We caught up with Ellen to find out more about her leadership journey, and why putting yourself forward for this year's leadership race is a must.
Ellen Donald is President of the Climate Action Society, working with a community of changemakers to influence sustainability across UCL and beyond.
What influenced you to put yourself forward to become a leader?
I was inspired by the previous president of my society. She did an incredible job and I really wanted to emulate that and try and make my society even better and change things for students and also trying to change things at the university. Working with people on my committee and working with everyone in my society just to make everything better.
Do you see yourself as a leader?
Now, I do kind of see myself as a leader. I think it is a sort of pressure on me, but also it's something that's really, really rewarding because it means that I can give back to my society and I can take my vision for what I want the society to be. I'd say I see myself as a leader in some respects, but in other respects it always feels like a team effort and it feels like, especially with climate action, something that can only come when we work together as a community.
What matters is that you put yourself out there, and you have a go"
What impact have you made in your time as President?
Being president of the society has given me an opportunity to see progress in the campaigns that we're doing, to see progress in attitudes of students, and see progress in how climate is discussed on campus. And I think it's really rewarding and really encouraging to see that happening, even though it might be slow or like steady progress.
It will make your time at UCL way better and more fun aswell"
How would your younger self react if they could see you now?
I think even my younger self knew that I was president. I think they would be surprised, maybe even shocked. But I also think that you never really know where life's going to take you. I never saw myself doing climate action until like the last year or so. So really, I would encourage people to take whatever path that you're most interested in when you come to UCL, and there's so many leadership positions you can fill.
Is there any advice you can give to people thinking about putting themselves forward?
What matters is that you put yourself out there, and you have a go. And yeah, you just try your best and try for the position that you want to try for. And if you succeed, then great. And if you don't, then that's okay. You can try for another one next year. But it doesn't really matter as long as you're putting yourself down for the things that you're interested in and taking all the opportunities that you can get. That will be what makes you the leader you want to be.
Finally, why should you put yourself forward for the leadership race?
If you're not sure about whether you want to put yourself for the Leadership Race, you should do it because it gives you so many opportunities. If you get a position, it can enrich you with so many skills, it's a new experience, a great way to meet new people, and you get to make your visions come to life. No doubt, it makes your time at UCL way better and more fun as well.