GSD in three words: Practical, Diverse, Dynamic
Advice for a prospective student: Don’t decline the offer to take up opportunities! It helps you understand yourself. Try anything and everything! Take the chance to meet international students and expand your horizons.
Student Societies: I am currently President of the Global Sustainable Development Society. We want to promote sustainable development topics and debates amongst the student community, and we've been arranging talks from departmental tutors and guest speakers. I also reached the finals of BandSoc's annual Battle of the Bands!
Favourite module: Economic Principles of Global Sustainable Development (GD104). I didn’t much of an economic background when I began this course, but Dr. Guerriero made the content really engaging, and I was able to get on with the theory quickly. It also provided the opportunity to explore plenty of practical real-world examples of sustainable economic practices.
Recent work experience: I received a grant from Warwick for the Undergraduate Research Support Scheme (URSS) to work for Climate Action Network Europe in Brussels, for five weeks. They are hosting me for my research over the summer, and want to use my findings for their advocacy work. Specifically. I've been looking at the economic costs of climate change in Europe, particularly in coastal regions.
Favourite place for coffee on campus: Humanities Cafe, not too crowded. Maybe not the best place to study but good vibes!
Sustainable Development Goal you find most interesting to learn about: SDG 13 "Climate Action" – once you’ve learned about it, you can’t unlearn it. It is the ultimate problem, encompassing all other problems. Sadly thought it can too often be put to the background because the impact isn’t always immediate. Its also interesting to note that throughout your GSD Degree, you won't necessarily sit down and learn each SDG, but you will soon realise that they have become second nature to you. They are integral to the GSD course.
Student Research: Policy Brief for Environmental Principles of Global Sustainable Development. This was a really satisfying piece of work. I researched biodiversity loss in Australia due to poaching and lethal control, and proposed the notion of reintroducing certain predator species to balance the ecosystem. Writing a policy brief has been extremely useful for the work I am currently doing in Brussels, and learning to conduct research efficiently is a real, genuine skill. For my dissertation, I am considering researching the impact of climate change on people's health in Southern Europe, as well as more overarching themes relating to climate litigation.
Career sector interest(s): Further study; I'm interested in pursuing a PhD to further my aspirations of working in environmental and international policy advice.
Dee Yon Chng
GSD in three words: Challenging, Unexpected, Purposeful
Advice for a prospective student: Choose an undergraduate degree that genuinely interests you and you're inspired by. Research the modules offered. Do the teaching methods suit you? And don’t discount doing a joint honours course - don’t box yourself up!
Student Societies: I am a part of Warwick Poles and Aerial Arts, one of campus' biggest societies. We were voted Voted Most Inclusive Society in 2015/16, and its a great starting point as a new undergraduate for making friends. If you want a family feel to student society, pole is definitely a great place to start.
Favourite Module: Economic Principles of Global Sustainable Development (GD104). You learn how and why conventional economics is not suited to the real world, and what the alternatives could be.
Recent work experience: As part of my Certificate of Professional Communication, I worked at Birmingham Royal Orthopedic Hospital, with the NHS Sustainability Unit. As part of a larger nation-wide strategy, the NHS is developing sustainability initiatives and innovations. This was an amazing opportunity to see practical solutions to the complex issues we explore as part of studying GSD.
Favourite place for coffee on campus: Curiositea - for all the different flavours! Its also ideal if you are looking for a job on campus.
Sustainable Development Goal you find most interesting to learn about: SDG 14 - "Life Below Water" - Our oceans are important not just because of the ecosystem services they provide but the fact that so much is unexplored and we still have so much to learn. If I hadn't studied GSD, I would have studied Marine Biology!
Student Research: We presented evidence on the sustainability of a large pharmaceutical company in a mock court trial. This was part of the Social Principles of Global Sustainable Development module. I'm also hoping to focus my final year dissertation on the cultural sacrifices made by communities as a result of environmental conservation, especially in Africa.
Career Sector Interests: Law (but with a heart!), especially environmental and human rights law.
GSD in three words: Interdisciplinary, Critical, Impactful
Advice for a prospective student: University is a dynamic experience. It rips open your world view, and Warwick is a truly international place. It is also a rollercoaster of emotions and it will certainly test your character. What matters most importantly is not the experiences you may encounter, but how you interpret and react to those experiences for the betterment of yourself. Make the most of your opportunities, and always trust the process!
