What's it like to be a Part-Time Officer? - part 2

Still unsure about whether to nominate yourself as a Part-Time Officer? Find out more about the experience from Alexandre Duponcheele, Sustainability Officer BL.


Alexandre Duponcheele, Sustainability Officer BL

Hi, my name is Alex Duponcheele and I am a third-year medicine student. My current role as a PTO is Sustainability Officer for Barts London. I wanted to study medicine to help people and get involved in technology. One of my interests in medicine in particular is public health, where sustainability has a big role to play hence my reasoning to become a sustainability officer- because of the impact the environment has on people's health.

What is your role and what motivated you to apply?

My role is Sustainability Officer for Barts London and there were 2 reasons I applied. One- I believe the environment has a very important role to play in people's health, concerning stuff like asthma and of course cigarettes. And because it plays such a large role, it’s impossible to ignore it when we have to tackle these issues holistically. The second reason is because I’m interested in public health that also has a political governance side and so by becoming Sustainability officer, I wanted to know more on how policy making works, how to arrange projects, how to budget, which is my second reason.

What are some highlights from your time as a PTO so far?

In particular, it was arranging meetings to arrange a project on cigarette and e-vape disposal. We’ve had a few meetings recently and hope to start it in the New Year.

For me, it's interesting because I get to participate in a more large-scale project which will have meaning and impact for students, perhaps unlike a graded university project. And for me, that is exactly why I wanted to be the Sustainability Officer.

Have there been any surprising moments or opportunities as a PTO?

Yes actually, one surprising opportunity was to visit a waste disposal center. Unfortunately, I was scheduled for a medical placement when it happened- it was cancelled and moved to next year, so there is still a chance to go.

So, it’s the fact that you also can look not just into the university but also who is contracted to do what outside the university, screening their green credentials. For me, it was surprising to do that but also a good opportunity

What is a piece of advice you could give to someone applying?

I would say go for it with an open mind and then as you go along, you will naturally narrow down the scope and focus on what you actually want to accomplish. Have an open mind but don’t be afraid to narrow it down to focus where necessary and that way, you’ll actually be able to accomplish the goals you set out.


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