Candidate for the position of Sustainability Officer

Image for Paja Barillova

Paja Barillova


Hi there! I'm Pája, a Psychology and English student at ATU. Sustainability has been my passion since secondary school. That's why my vision for our university is to prioritize sustainability and innovation, with students leading the way towards positive environmental change. My goal is to make sustainability easy and enjoyable for everyone and to inspire others to care about the environment too. And who knows, maybe one day we'll even become an inspiration for other universities to follow suit!



While having original copies of books in a library is crucial, I believe that taking things to the next level is the way to go. Imagine having a library equipped with several electronic readers connected to online e-book databases, available for students to borrow at their convenience! The following points illustrate why this could be a beneficial decision to take.

  1. To avoid the need for the school to order multiple copies of a specific publication but get by with just one. By reducing the demand for printed books, we can encourage smaller print runs of paper books and redirect resources to a primarily digital environment, which saves materials used in book production that significantly contribute to environmental pollution. This not only includes reducing paper and water waste but also lessening the carbon footprint generated during book production and distribution.
  2. Another benefit is that it would enable every student to have access to the publication, which can be challenging when there are not enough copies available for all students who need to read it. By doing so, students would not have to reserve or wait for books or buy them from bookstores, reducing the overall use of natural resources.
  3. Thirdly, students would be able to access up-to-date information and avoid using outdated sources, which can be inaccurate and misinformed at times.
  4. To provide students with immediate access to newly published books and articles without the need to wait for the library to order them.

Further, I find it more than appropriate for the library to buy back books that students previously purchased but no longer use and include them in their collections.

The following points highlight the reasons why it is essential from an environmental protection perspective.

  • The factories that produce paper for books are harmful to the environment because they emit CO2, nitrogen oxide, and carbon monoxide into the atmosphere, leading to global warming, fog, acid rain, and respiratory ailments.
  • E-books require only one-third of the raw materials and one-seventh of the water used in the production of printed books.
  • Using chlorine to whiten paper for book production results in the creation of dioxin, a highly persistent carcinogenic compound.




As students and young adults, it's our responsibility to think creatively and seek new ideas to impact the environment for future generations positively. Although many of us care about the future of our planet, we may not be fully aware of the impact of our behaviour on the environment or ways to reduce negative effects. That's why Green Week, a university-wide environmental education initiative, will provide the knowledge and motivation to make positive changes.

Green Week should have a slightly different form every year, but the main activities that you can expect are:

Upcycling workshops where you can modify your clothing

• Lectures from experts in the field

• The market for local and homemade products

• Film screenings

• Clothes swaps

Zero waste workshops

• Making decorated cloth bags



It's wasteful to throw single-use vapes in the regular trash when they can be recycled. So, I want to get vape-specific bins on campus and educate people on how to recycle them and why it matters.



Students could benefit from having access to a map that shows the locations of sustainability-focused, fair-trade, and organic shops, supermarkets, and restaurants in Sligo and the surrounding areas. This would assist them in recognizing companies that prioritize environmental responsibility.