Sustainable UCL


Sustainability Ambassadors

Join us in helping UCL meet its sector-leading sustainability commitments by becoming a Student Sustainability Ambassador.

3 students smiling holding a plant
UCL has the most ambitious sustainability commitments of any UK university; by 2024 we will be a single-use plastic-free campus, have zero carbon buildings, 1.5 football pitches of additional biodiverse space and every student will have the opportunity to study sustainability. But for this to happen we need students who are enthusiastic about sustainability issues to help make this change possible.


How does the programme work?

We recruit passionate students, both undergraduate and postgraduate, who want to make change possible at UCL and develop their skills in project management, sustainability, teamwork, communications, and leadership. 

All ambassadors will be trained in sustainability and will be supported throughout the year with a staff member.  

Students must complete 20 hours of volunteering between November – March to receive a certificate and points on the academic HEAR. The role is flexible, but students must clearly communicate with their staff member their commitments ahead of the project and throughout, to ensure completion of the project.  

All Students Sustainability Ambassadors will be invited to join UCL's Student Sustainability Council, but attendance is voluntary. 

What do Sustainability Ambassadors do?

Sustainability Ambassadors join staff members to assist them in making the university more sustainable. For some students this will be supporting staff teams to complete Green Impact, UCL's sustainability engagement programme, for others it will be working to implement sustainability projects for the SU, or UCL's food contractor CH&CO.

Green Impact Sustainability Ambassador: Support staff to complete Green Impact

Green Impact is a UCL-wide environmental competition and accreditation scheme that allows departments and divisions across the university to improve their environmental impact, support UCL's Sustainability Strategy and engage peers and colleagues with these essential issues. As Sustainability Ambassadors you will support teams to complete the Green Impact workbook. This could include making posters, undertaking research, project coordination, providing inspiration for new sustainability initiatives, reviewing policies, writing blogs, and collecting evidence for the environmental audit associated with Green Impact. Tasks will be decided upon between ambassadors and staff members. 

Students' Union Sustainability Ambassador: Implement sustainability projects for the SU

Sustainability Ambassadors play an important role in embedding sustainability within the Students' Union and our student community. The Students’ Union wants to be a union that actively operates in line with and advocates for students’ sustainability concerns. To do so, we need your help! As Sustainability Ambassadors, you will work alongside the elected Sustainability Officer and Union Affairs Officer for 2022/23, supported by Strategic Projects Coordinator and occasionally other staff across the Union, to help implement some of the actions outlined in the SU Sustainability Strategy 2022-25.

This is an excellent way to get more involved in the practical actions the Union is taking to become more sustainable, while inspiring other students join the movement too!

There are four different roles available:

1. Communications and Engagement Ambassadors

We want to communicate sustainability in a way that informs, educates, and empowers our students. Our priorities include being more transparent about what we are doing to work on the issues students care about and ensure students have access to opportunities and resources to help them get involved in sustainability action and make informed decisions about their impact on the environment. Communications and Engagement Ambassadors play the vital role of representing the student voice in our communication channels and have their own special place in our sustainability communication plan.

The role would involve:

  • Preparing a fortnightly sustainability-themed post for the Union social media accounts
  • Opportunities to contribute to news articles for the Union sustainability webpages
  • Supporting a recurrent consultation with the student body about their consumer habits and behaviours to identify opportunity areas for the Union for engagement with members, impactful change in commercial offering and education about sustainability
  • Producing bite-sized progress reports for work done on the SU Sustainability Strategy

2. Student Gardening Ambassadors

We are getting our first ever Union outdoor planting area, and we need students with passion for gardening and biodiversity to help provide tender loving care to the plants! Our Student Gardeners would look after the Print Room Café outdoor area as well as the community planters in Malet Place and use it as an opportunity for biodiversity observations and engaging the campus community around nature.

The role would involve:

  • Watering the plants in the Union planters in the new Print Room Cafe outdoor area and on Malet Place
  • Creating engaging educational content about the plants (i.e. black boards in situ, website, social media)
  • Recording the plants found in the planters to track species and biodiversity
  • Collaborating with Union staff and student societies to design events and workshops to promote the space as a hub for learning about and interacting with nature 

3. Fairtrade Ambassadors

Providing students with an ethical way of getting their caffeine or chocolate fix on campus creates an opportunity for raising awareness about Fairtrade Foundation and its positive impacts on farmer communities, the climate and global trade, which in turn helps shape habits and values of our members – the leaders and shapers of tomorrow. The UCL—Union partnership has recently retained the Fairtrade University Award, recognising the institutional Fairtrade effort. The partnership has a collaborative Fairtrade action plan aimed at continuous improvement in this area. Fairtrade Ambassadors will support the delivery of this plan and lead on Fairtrade stewardship for the Union with promotional and educational campaigns.

The role would involve:

  • Supporting the delivery of objectives from UCL Fairtrade action plan
  • Preparing communications, materials, and events for Fairtrade Fortnight
  • Creating educational and promotional Fairtrade content for the Union webpages and other communications channels
  • Being part of the UCL Sustainable Food Working Group

4. Community Ambassadors

Students at UCL have been involved in a lot of innovative and impactful sustainability action, contributing to making change possible with their research, volunteering, and extracurricular activity through clubs and societies. We want to facilitate a sense of community among students working on sustainability initiatives for even greater impact and outreach. Community Ambassadors will help coordinate and communicate resources and opportunities for student groups committed to sustainability, as well as contribute to recognising and rewarding their commitment and impact.

The role would involve:

  • Creating spotlight-style articles about student groups with outstanding sustainability vision and impact for the Union website, always involve a call to action / opportunity
  • Contacting societies about sustainability-related workshops and events, and supporting them in coordination of the delivery
  • Collaborating with societies and relevant Union staff to develop sustainability criteria for Societies Awards
  • Supporting further development of rentable resource centre for clubs and societies
  • Contributing to a progress & reflection report at the end of the year: describing the impact of student sustainability community, and including recommendations for improving and sustaining the student sustainability collective at UCL
  • Optional: helping to scope out strategic projects around clubs and societies (internal sustainable events policy, sustainability guidance in clubs and societies training, carbon footprint measurement tool) through auditing and research
Food Sustainability Ambassador: Work with UCL's food contractor on sustainability

Sustainability Ambassadors selected to support UCL’s food contractor CH&CO will support the food & beverage Sustainability Manager as they drive forward sustainable change for UCL. Ambassadors will have the opportunity to assist the Sustainability Manager on key projects.

In 2022/23 the key projects will be:

  • Food waste reduction
  • Circular packaging
  • Reduction of energy consumption

Work on these projects can involve research design, student engagement, data collection, data analysis, and creative problem solving.

Ambassadors will have the chance to co-create impact reporting  with the sustainability manager to report on the impact of projects and/or interventions. 

Propeller ambassador badge

What's in it for you?

  • Develop your leadership and sustainability skills to build your CV
  • Get a spot on UCL’s Student Sustainability Council to directly feed into UCL’s sustainability projects and policies
  • Grow your network and connections with sustainability leaders and likeminded students
  • Inspire the UCL community to create positive and meaningful change
  • Bring your ideas to create a better place for people and planet
  • Receive recognition for your achievements at UCL's annual Sustainability Awards
  • Help make change possible, so that UCL can become the most sustainable university in the UK.
  • Make friends and have fun!

Key dates

  • Applications open 15th September 2022
  • Applications close 24th October 2022
  • Find out if you have a position on 31st October 2022