Work · Sustainability Practitioners

Meet Elizabeth Johnson, Veterinary Student at the University of Surrey

Elizabeth is currently studying Veterinary Medicine at the University of Surrey. She has had an interesting career so far, having worked as a farm manager, and agriculture, sustainability and climate change consultant prior to starting her veterinary degree. Elizabeth is one of the student representatives for the Surrey Sustainability Working Group, championing sustainability initiatives at the vet school. Find out more about Elizabeth in our interview:

Vet Sustain

Hi! Please introduce yourself!

My name is Elizabeth Johnson and i am a Veterinary Medicine student at the University of Surrey.

What is your current role and professional interests?

I am a current Veterinary Medical student at Surrey Vet School. My interests revolve around sustainable food production as prior to my studies at Surrey I was a farm manager and agriculture, sustainability and climate change consultant.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Get up, go to the gym to help settle my mind ahead of a jam packed day of learning! I often feel I am chasing my tail, but absolutely love the challenge. My days involve a mix of lectures and practical classes. As part of the Surrey Vet School Sustainability Working Group we have regular meetings where we brainstorm ideas and evaluate the impact of our actions upon the Vet School. I am proud that I am able to combine this with my studies.

What is your favourite part of the job?

Learning from my teachers and peers. It is a privilege to be around such motivated and talented people

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Keeping up with the volume of content and not succumbing to overwhelm. When it comes to the Sustainability Working Group, the hardest challenges are being realistic about what actions can be implemented and adhered to.

Do you have any tips for achieving a good work-life balance?

Scheduling your time, and making sure that some fun activities are scheduled as "non-negotiables"

How do veterinary professionals currently help to drive sustainability?

Evaluate your own personal actions before looking outwardly at others - lead by example. Could you drive less? Does your email need a huge signature with images embedded? Could you eat more seasonally. Start small - Rome wasn't built in a day!

What do you feel are the major opportunities to drive sustainability in the veterinary sector?

Getting students on board the sustainability journey whilst at University, ensure that the next generation of Vets have sustainability at the forefront of their minds, embed it into the curriculum.

What are your top tips for veterinary professionals wishing to take the first steps to drive sustainability in their roles?

Don't be too hard on yourself, celebrate the small victories. Try to make it fun and rewarding. People respond to positive feedback, not negative.

If you could wave a magic wand and make one improvement to drive the sustainability impact of the veterinary profession, what would it be?

Reduce the volume of single use products, that are manufactured and imported/exported globally that are required across the veterinary (and medical) sectors.