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LSE's Sustainable Projects Fund: This year's winning projects

LSE’s Sustainable Projects Fund awards funding to student and staff-led projects that enhance sustainability at LSE. 

The fund is run by the LSESU Sustainable Futures Society and the money comes from a 25p ‘tax’ on bottled water sold by LSE Catering outlets and donations from LSE alumni. 

The funds are awarded annually by an independent judging panel and five projects have been awarded funding for 2023/24. This Earth Day, we talk to this year’s winning teams to find out more!

"The initiatives funded by the Sustainable Projects Fund each year are crucial to the School’s ambition of being a global example on sustainability and offer a range of ways for the entire LSE community to get involved. We are delighted to be part of this year’s roster of funded projects.”

Project one: Mapping urban sustainability initiatives around LSE - LSE Cities

LSE Cities plan to create three maps which highlight different sustainability initiatives within a 15-minute radius of the School (including campus itself). This will be made compatible with Google Maps so the LSE community can easily locate recycling points, low carbon food options, zero waste shops and so on.

The LSE Cities team explain: “There are a significant number of urban sustainability initiatives at LSE and in the surrounding areas, but many staff and students are not aware of these projects.

“This lack of awareness limits the potential impact of these initiatives and hinders joined-up action between sustainability groups. This project aims to bring these initiatives together in a set of complementary maps. As a research centre focusing on Cities and their sustainable development, we are keen to bring our interest, data visualisations and mapping skills to the project.” 

Project two: Blankets for the Displaced - Sherry Han (Student)

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 Undergraduate student Sherry Han formed a group of student and staff volunteers to sew together deadstock fabric, which would otherwise be classed as textile waste, into two-ply blankets to be sent to refugees. The Sustainable Projects funding covered the purchase of offcut textile and sewing materials.

Sherry and her grandmother frequently make use of scrap fabrics around the house to make blankets for family members and this gave her the idea for the project.

Sherry believes the support from the Sustainability Fund has been invaluable in helping her get the project off the ground. “The idea behind Blankets for the Displaced was something I had in mind years ago, but never really found the right support to implement. Knowing that LSE is passionate and committed in helping sustainability projects like mine come to life was what ultimately pushed me to pitch this idea.” 

There are also benefits for those who take part in the sewing workshops such as learning how to hand sew and gaining the skills to upcycle and repair their own clothing.

The blankets will be donated to Goods for Good, a charity that distributes resources to the displaced in need of them. Follow the project on Instagram @lse_blanketsforthedisplaced for more updates! 

Project three - The Great Food Fight - May-Ying Tang and Defne Ece Yavus (Students)

At the end of term students often waste food by leaving it at halls when they move out. This student-led project collects unwanted food from students in all LSE-managed halls of residence, as they move out, and takes anything that meets the criteria to local food banks.  

The money from the fund will go towards paying for a representative in each hall of residence to help with the promotion and collection of food items, a trolley, and transport to the chosen food banks with the items.

Undergraduate student Defne Ece Yavus, who co-founded the project, outlines her motivations for setting it up: “I’m personally passionate about this issue because I believe helping your local community is one of the easiest yet most effective ways to contribute to social change. Through this project, we are both helping reduce food waste and supporting our local communities.”

Project four - Repair Week Activities - the Sustainability Team

Repair Week London (20-26 March) is a week full of events put on by local authorities, businesses and individuals that inspire the art of repair, to reduce waste and save money.

The LSE sustainability team used the project funding to run a clothing Repair Café and Mending Workshop at LSE (in collaboration with Kings College London) and a bike repair workshop on campus.

Talking about the success of the repair activities, Kate Veck from LSE’s Sustainability team says, “It was fantastic to get funding for Repair Week events. The bookable events completely sold out, and feedback from the sessions were great.

“We feel really passionate about inspiring low-waste living, and repair is a vital but often underappreciated or understood aspect of this. Sustainable consumption such as buying second hand is becoming more mainstream, but repair is often seen as ‘uncool’ or too hard to achieve in a culture of convenience. I’m really glad we could receive funding to put on these events and inspire the LSE community about the lost art of repair as it is vital to fighting the climate crisis!”

Project five - Arts exhibition focusing on climate change – Phelan US Centre

The US Phelan Centre have organised an exhibition scheduled for November 2023 to coincide with COP 28, which will bring together artistic reflections from LSE students and staff on the era-defining challenge posed by climate change.

To that end, they have launched an arts competition open to all students and staff as a means of gathering and selecting work to be displayed in the exhibition. 

This project flowed from the Centre’s desire to showcase the passion and expertise of the LSE community on this issue and reach new audiences by engaging with climate change in a creative, accessible manner. They also hope the exhibition will give life and colour to their new podcast series, Climate Change: America and the World

Joss Harrison from the Phelan US Centre added: “The initiatives funded by the Sustainable Projects Fund each year are crucial to the School’s ambition of being a global example on sustainability and offer a range of ways for the entire LSE community to get involved. We are delighted to be part of this year’s roster of funded projects.”

Find out more about the Sustainable Projects Fund here.