Staff Spotlight on... Rachel Wooding

I’ve been working for the University almost two years but I’ve only been the Hospitality Supervisor for The Patch for the last three months or so. I fell in love with it as soon as I walked into this place.

What would you most like to achieve while at the University?
I’m a big foodie so I’d like to inspire some new vegan and vegetarian recipes. I love the challenge of getting meat eaters to eat more vegetarian food and want to show how you don’t need meat to make a meal.

What piece of advice would you like to give to a student?
Although you’ve got the next three years ahead of you to study, don’t forget to enjoy the now, and be present. Make time for yourself to do yoga or go running, whatever you need to do to switch off.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A firefighter, because when I was very young we had a house fire: while we waited for the fire brigade my Dad covered us in blankets and took us outside one by one and laid us in a row. As a child, it made me think about how amazing it is to be able to save lives.

What’s the one thing you know now that you wish you’d known when you were younger?
Turning 30 was the best thing that happened to me. I would tell my younger self that what people think of you doesn’t define you and that you should embrace who you are, with all your quirks. For me that realisation was a huge turning point.

If you could start your own dream business, what would it be?

As well as working at the university I actually run my own business. I’m trained in sportswear design and I’ve just made a sled bag for the Gold medalist Winter Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold, which will go with her to this year’s Winter Olympics, she is heading to Pyeongchang as we speak!

What’s your favourite book or album and why?
If I had to pick one favourite album it would have to be Mezzanine by Massive Attack. I’m going to see them in June when they play at the Eden Project in Cornwall. I first heard them about 15 years ago and they absolutely blew my mind.

When are you happiest?
When I am out in the elements doing what I love doing - either on top of a mountain or out surfing. I even love getting rumbled by a wave because you come out of it gasping for air but you feel so alive. It’s such an exhilarating feeling.

If you could meet anyone in the world dead or alive who would it be and why?
Probably Freddie Mercury, not that I especially love Queen but I’m just so intrigued by his character.

What one superpower would you like to possess?
Maybe time travel. I’m in environmental warrior mode at the moment and at The Patch we’re trying to combat our waste issues, especially single-use plastic. I would like to go back and tell people “Plastic is amazing but let’s get some controls in place so we don’t use so much of it”.

Tell us your favourite joke.
Why do fungi have to pay double the bus fare?
Because they take up too mushroom!

If you know of a colleague who’d like to raise the profile of their work or has an unexpected hobby, email with the subject ‘Staff Spotlight recommendation’.

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