Sustainable UCL


Healthy Planet UCL - 2019 Winner of the Sustainability Impact Award

Healthy Planet UCL Schools is a Student-Led Volunteering Project which engages young people and supports them to think about how they can reclaim their health and environments.

Students of the Healthy Planet UCL Students group holding their award

14 May 2020

We caught up with Nazanin Rassa, project leader of Healthy Planet UCL when they won their Sustainability Impact Award:

What is your role and what does it involve?

My role used to be the project leader. Over the two years my role involved setting up the project, creating content and materials for lessons with the Healthy Planet UK team, school outreach across London, volunteer outreach and attending fairs, co-ordinating volunteers, their training, briefing and debriefing, collating feedback and liaising with the volunteering student’s union to meet their recording requirements.

How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?

I have been at UCL for 6 years as a medical student. I have now graduated early from the “class of corona” as a doctor. Previous to creating the project I was involved with Fossil Free UCL while I also completed my iBSc in Global Health.

Tell us about the Sustainability Award you won in 2019 and the work that it celebrated

Ours was one of the few student led initiatives to get the award and I think because of that, it celebrated the efforts of student movements in climate change activism.

I feel that the award also celebrated the young people learning about and fighting for their environments – not just our students but all the young people around the world.

Has winning the award changed things for you?

Personally it felt great to be recognised formally. To be able to say we won the award when we do school/volunteer outreach really helped gain more interest too.

Also since we got the award at the end of the year we invited the new project leaders to come to the ceremony with us. I’d like to think that the award set a really positive foundation for the new team.

Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list

At the moment I am starting my new job as a doctor 3 months early. I guess this has now fast tracked to the top of my to do list.

What is your favourite album, film and novel?

I find it really hard to pick favourites. This year my favourite album is Stormzy’s Heavy is the Head. I remember when it came out the night of the election and just how relevant some of the tracks were, it really stuck with me.

My favourite book is the Good Immigrant. It’s a really well-crafted collection of happy, funny, sad, angry essays on what it means to be an immigrant In the UK.

What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?

 I am not much into 'jokes'.

Who would be your dream dinner guests?

Probably a bunch of musicians – Anderson Paak, Eryka Badu, Childish Gambino. I’d love to just listen to them play post-meal.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I definitely overworked myself to get to university. Not that it wasn’t necessary but I think younger me could have definitely taken time to slow down a little and look after herself a little more.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

I came to the UK as a 3 year old refugee from Afghanistan got my citizenship after 8 years.

What is your favourite place?

My mother’s kitchen table. Not just for the food (although afghan food is hands down some of the best and everyone should definitely try it), but because that table is where all our conversations used to happen and it’s been central to so many memories.

Read more about the Sustainability Awards​ →