Everyone has a story…
On the Record are back for Edition 39 of Verse with their continued insights into the humans that make up our diverse and insightful cohort. This time around OTR’s reporters have gotten to the bottom of how a few individual students view climate change and incorporate sustainability into their lifestyle and career paths!
Sheli Sverdlov | @sheli_designz
Master of Architecture
Interviewer: Bec Gaitaneris | @bec_gaitaneris
Why did you decide to study architecture, and what do you enjoy most about your degree?
I chose to study architecture, as I have always been interested in the arts and STEM, especially in secondary school where I found myself being more attentive in computer-aided design (CAD) classes. I enjoy the process of designing something new and not having a direct yes or no answer.
Tell me about your creative process. When you are given a project, where do you start?
Typically, I start with the most crucial step…understanding the design brief. From there, the design process allows me to use my creativity in various ways. I begin the ideation stage by hand drawing and researching concepts that fit within the constraints of the brief. This can be either a literal or abstract response of what the space can feel, look and be like. The last step is all about refining the design to fit both the brief and the visual aesthetic I want the design to achieve.
Climate change is currently one of the most interesting and pressing challenges for society, how does this influence your designs and/ or projects?
In today’s current climate, sustainability is definitely something we all need to be aware of. When starting a new project, I always consider various creative ways of integrating more sustainable alternatives. Sometimes I do this by incorporating greenery into the design, enforcing passive cooling strategies, or researching sustainable and recycled materials that are more beneficial for the occupant’s health and wellbeing.
Throughout your studies, which project has given you the most satisfaction thus far?
My favourite studio project by far would be my ‘Absence and Presence’ project for the Adelaide Space Agency, located on Lot 14. We had the opportunity to experiment with different forms and volumes of space that were required to become private laboratories, public exhibition zones for NASA artefacts. Having a more exciting brief gave me the opportunity to explore various ways of designing a space used for informing, teaching and communicating about the human curiosity with the unknown depths of our universe.
What architects and/ or designers do you follow and admire for their architectural ability and why?
I am a huge fan of Harry Seidler! Not only did he introduce Modernism in the Australian built environment, but his three key principles of what architecture should be: social use, technology, and aesthetic, enforce the idea of not being set on a singular aesthetic or style, but an ever evolving one that is developed through the current needs of social use and technological advancements. His ideals and design concepts particularly resonate with me and I often find myself referring to his work when I am working on my own projects.
Do you think enough is being done within your degree in promoting and exploring ecology, sustainability and green design?
Yes, the UniSA architecture program does promote various concepts of ecologically sustainable developments through a number of set courses throughout each year of our degree structure. We are taught about the ethical roles of sustainability, cultural and climatic differences and health and wellbeing. Also, within each of our studio courses, we are strongly encouraged to integrate the ideals of green design while also considering ways of generating designs that are both environmentally positive and ecologically conscious.
As you look to the future, what is your ultimate goal? What do you want to be remembered for?
My ultimate goal is to be remembered for designing buildings that make people curious within the space they occupy and to make them feel like they are in paradise, a world away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life!
Joshua Button | @roadkillgrills
Bachelor of Journalism and Professional Writing
Interviewer: Ashleigh Buck | @ashkbuck
Why did you choose to study your degree?
I chose it [journalism and professional writing] after having several jobs that did not quite scratch the creative itch in my brain, and a careers counsellor suggested it might be a good path for me as I quite enjoy ‘stirring the pot’, so to speak. I hope to write satire, although I’m not sure which format yet.
Do you implement sustainability within your own life? What are some sustainable alternatives you use?
Sustainability to me means getting the most out of every product. Mid last year, my landlord at the time gifted me his old broken electric scooter. I managed to hack together a shoddy control unit and got it running, but the batteries kept running out as they were decrepit lead acid (think of a car battery) type battery. Realizing that the bike needed somewhat of a refresh in the battery department, I realized I could use two of my Ryobi Power tool batteries in series to make the 36v required. While this worked well… the batteries kept dying as they did not have much capacity.
