Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Rachel Millward: My summer in New Zealand

ES student Rachel Millward spent her summer collecting research in New Zealand for her dissertation, worked at Ryland's Care Farm and also found time to set up a new society - the Southampton University Switch Off Society. Rachel shares her experince below.

Rachel spent time in New Zealand collecting research for her dissertation
Rachel visiting a Kiwi orchard

"I spent the first half of my summer in New Zealand doing research for my third year dissertation on ragwort as an invasive species in the Bay of Plenty region. This was an amazing opportunity for me to travel abroad and get a completely new experience. Whilst I was there I worked with the Regional council, Landcare research, DOW, Federated Farmers and Massey University. This has provided me with a huge range of new skills and experiences. Whilst I was there I also got to go on several visits with the regional council including one to one of the largest Kiwi fruit orchards in the country, where I learnt about the problems they are having this year due to PSA (a bacteria that is impacting kiwi fruit vines). It was amazing to be able to go abroad and do something that would enhance my degree at the same time as make some fantastic contacts. It also allowed me to come up with a project by myself (with help from my tutor) and make the appropriate contacts within the country to allow the trip to be feasible.

"The second half of the summer was spent at Ryland's Care Farm, a centre which teaches children with behavioural or learning problems how to integrate with the farming and the environment. They teach a huge range of skills, such as recycling, sustainable land management and respect for the environment. Being involved with the centre allowed me to use the skills and information I have gained through doing my degree to enhance the programme, as well as give me a huge range of new skills.

"Lastly I spent a considerable amount of time (with my fellow committee members) setting up a brand new society called Southampton University Switch Off Society, this society follows on from the National Student Switch Off campaign group. Having a society allows us to have a much larger impact on the University and spread the work load out from the National group. It has helped us to be able to move towards houses as well halls energy for the first time. It also allows us to be integrated with the University in a way that is very difficult for on an outside group, as I can sit on the E and E committee and help with Ethical Shopping week etc... Over the summer I got together a strong committee, and we placed a proposal to become a society which was accepted, so far we have managed to sign up over 500 people to the group as well as get a range of people involved in halls and houses events. We have become the first University to have a committee for Student Switch Off and hopefully other Unis will follow us."

Privacy Settings