Meet this year’s Responsible Futures Working Group
Posted on: 28 September, 2023
Here at UCEM we hold the Responsible Futures accreditation mark, which is a change programme hosted by Students Organising for Sustainability UK (SOS-UK). The programme aims to support institutions in embedding sustainability into the formal and informal curriculum. Students are very much at the core of this and it is only by working with them, supporting them and empowering them that we can achieve this accreditation mark.
We have thrice been awarded the Responsible Futures accreditation mark – in 2018, 2020 and 2022– following student-led audits. The audits are led by a group of student volunteers who review UCEM’s sustainability credentials against a range of criteria, which includes topics such as:
Student and staff engagement
Education for sustainable development
Reflecting on the short- and long-term impact of work being carried out on sustainability
We launched this year’s Responsible Futures Working Group (RFWG) in September, comprising a mixture of students and staff, who will learn from each other in the name of progressing UCEM’s sustainability agenda. We’re also delighted to announce that we have been successful in our application to be SOS-UK Host Partners this year for the second time, alongside the University of Strathclyde.
Our students study on a range of programmes and apprenticeships at undergraduate and postgraduate level. In addition to the introductions provided by members of this year’s group below, Fortunate Mukombo and Donna Modesté – our Student Officers for Sustainability – are part of the group. You can find out more about Fortunate and Donna in their introductory article.
Location: Peterborough, UK Programme: BSc Real Estate Management
“Sustainability is not just about the environment; social and economic dimensions are also encompassed within it.”
Hi, I’m Drew, an Apprentice Commercial Surveyor at Savills, and am currently in the first year of my apprenticeship. Prior to working at Savills, I was training to become an officer in the Merchant Navy, however I decided to opt for a more home-based career. Having had an interest in the built environment from a young age, it seemed to be a natural decision to progress into the industry.
I am interested in sustainability because I believe in the importance of creating a better world for future generations. Sustainability is not just about the environment; social and economic dimensions are also encompassed within it. I have found in my own journey towards sustainability that it is the small actions that we make, when combined, can have a remarkable impact.
For me, sustainability is not only a passion but also a responsibility. I want to part of the solution and help to drive meaningful change. I am looking forward to being involved in a community where change is not only accepted but encouraged.
“I am passionate about building relationships, and I believe that by working together, we can achieve great things.”
My name is Ruth Kyamuwendo. I’m a Quantity Surveyor working with TS Consultants Firm in Kampala, Uganda. As a student on the RFWG, working alongside UCEM staff to make a positive impact on shaping the University and improving the experience will be exciting.
I am interested in activities incorporating sustainability and social responsibility themes across various disciplines and courses, fostering a more holistic and comprehensive approach to global challenges. I’m also interested in working towards enhancing students’ understanding of sustainability issues, encouraging sustainable practices, and aligning institutional values with the principles of social and environmental responsibility. Specifically, I’m looking forward to organizing awareness campaigns, petitions, and events to raise awareness and push for change.
I am passionate about building relationships, and I believe that by working together, we can achieve great things. Sharing experiences and learning from each other can accelerate progress through international collaborations.
“I am passionate about sustainability and, by working towards it, we will help not just current but also future generations.”
I have nearly 20 years’ experience working in the banking and housing sectors and currently work as an area manager at the Greater London Authority (GLA). The UK government has set its target to meet net zero carbon emissions by 2030, which encourages all government departments and local authorities to focus on this aim. Currently, there’s a strong demand for sustainable homes which will have a strong social, as well as environmental, impact. I am passionate about sustainability and, by working towards it, we will help not just current but also future generations.
I have already participated and thoroughly enjoyed the RFWG last year and obtained the Education for Sustainable Development Auditor licence from SOS-UK. I am keen to re-use the training and experience obtained from last year and apply it to this year as well as share and gain best practice in sustainability in the built environment.
Location: London, UK Programme: BSc Construction Management (Apprenticeship)
“As I am a woman of colour myself, I would love to encourage more women to have an interest in the construction industry.”
I am very much involved with sustainability at work (sustainably sourced materials, recycled waste, utility meters, etc) and take a great interest in the sustainability modules at university to keep myself informed of the environmental achievements around the world. However, I would also like to be involved in the diversity and inclusion aspect as I am a woman of colour myself and would love to encourage more women to have an interest in the construction industry.
I hope to bring a unique perspective to the conversation but also listen to other people’s ideas and incorporate some of these ideas into the way I approach construction on site. As a student at UCEM, I’m excited to feed into the sustainable initiatives and how these can reach a wider audience.
Location: London, UK Programme: BSc Real Estate Management (Apprenticeship)
“To me, inclusion means everyone should have equal opportunities, no matter what background they are from.”
My name is Ummi! I grew up in East London from an ethnic background household. I am a bubbly and confident person. One of my hobbies is travelling and learning about new cultures, especially trying out new food!
Growing up, I have always been passionate about diversity and inclusion. To me, inclusion means everyone should have equal opportunities, no matter what background they are from. I would like to help those feel valued for being themselves. One should always feel that they are important and empowered.
I would like to increase my networking and build my own personal portfolio by making new friends. This role will allow me to work on my leadership skills through public speaking and providing me with new opportunities.
Location: Jamaica Programme: MBA Construction and Real Estate
“Being from a developing country, everyone should have equal access to opportunities and resources, regardless of their background or identity.”
I am a passionate individual who believes in the power of knowledge, empathy, and positive change. As an advocate for women’s rights, I am committed to breaking barriers and creating opportunities for women in the industry I am involved in.
I am particularly interested in diversity, inclusion, and sustainability. These issues are crucial in today’s interconnected world, as they directly affect social progress, economic development, and environmental well-being. Being from a developing country, everyone should have equal access to opportunities and resources, regardless of their background or identity. I also believe there is an urgent need to protect our planet, conserve resources, and mitigate the impact of human activities.
By being a part of the RFWG, I hope to contribute actively to advancing diversity, inclusion, and sustainability within my community and beyond. I hope to collaborate with like-minded individuals and create meaningful change.
As we work with the students on the Responsible Futures criteria, we’ll identify topics where we would value their support with or topics they are particularly interested in to provide a focus for the RFWG meetings. Our staff membership to the group will vary over the course of the meetings to reflect the chosen topics, enabling the students to work with a wide range of staff from across UCEM.
Aled Williams – UCEM Executive Director – Innovation and Partnerships
At UCEM, we are on a mission to become the world’s most sustainable university and our students are integral to this as influencers of change in the built environment and beyond.
The Responsible Futures initiative is an invaluable mechanism in embedding the student voice in our work on sustainability. Over the next academic year, our RFWG students will gain an insight into what we do to embed sustainability at UCEM via Globe and cast a critical eye on our activity so any enhancements are identified and we are able to tackle these.
I look forward to harnessing their collective passion and feedback to better UCEM’s sustainability activity.
We’ve had an incredibly busy year at UCEM since our last audit: from launching our new sustainability strategy to hosting our first ever Go Green Week. I’m excited to bring a group of students together again to help us to celebrate our achievements, to continue to enhance our sustainability credentials and provide students with an opportunity to lead and create in this area of work.
Our RFWG members are integral to our Responsible Futures aims and wider sustainability ambitions. I’m looking forward to getting to know and support them in the run up to our student-led audit next summer.