Green Gown Awards 2020 - STAFF - Dr Katherine Haxton, Keele University - Winner

Tags: Green Gown Awards 2020 | Keele University | Sustainability Champion Staff | Dr Katherine Haxton

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WINNER: Sustainability Champion - STAFF - Dr Katherine Haxton, Keele University

I believe chemistry students must learn about sustainability through their degrees beyond ‘just’ green chemistry in a laboratory context. I have created and led two modules with sustainability at their heart, tackling social, political, and economic contexts. Significantly, this highlights the real-world challenges that must be tackled by chemists for a more sustainable society, including inequalities such as poverty, race, and gender.  

Through a partnership with Nanjing XiaoZhuang University, I led a distance learning module linking Keele students with Chinese students to learn about sustainability in one another’s cultures. My passion for sustainability goes beyond teaching. I actively seek positions where I can champion sustainability and go beyond my role. Sustainability also requires social justice, driving my work on a cross-institution Decolonising STEM project. I lead my School’s sustainability committee, creating partnerships with other School committees and departments that have resulted in us achieving my institution's sustainability benchmark award for two years. 

Top 3 learnings:

  1. You have to start somewhere, so start with your own interests. 
  2. Being open to partnerships and interesting projects leads to great results and wider impact. 
  3. There is nothing wrong with ‘being the person who does sustainability stuff’ - at least someone is! 

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