An interview with the Impact Manager of The Student Hotel: Amber Westerborg
The Student Hotel offers accommodation for students, hotel guests, co-workers and anyone in the neighbourhood interested in stopping by for a cup of coffee. They focus on making their hotels as sustainable as possible. Waste management is one of the key pillars of their sustainability strategy. That’s where vanPlestik and TSH found common ground to work on.
For their latest hotel in Delft, TSH’s Amber Westerborg and vanPlestik worked closely together on a new sustainability project. We sat down for an interview with her to find out what TSH does to operate in a sustainable manner.
“TSH invites students to stay with us, to be inspired, to find their purpose and to go out and change the world for the better”
With every new hotel The Student Hotel opens, they aim to raise their sustainability-bar even higher. The older hotels are also a part of this transition, and are constantly changing in order to become as sustainable as possible.
No pain, no gain
Working on sustainability for 14 hotels in six different countries (and 15 more hotels on the way!), it can be difficult to maintain uniformity. Luckily, Amber has quite a pragmatic approach to implementing sustainability-related projects. If something turns out to work in one hotel, it will be applied to the new ones as well, and vice-versa. If an experiment in a new hotel proves to work, it is applied in already existing hotels. This way, they are able to learn fast and create a balance between all hotels.
Behaviour is key
It is of great concern to Amber to not only create these sustainable systems, but to also engage TSH’s students and guests to make them work. She states that it’s not always easy to change people’s mindsets. By teaching them about waste and plastic for example, Amber hopes that the students will take something with them and leave with a changed point of view towards sustainability.
“Ideally, we use our hotels as an educational journey, not in a disciplined manner, but in a fun, interactive and creative manner.“
Conscious decisions lead to a groundbreaking floor!
TSH is currently working on opening a new location in Delft where they take their commitment to sustainability to another level. Amber describes this hotel as being their testing ground for circularity. She explains that the complete ground floor of the hotel was built according to circular design principles. Everything, from the windows down to the floor, is made out of sustainable materials. Examples include black steel that hasn’t been powdercoated, curtains made from recycled textiles, and a countertop made from recycled plastic bottle caps.
As we write this, our team is creating a unique product for the entrance of the hotel. We were able to replace single-use decorations with a long-lasting circular solution. The unveiling of TSH Delft and our special product will be in September. Stay tuned!