Nicola Baker

Nicola Baker

Nicola Baker is Contracts Accommodation Manager on the Streatham Campus. She has gone out of her way to enhance sustainability across the University and her enthusiasm for the subject is infectious. Nicola’s love of green spaces is evident across her professional and personal life and can be seen in many ways – from an impressive string of environmental awards and accolades to her cheerful promotion of the University lunchtime walks.

Nicola has been at Exeter since 1980, starting as a Hall Manager where she was devoted to ensuring all students had the best possible experience. Her proudest professional achievement to date, involved leading the South West region in a national pilot project of eight universities which diverted unwanted student goods from landfill. Nicola explained: “This became a ground breaking recycling scheme – the Student Reuse Project. At the National Recycling Awards 2008, the project won The Valpak Waste Minimisation Project of the Year. It was the only higher education institution project to be shortlisted at the awards ceremony, which was judged by a panel of industry experts. The project at Exeter has grown year on year since 2008, and last year teamed up with the British Heart Foundation.”

Nicola draws joint inspiration from her mother and grandmother, who brought her up to value family and community life and to enjoy and understand nature and the countryside. She added: “Through them I learned that material goods are not a priority, it is only what you really need to live, not what you might ‘want.’”

Reflecting on International Women’s Day and its themes, Nicola said: “There are still women and girls of all nationalities who are not able to exercise their choice to receive an education, earn a wage, participate in politics or live in a society that is free from violence and discrimination. In our own way we can each do something that can have an impact.”

She is a firm believer in staying positive and smiling, whatever happens in your life: “It may not always be easy, but a smile and a few friendly words really can change another person’s day. By being caring and supportive, this can lead them to be positive and achieve great things.”