Young, gifted and green…

University Business caught up with one of our Young Leaders Award winners, Sustainability Champion, Alexander Clark

Alexander is Environmental Coordinator at The University of Manchester. He works tirelessly to develop initiatives which engage with people on all levels, inside and outside of the University. Since joining Manchester in 2009, Alex has shown an unwavering dedication and commitment to the issues surrounding energy conservation and sustainability. He has implemented a number of challenging new initiatives leading to significant reductions in waste, energy consumption and improved awareness amongst staff and students.

UB: How do you see your role developing at your university in the next couple of years? 

AC: “My role will potentially become increasingly strategic and involve leading key areas of sustainability particularly within student experience engagement and across wider working partnerships we have across the council and the city.”

UB: What are the main challenges your department and sector across universities will face in the future? 

AC: “Getting buy-in and engaging people in why this is a key agenda is always difficult. I am fortunate as the people I work directly with understand this is important because they can see the benefits to the department either from a cost saving point of view or from positive stories that the agenda creates. Fortunately, with sustainability becoming a more important topic hopefully this will get easier and, in time, more people will understand the reason why it is such a priority.”

UB: Where do you see yourself in a few years time? 

AC: “It’s hard to say. I would like to lead on more sustainability strategy for the city and even wider, in order to have a bigger impact.  In my current role, we work closely with the cities climate change action plan and have a bit of an influence in this area. This is a great opportunity for us to be able to make a difference across the whole of the city.”

UB: Would you like to mentor more young people in the future yourself?

AC: “Yes. Our University has a scheme similar to this called Manchester Gold which allows staff to be mentored. I was a mentee for a year and it was very useful to look at the way I work and help to improve this. Once I had completed it I then became a mentor for other staff. It was a really great experience and I would love the opportunity to do this again to help others.”

UB: What are the best things about working in the university sector? 

AC: “The University sector is constantly changing and there are lots of opportunities to embed sustainability into everything we do. The University of Manchester has a commitment to social responsibility, which is one of its three key core goals. As well as this, the University aims to work more closely with community groups and in partnerships with the city council to share resources. This benefits the sustainability agenda as we can have more of an influence across the wider city with these aims.”

For more on the University Business Young Leaders Awards, visit





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