This week we meet Alex Page, Donor Relations Officer within the Office of the Vice-Provost (Advancement). Here, Alex - who leads the OVPA Green Impact Team - talks to us about his latest project sending Jeremy Beartham around the world.
What is your role and what does it involve?
I’m a Donor Relations Officer within the Office of the Vice-Provost (Advancement) (OVPA), which means I’m one of a team responsible for ensuring donors to the University are properly looked after.
I love my role - it involves all kinds of interesting work from writing reports and proposals to funders interested in making a significant philanthropic investment in research at UCL to working with scholarship recipients and academics to convey the impact such support can have to a wide audience. It’s really quite non-stop!
How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?
I’ve been at UCL since August 2016, when I joined OVPA as a CASE Graduate Trainee - it was in this role I discovered my passion for stewardship. Before this I studied history at the University of Kent, which I really enjoyed.
What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
I’ve been delighted to lead the OVPA Green Impact Team since September 2018, and I’m most proud of the work I’ve done engaging other Departments and Faculties, both within Bidborough House (where we’re based) and by acting as a project ambassador for teams who are just starting out, recommending some fun and engaging programmes that can be run throughout the year.
This has lead to some really great collaboration within Bidborough House; together we’ve held sustainable bake-offs, walk to the office days and taken part in FBA’s annual plant growing competition.
Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list
We’re currently sending our office mascot, Jeremy Beartham, around the world via most countries. He’s out there investigating the impact of climate change across the globe and reporting back on innovative initiatives countries and individuals are adopting to combat the climate emergency. As well as encouraging people to walk more, we hope this project will raise awareness and drive to take individual actions in an engaging and fun way - so far we’ve done over 9,000,000 steps!
Jeremy has an Instagram Page and a blog (soon to have his first chapters), and everyone is welcome to take part - if you’d like to get involved in helping Jeremy reach his goal, please get in touch.
What is your favourite album, film and novel?
My favourite album is either Popular Problems or Live in London by Leonard Cohen, who (in my humble opinion), is the greatest wordsmith ever to have lived.
I’d love to say something profound for the film, but I would probably go with the Guy Ritchie crime comedy Snatch! The character Brick Top (masterfully portrayed by the woefully underrated Alan Ford) makes every scene he’s in a pleasure to watch.
Favourite novel is a really tough question! I’m a very avid reader. The Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett played a big role in sparking my love of reading, but I couldn’t choose one above the others.
What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?
I bought a dog from the local blacksmith - as soon as I got home, he made a bolt for the door.
Who would be your dream dinner guests?
Leonard Cohen, Jo Brand and Sherlock Holmes. I’d really enjoy listening to the philosophical conversation would come out of that meeting of minds.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Always check out a landlord properly before signing a contract, or you’ll end up sharing a flat with a large rat, rented from an invisible landlord who communicates solely through a man who looks and sounds like Phil Mitchell.
What would it surprise people to know about you?
When I was nine, I came very close to being adopted by an orang-utan called Edita in Sumatra who thought (due to bright my bright ginger hair and orange backpack) that I was a lost baby.
What is your favourite place?
County Kerry, Ireland. I’ve been walking, hiking and climbing there since I was little and I’ve yet to discover a more beautiful landscape.