Ever wondered what the LSE Sustainability team does and how you can get involved? We talked to the team about three of its Sustainable LSE projects in which student volunteers are integral – read on for more!

The impact of LSE student volunteers

The LSE Sustainability team is soon to host its annual Celebration of Sustainability event to celebrate all the hard work that staff and student volunteers do across LSE to reduce the School’s environmental impacts. Jessica Lobo, Sustainability Engagement Officer at LSE Sustainability, says:

Our volunteers play such an important role in the work we do here: supporting or running some of our initiatives and being advocates for a sustainable LSE. A lot of what we do is trying to encourage others to get involved in sustainability, whether that’s beekeeping, doing actions to ‘green’ their office, or even running their own projects at LSE. We couldn’t do that without our volunteers. They are the driving force behind everyone else taking part, always thinking of new opportunities and avenues to interest people and giving up a lot of their time. Green Impact wouldn’t be successful without the 30 student auditors and project assistants supporting the staff and this year we put on a fantastic Green Week with volunteers from the Students’ Union and LSE EcoSoc. I’m always so impressed at the enthusiasm and passion that comes from our student volunteers, and it’s a credit to them that we can achieve so much here at LSE in terms of sustainability.

LSE Bees outreach event

Student volunteers from the LSESU Beekeeping Society ran a workshop on ‘Bees and the Environment’ at Fairley House, a school for children with learning difficulties. The outreach event was developed in collaboration with the school, and about 40 children aged 7-9 years old participated in the talk, quiz, and honey-tasting session. The children were especially fascinated by the beekeeping equipment and asked lots of interesting and unusual questions. The workshop was a real success and the students from LSE enjoyed it just as much as the children!

LSE has three beehives which are looked after by staff, and students from the LSESU Beekeeping Society. This involves regular visits, maintenance of the hives, and producing the annual harvest of honey; but they also plan a range of activities to encourage staff and students to get hands-on beekeeping experience. When they’re not on the roof, the student volunteers organise a number of talks: this year including Professor Lars Chittka, an expert on bee behaviour, and Luke Dixon, a professional urban beekeeper in London. The Society now has 95 members and its own ‘bee library’ – a collection of free books, films and online resources which all LSE staff and students can access. The students do an incredible job at engaging others in the world of bees and offering opportunities for everyone to get involved.

Green Impact

Green Impact is an initiative which sees departments work on campus and in Halls of Residence to reduce the School’s environmental impact. Teams from each department encourage staff and students to change their day-to-day behaviour and to cut their carbon footprint by taking part in projects and implementing practical actions. Every year a number of student volunteers apply to become Project Assistants and dedicate at least one hour a week to support the teams. The students play a crucial role in assisting them, documenting the efforts they make and thinking of creative projects that the departments can run. This year student volunteers helped organise a vegetarian cooking competition during LSE Green Week, clothes repair workshops in halls, and a day of conservation volunteering with the London Wildlife Trust.

Green Impact runs on a yearly cycle, and at the end of the year teams are audited and receive a level of accreditation for their work. Around 30 volunteers conduct the audits, giving up a day to be trained so that they can then visit departments around LSE. Each audit takes one or two hours and the students do a fantastic job of looking through evidence that teams have completed actions and talking with staff about how the actions have been embedded in their department. They play an integral part in the auditing process and in Green Impact in general, by supporting the teams, sharing good practice with each other and highlighting the work which LSE is doing to further reduce its environmental impact.

Sustainable Projects Fund

This is an LSE prize-fund for student and staff-led projects that enhance sustainability at LSE. It’s run by student volunteers from the LSESU Sustainable Futures Society who promote the fund and run workshops to help people with their ideas. This year they did a great job advertising the Fund and had a number of applications with project ideas ranging from bee hives to conferences, food waste and conservation work. The Sustainable Project Fund funded five projects in total and the volunteers continue to do a brilliant job supporting the applicants to realise their ideas and make a positive impact to sustainability at LSE.

Also want to volunteer on a sustainable project?

Check out Sustainable LSE’s website to find out more about their work or if these projects inspired you to get involved. If you’d prefer to volunteer on a different sustainability project you can always search CareerHub for other sustainability related volunteering opportunities. You can also email volunteer@lse.ac.uk or book a one-to-one with the Volunteer Centre Team if you’d like to get more advice.