UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources


MSc Business and Sustainability students write a new blog about visiting The Sustainability Centre

22 November 2023

Whisky Wei and Sivapriya Yeleswarapu describe the recent field trip by the programme students to The Sustainability Centre in Hampshire’s South Downs National Park

MSc BandS students November 2023 field trip image #1

'A memorable getaway to The Sustainability Centre – a first for the first Business and Sustainability MSc cohort' - a blog by Whisky Wei and Sivapriya Yeleswarapu

It was officially reading week at UCL - but before we caught up on our reading lists, we set out on a field trip to The Sustainability Centre which is nestled in the heart of Hampshire’s South Downs National Park. It is an independent learning centre aiming to educate and inspire people from all walks of life to adopt more sustainable lifestyles.

Our itinerary was packed to the brim, yet meticulously planned and executed across three days. It helped bring to the fore the idea of collaboration as a means to responsibly harness the power of nature to achieve collective objectives. Through a range of activities, we developed a much stronger sense of each individual member of our cohort, both on a personal and professional level. This will no doubt allow for a richer discourse in and outside of the class, as well as build stronger working dynamics within our group project work.

During the trip we participated in several activities. This included an inspiring talk by Christine Seaward, CEO of the Sustainability Centre, and Jon May, COO of Aspire Pharma, who shared insights on their organisations’ sustainability efforts. We unleashed our creativity in making clay ovens, worked as a team to build sturdy arches made of earth bags (which we successfully walked over), and erected survival shelters using fallen logs and leaves. There were team-building games as well as a useful bushcraft session on fire-building and foraging activities. The sun shone brightly as we hiked along the chalk hills of the South Downs, learning about the history and geography of the area. In the evening, we admired the starry night sky because the Sustainability Centre is located in a designated dark-sky area. 

All outdoor activities we engaged in involved traditional methods relying on locally sourced, renewable materials found in the natural environment. Engaging in these activities helped us foster a deeper connection with nature – aligning with principles of sustainability by promoting conscious consumption and reduced reliance on modern conveniences that may have higher environmental costs. Through these experiences, we recognised the potential to reduce the strain on natural resources, minimise negative environmental impact and exist in harmony with our planet.

MSc BandS students November 2023 field trip image #2

The trip was also an intricate interweaving of different people and ideas to create a cohesive whole. Through spending time with each other outside classrooms, we wove a tapestry of emotions among our cohort, helping us understand one another better. We shared the nuances of this trip, intertwined with laughter. We discussed and explored the possibilities of achieving sustainable development, echoing shared dreams. Through heartfelt exchanges, we forged a resilient bond, laying a foundation of profound connection for future collaborations.

We’re full of gratitude to BSEER and our programme lead Dr. Samuel Tang for spearheading the organisation of this wholesome trip. Our appreciation extends to Dr. Stuti Rawat, Paola Bertelli and to the whole staff at the Sustainability Centre for making this getaway the success it was. There is a strong case for organising such trips, given that practical experiences are key to supporting our learnign process. Here’s hoping it is the first of many more to come!



Image credit: Whisky Wei and Sivapriya Yeleswarapu