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Jenny Parratt

What does your position involve?   

There have been two sets of recent guidelines released for staff and students travelling on University business: the University’s sustainable business travel guidelines, and the Sustainability Team’s guidance on the University’s carbon offsetting policy. I’m tasked with improving people’s awareness of these guidelines by making communications materials for University websites and social media – such as FAQs, how-to guides, and videos. I’ll work directly with departments across the University to ensure my content addresses staff and students’ queries and concerns. Lastly, I’ll consider ways to present data on carbon emissions from business travel, to be used on future projects. 

What is your (education/qualification) background and how did you get here?

I graduated this year from my undergraduate Geography degree here at Cambridge. Alongside academic work on environmental sustainability (I wrote my dissertation on climate change communication in newspapers), I’ve worked in sustainability communications with various ‘green’ companies. This has ranged from marketing for a sustainably sourced children’s toy company to UX design for an app that maps out low-carbon travel routes to a user’s holiday destination. I’ve loved supporting products and services that encourage sustainable action at an individual level – so I chose this position with the Sustainability Team for the opportunity to encourage action at a wider, institutional level.

What were you doing before joining the Sustainability Team?

Recovering after my final exams! I’d been exploring the summery, relaxed sides to Cambridge that I didn’t get to see during term time.

What are you looking forward to getting your teeth into in the coming year?

Talking to individual departments about their practical barriers to the new guidelines, so I can help to make the guidelines as easy as possible to follow. I find that people often face hurdles that I would never have predicted, so I’m very keen to learn from the departments and make this a two-way conversation.

Do you have any hobbies?

I love exploring visual art and theatre. Cambridge has been perfect for this, with Kettle’s Yard, the Fitz, the ADC, etc. While I was a student I worked as a stage manager and set designer for student productions. I painted chairs and tables for a University opera production; I carried hay bales around the Fitzwilliam Museum garden; and I hauled a bed mattress to the Corpus Playroom. I also love watching detective shows – the more predictable, the better!

What gets you out of bed (and into work) in the morning?

Knowing that the projects I’m working on are turning ideas that may have seemed wildly impossible in the past, such as abandoning domestic air travel, into a tangible reality.

What is your favourite green gadget?

My phone! It’s so easy to ‘travel green’ by instantly mapping my routes in Google Maps and City Mapper. I can’t imagine living in a time before these apps as I simply wouldn’t be able to navigate public transport without them. I’m glad to have lived in super well-connected cities like Cambridge and London, meaning the idea of using a car never crosses my mind. 

First impressions of Cambridge?

I’ve been at the University for three years, but this is my first time working as staff rather than a student and it’s been awe-inspiring to see so many people working to systematically improve the University’s environmental impact. It’s a little overwhelming to hear about the different projects and initiatives going on, but hopefully over the next few months I’ll get to grips with them all.