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Reflections from a Vet Sustain Student Champion

William Brookes

My sustainability journey started by watching talks on the Webinar Vet, through which I found out about Vet Sustain. I reached out to Vet Sustain during the organisation of the BSAVA Student Congress 2022 and organised sustainability talks from Justine Shotton, Zoë Halfacree and Sue Paterson. The event proved to be a massive success, with over 200 students joining the virtual event.

I strongly believe in the importance of introducing veterinary sustainability to students and encouraging their involvement in this crucial area. As a profession that is trusted by the public and operates on the basis of evidence-based science, veterinary medicine has a responsibility in society beyond animal health and welfare, including contributing to environmental sustainability. Given that veterinary schools play a crucial role in shaping the attitudes and practices of future veterinarians, they are an ideal starting point for promoting sustainability in the profession.

Now in my final year, I have been working with a small team within the vet school and the wider team on campus to see how sustainability can be improved.

We have already made a few changes, such as swapping to reusable incopads in practicals, reusing clean syringes in clinical teaching sessions, having reusable PPE instead of shoe covers and disposable gowns where appropriate, and introducing an embedded sustainability module throughout the curriculum.

In March, we launched a survey to students, staff, and alumni to act as a digital suggestion box to collect both quick wins and long term projects. We received over 450 ideas and suggestions; the results of which will be released shortly!

Sustainability was a large factor in my choosing my first job after graduating and I am excited to take forwards some of the things I have learned.

William Brookes
Final Year Veterinary Student at the University of Nottingham
Vet Sustain Student Champion