Student Societies: I joined Warwick Thai Boxing during my second year, and I'll be continuing on into my final year. Its one of the most engaged and active societies on campus. Fitness and exercise are essential for your physical and mental wellbeing, which is important in a university environment.
Recent work experience: The Head of NHS Sustainable Development Unit visited GSD Department during my second year, and the NHS has been specifically looking for students with a knowledge of sustainability to work in an advisory role. As a result, over summer I have been working for Sustainable Development at the NHS, helping with mandatory sustainability management plans (SDMPs) for NHS Trusts. My role was focused on helping to produce action plan.
Favourite for a coffee on campus: Curiositea, or think about the environment and bring a flask!
Sustainable Development Goal you find most interesting to learn about: SDG 13 "Climate Action". To me, this is one of, if not the seminal issue to be addressed by our generation. It really is interdisciplinary when it comes to addressing it, and I'll be writing my dissertation on the subject. There are so many different ways you can engage and learn about it from an academic perspective. For example, taking a top-down policy perspective and investigating EU decarbonisation process, or critically examining national pledges and policies in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement.
Student Research: As part of Security, Sovereignty and Sustainability in the Global Food System, I wrote a research essay outlining the challenges facing crop production due to declining rates of insect pollinators. The discussion was grounded in whether neonicotinoid insecticides (contributors towards pollinator decline) should be banned in crop production, with a particular focus on bee populations and their relationship to world food systems and security. As is the case throughout GSD, we were encouraged to research from perspectives we enjoy, so I took a natural sciences perspective and utilised empirical research for drawing my conclusions.
Career sector interest(s): Consultancy, preferably environmental
GSD in three words: Holistic, Creative, Passion
Advice for a prospective student: Be creative, be curious, don’t be scared of starting new things. Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you, create them for yourself instead. Be involved with what is happening around you.
Student Societies: Climate Reality has been a major part of my time at Warwick. I've been Head of Campaigns and I'm now taking on the role of Head of Marketing. We are a new society with new initiatives and bold ideas to create a more sustainable campus. Our focus is on helping students understand the importance of their choices and effect on environment and sustainability. I've also been involved with Rawkus (food waste society) Women for Women International Warwick; Warwick Handball, and the Student Food Co-op.
Recent work experience: I have recently been working in a bakery in Oxford and, with the ethos of sustainability in mind, I wanted to help the business better understand their food waste. We made some positive changes, and it was fantastic for me to enact this change with the knowledge of the wider issues of food security I've learned about whilst studying GSD.
Favourite place for coffee on campus: Lake by Bluebell – make your own coffee and bring your own mug, its more sustainable and more peaceful!
Sustainable Development Goal you find most interesting to learn about: SDG 5 "Gender Equality", but I believe it is important not to separate out these goals. For example, when we talk about violence on women, we need to consider violence on the environment and the relationship between them. What role does the creation of stable and just institutions play in this?
Student Research: Climate justice and “environmentalism of the poor”. This relates to first-hand victims of climate injustice or first-hand actors in climate action and climate justice! The concept sheds light on the people directly involved in conflicts over natural resources, who see their survival and their sovereignty as being threatened by private companies or states. It shows that environmental issues cannot be tackled or understood outside human struggles, exposing the unequal distribution of ecological costs and social injustices. One famous example of this form of activism is the Chipko Andloan movement, a grassroots environmental movement led by rural activists, predominantly women, protesting against the commercialisation of their forests.
Career sector interest(s): Local politics, community based not-for-profit organisations. I'm also aiming to travel around France for a year and explore local projects and get involved!
"Hey there! My name is Joe and I am a third year Global Sustainable Development student here at Warwick. I can't wait to tell you all about how fantastic the Global Sustainable Development degree course is and what life at Warwick is like. Please take a look at my blog to find out all about societies, study abroad and tips for living at university - feel free to contact me if you have any questions!"
"Hey! I’m Meredith, a third-year Global Sustainable Development (and Sociology) student here at Warwick, originally from the Midlands itself. I'm currently on my year abroad studying at Queen's University in Canada, so expect to see posts about my time here through this year!"