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Newcastle University – The Fight Against Plastic

This article has been written & researched by Annesa, these are her words and views. 


Annesa McConnell – Beginning my second year of my Geography degree at Newcastle University I knew one thing: I want meaningful, exciting and worthwhile work experience. As a geographer, I have always preferred being out of the classroom creating real change so when I received an email advertising an internship as a Sustainability Project Officer at MIW Water Cooler Experts I applied immediately. Plastic waste and excessive consumption are destroying natural environments worldwide and this internship is taking a small step to fight it.


I am an outgoing and proactive person, I love looking for new opportunities to allow me to explore and learn more. I secured my first job at the age of 16 at McDonald’s, difficult and strenuous it taught me a lot about hard work. After making the decision to quit my job and focus on my studies during my first year of university, I soon found myself looking for something positive to occupy my summer. I received an email from the National Citizens Service (NCS), a program I completed myself, advertising a position as a Team Mentor. I applied and spent my summer supporting a team of 15 to 17-year olds as they completed a 4-week program of challenges, community participation and social action. I loved this role and it taught me that I wanted to continue to make an impact.


Following on from my first year at University, I decided to do human geography because I loved working with the community. Luckily, a community volunteering module was available for me to study; a module that was focused outside of the confines of a traditional learning environment. By the end of my second year, I will have completed 70 hours of volunteering with Tyne and Wear Museums, specifically with Hatton Gallery. The main objective of my volunteering with Hatton Gallery is, with my group, to create an exhibition showcasing how a non-represented group experienced the city; we chose to focus on autism. This has been a highly educational experience, the project itself involves outreach, planning and management on a scale that most students don’t get the opportunity to experience.


I am the outreach secretary for the Sober Social Society: I did this because I believe that everyone should be able to get involved regardless of whether they drink alcohol or not. As an outreach secretary, my main role is to reach out to other societies and organisations to arrange collaborations and events, a position I love. The student community at Newcastle has the power to create real change and positively change the environment in which we are studying and living in. That’s why I strongly encourage everyone to get involved, join societies and learn about the place you live in.


I am excited to begin a new experience with MIW Water Coolers and create positive change through the #OneLess initiative. Ruby Plackett and I have big ideas and a lot of work to do, and I end with a simple message: change can be achieved one water bottle at a time.