What inspired you to start recycling batteries?
Most power tool batteries, laptop batteries, and even electric cars such as Tesla use lithium ion or lithium polymer batteries. Most people in the battery scene refer to these batteries as 18650’s, which refer to the dimensions…18mm wide and 650mm long, which is a bit bigger than your average double A battery.
The Tesla Model S battery pack is just 7,104 batteries arranged in a way that provides 375 volts, with a huge amount of storage for range. These batteries are great, as they can discharge quickly and be arranged in various configurations.
The main issue with these batteries is cost. Each individual battery can cost anywhere from $8-25, but when you are trying to arrange 100 of them for a decent battery pack, it is not viable. I found a Dyson vacuum repairman selling packs no longer suitable for the vacuum cleaners and managed to get around 130 of these batteries which only cost me around $50.
What project are you currently working on?
My current project is a DIY Powerwall. A Powerwall is a way to store power in the event of a blackout, or to store power from solar panels or other sustainable methods. A youtuber by the name of ‘KBPowerwall’ uses solar panels to charge his batteries, then using an inverter, powers his entire house, shed and outdoor lighting. While it’s not in use for the house or other areas of his property, he tests the battery pack by running a Bitcoin mining operation, which is powered purely by sustainable power.
Do you create anything else from recycling or are you looking to broaden your skills and try something new?
Once I have gained more experience with these batteries and associated technologies, I would really like to start putting together a DIY electric car, using a 1986 Holden VL Commodore as the basis, and recycling as many components as I can.
Recycling batteries is a great way to better the environment, do you think this could be an element of future sustainability?
One issue with these batteries is the environmental cost that is involved in creating them. Lithium mining chews through water and can cause environmental havoc if improperly mined, which has happened in Chile. Cobalt and nickel are two other metals used in the creation of these batteries, mined largely in central Africa, which is another issue due to worker exploitation in these countries. These batteries are so prevalent in modern day devices. Modems, hospital backup power circuits, power walls, laptops and most battery powered tools all use 18650 batteries in one way or another. Reusing what we have and cutting down on waste is, in my opinion, a fantastic way to help the environment.
Giorgia De Chellis | @giorgiadechellis
Bachelor of Business (Marketing)
Interviewer: Alexandra Bull | @ally_bull19
Tell me a bit about your degree and why you chose to study it?
I am studying a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) at UniSA. Choosing this degree was easy as I have always been quite creative yet analytical, and this course is the perfect combination of the two.
What has been the highlight of your degree/ career so far?
It would definitely have to be learning how important distinctive assets are in branding, and the extent to which they assist in brand memory recall. Also meeting all the incredible people, not just in marketing, but within the business school.
How do you see climate change affecting your chosen career path?
Climate change and the movement surrounding it has caused a huge increase in green consumerism, meaning consumers are more aware of products and their impact on the earth. This means that the way a marketer positions a brand, not just the product itself, but packaging and advertising measures, must consider the impact it has, which will definitely play a large role in my future career choices.
What is one sustainable rule that you would encourage students to incorporate into their lives?
One rule that I live by is to bring a reusable bottle from home, so you don’t have to buy single-use plastic bottles on campus! It is amazing how much plastic you can save by bringing your own bottle every day.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I hope that I will be working within the sporting industry, mainly being involved in the marketing and sponsorship department, as it is something I have been extremely passionate about for a long time.
What more do you think state and national governments can do to combat climate change?
I would love to eventually see local and national governments introduce grants for business and individuals to be able to use reusable sources of energy.
If you had to offer one piece of advice to first-year students studying your degree, what would it be and why?
I think the main piece of advice that I would have to offer would be seriously think about doing a combined degree, it will give you an extra edge once you have graduated. And take every opportunity that is given to you.
What is something you would love to achieve in your future career and why?
I would love to eventually travel lots for my job and see just how far my career will be able to take me.