable Agriculture through intersectional supply chain

Bahareh Sarvi, City, University of London

We are the Moreish Date Company. We develop and innovate sustainable intersectional food supply chain, along young and dedicated people that are trying to make a positive difference in society by producing healthy snacks and introducing natural alternatives to refined sugar. Our mission is to provide diverse natural products packed with key health benefits for an effective natural energy boost and we do this through processes that are conducive to protect the environment and support human rights. In light of our business development, we joined the centre of Food Policy at City University to learn in depth about food policies in place and educate our business further for stronger sustainable supply chain.

As a part of our corporate social responsibility, we mainly employ unskilled local women labour and provide facilities geared towards their needs as well as educating them with additional courses to improve their qualifications for future career growth. We believe in giving back and support our dedicated workers. We also are actively helping small independent farmers. Our intention is to create a supportive local farmers’ community while taking care of the environment.

Our prior aim is to bring a better future for the new generations to come by providing natural, health conscious snacks while protecting the Planet & spreading climate change awareness. We strive to use and invest in renewable energy sources and reduce our carbon footprint on the planet within our own operations and eliminating several actors within our supply chain.

Bahareh is a postgraduate Food Policy student, health conscious entrepreneur with a background in biomedical sciences from King's College London.


Poster Presentations

Breathable Buildings: Naturally Ventilating Buildings in a Bid to Reduce Energy Consumption

Samer Hammoud, King’s College London

A heavy reliance on air conditioning in most offices accounts for around 30% of annual energy bills for offices. This is unsustainable, especially in the midst of a climate crisis. Naturally ventilating the office space from outside provides an alternative, which is more energy efficient, environmentally sustainable and saves energy costs. This involves designing a system which brings in clean air from outside into the building to naturally ventilate it, when conditions are optimal.

The project: To develop a monitoring system that measures the efficacy of the natural ventilation on the internal building/office environment. This includes heavy data collection and analysis of temperature patterns and air quality, both internal and external. Consideration of human factors are also essential, as assessing the environmental comfort of occupants translates to occupant feedback on the project. Collection and assembly of data would then need to be compiled and translated to occupants and project leads, evaluating whether it has improved occupant wellness and comfort as well as reducing energy costs through naturally ventilating.

The key sustainability aspect of this project is the reduction in energy consumption.

Samer is a recent graduate from King's College London, having completed a masters in chemistry. After finishing his studies, he completed an internship where he worked on a natural ventilation project for the duration of the summer.

Its not how much you eat: overfed but undernourished

Catherine Schuster Bruce, City, University of London

Historically, the focus has been on tackling starvation. Arguably, however, we have been over-focused on preventing starvation, with not enough attention to the quality of the food, and nutrition has been neglected. This has been compounded by effective marketing campaigns from fast-food companies. This means children across the world (in the UK, as well as developing countries) are growing up obese and undernourished. The latter can cause growth stunting, and in 2017, 151 million children under five years-old had growth stunting. The former can cause non-communicable disease such as diabetes and heart disease and premature death with statistics showing every 2 seconds, someone aged 30-70 dies from a non-communicable disease.

Catherine has worked as a medical doctor in East London since 2016 and is currently studying for a Broadcast MA at City, University of London. Her journalistic ventures are motivated by the ability to communicate impactful educational messages on a large scale.

The scourge of oil spill in the Niger delta: The implications for the Sustainable Development Goals

Ekomobong Alfred, University of Dundee

Oil exploitation activities, which includes exploration, development, production and transportation, often result in spillage which may have significant effect on the environment, people and their livelihood. Over the past 50 years, oil has been the main driver of the Nigerian economy. However, it has also caused devastating effect on the Niger delta region. It is important to point out that the inhabitants of Niger delta are farmers and fishermen. Oil spill deprives them of their sources of livelihood with attendant implications for the Sustainable Development Goals. The UN Sustainable Development Goals were adopted in 2015, with the primary objective to eradicate poverty and environmental degradation. Nigeria has a responsibility to implement these goals. The Niger delta has been recorded as the most polluted part of the world. It is also noted that about 90% of oil spill in the region is yet to be cleaned, thereby subjecting the region to environmental degradation. The effect of oil spill such as poverty and environmental degradation has led to the underachievement of the Sustainable Development Goals relating to poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability in the region. This study seeks to show that oil exploitation activities if properly managed through the adoption of environmental best practices can reduce poverty, protect the environment and lead to achievement of these goals. This will involve a comparative study of few countries that have successfully managed their oil exploitation activities and at the same time achieved these goals.

Ekomobong Alfred is from Nigeria, and is currently a postgraduate student at the University of Dundee studying corporate and commercial law.