Staff focus of the month - Abigail Davis
Meet Abigail, our Sustainability Administrator and a former MidKent College student!
She is our staff focus of the month for September and we caught up with her to find out what she's been up to in her first four months working at the College.
When did you start your role?
I started at the beginning of May, 2022. Now it’s nearly autumn and it feels like May was yesterday…
Your role as a Sustainability Administrator is new to the College. Please can you explain a bit about what it involves?
I work alongside Cristal Li (who you would have seen in last month’s staff focus!) to help the College in it's goal to be serious about sustainability. Getting students involved in our aspirations to be a carbon neutral College by 2030 is very important and I was hired primarily as someone who enables students to have a say and give them the power to speak up about sustainability issues in the College. I can then funnel that straight to the people who have the power to change it!
What is your work background and how did your interest in sustainability start?
Funnily enough I was a student at MidKent College studying Animal Management, and I think that’s where my interest in sustainability began. I studied a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science at the University of Greenwich, just across the road from the College – and I was lucky to have lecturers who were oozing passion about sustainability and the environment!
I am also a Medway Young Person Champion, representing young people in Medway and ensuring the area I was born and raised in recognise and listen to young folks. So, although this is my first work role, I have a background in sustainability and youth work.
What do you enjoy most about the role?
The number of possibilities – you can incorporate sustainability into everything, it’s just how you approach it. There are so many aspects of sustainability that it can feel over-whelming.
Any frustrations so far?
Everyone is busy! I wanted to hit the ground running but understandably, students and staff were busy with assignments and ultimately that is their main priority. From September I will get to engage with students and staff more as they settle into the new academic year.
Do you have any particular success stories or moments that stand out that you’d like to share?
Earlier in the year, before I joined the College, they had collected donations for the Ukraine refugee crisis. Whilst most items did indeed go to the front line, we had a lot of boxes leftover. As students and staff were buried under work deadlines, there was a growing pressure for the room to be cleared for the new term. We were able to make the most use out of this situation. As we had an intake of Ukrainian refugees as students, I was able to distribute most items of clothing to them. We were also able to distribute items to local charities around Medway, and with everything leftover, we found a textile recycling company who paid us for the leftover clothing, distributing it to countries that need it – raising £228 in the process to go to disaster efforts in Ukraine!
So end result – nothing to landfill, items recycled as much as they could be (lots of cardboard was saved from the general waste bin), clothes were sent directly to local Ukrainian refugees, and the rest turned to money to donate to aid the crisis in Ukraine! Now that is why I joined MidKent.
Do you have any advice for young peope thinking about their next steps?
A lot of teachers in secondary school said I wasn’t cut out for College let alone university. I’m thankful my lecturers at MidKent College gave me a chance. With that I was able to pursue a degree. If you’re reading this and you feel like you've been made to feel not good enough, try not to take this to heart! If I'd listened to what my teachers said, I would not be in this position. I’ve waited a while for this opportunity and I’m very thankful I was given a chance to prove myself.
Abigail with Cristal at our Fresher's Fair last week.