UCL News


Seven Questions with Hamnah Shakeel

18 October 2019

This week we meet second-year BA Geography student Hamnah, who has been heavily involved with sustainability initiatives at UCL. Hamnah shares with us her experiences working on sustainability campaigns at UCL and top scenic spots to visit in London.


What are you studying, why are you interested in this subject and what do you plan to do in the future?

I’m currently in my second year of studying BA Geography. For me, the most fascinating aspect of Geography is how broad and diverse it is as a subject. Its interdisciplinary nature really encourages critical thinking and grants a unique perspective when approaching contemporary issues. As a predominantly Human Geographer, I’ve been fascinated by the role humans have had on how the world has changed; especially in causing the climate crisis. This is why I’d like to pursue a career related to Sustainability and tackling the causes of this climate emergency.

What is the most interesting thing you’ve done, seen or got involved with while at UCL?

There are so many interesting things I’ve had a chance to get involved with! Over summer, I got to work with SustainableUCL on the new #changepossible campaign which was very exciting! In the lead up to the launch, I produced a video compilation of numerous societies pledging how they would become more sustainable this year. The societies with the best pledges were then thanked with personalised society stickers that they could hand out at their Fresher’s Fair stalls. This was part of a wider scheme to raise awareness of UCL’s commitments to sustainability and encourage incoming students to customise and make use of their new reusable water bottles! I was thrilled to see my suggestions being implemented and I really hope to see all UCL Societies getting involved with the initiative over the coming months.

I also had the opportunity to perform during the Fresher’s Fair as part of UCL Pakistan Society which was super fun as well! We drew inspiration from regional dances and wore traditional attire to showcase the diversity that exists within Pakistan and managed to attract quite an audience!

Have you discovered any hidden gem during your time at UCL?

The Student Centre at night – it has a completely different vibe and is much more peaceful to work in.

Give us your top three things to do/see/go to in London:

  1. Walk through St James’s Park to Green Park (especially during early morning/ sunset). The route is so scenic and calming.
  2. Check out the Christmas light displays over Oxford Street, Carnaby Street and Covent Garden.
  3. Walk from Tower Bridge towards London Bridge at night. You get an incredible view of London.

If you were Provost for the day what one thing would you do?

Offer free tea and coffee on campus if you have a reusable cup!

Who inspires you and why?

From my parents to my peers, I’m truly blessed to be surrounded by so many amazing people that constantly inspire me with their resilience, humbleness and achievements. I’m grateful to have a strong support system that always encourages me to improve and challenge myself whilst staying true to my values and principles.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

I’m an introvert at heart! Being the Vice-President of a Cultural Society, I can come across as quite confident and outgoing, but in reality, I don’t enjoy the limelight! I much prefer listening and observing!