My experience as a Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner

DXm3i6IXcAA4zxN (1)

If you don’t already know, applications to become the next Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner (Campaigns and Social Media) are now open! I would encourage anyone with an interest in sustainability or environmental related issues to apply. The internship has given me the opportunity to put my basic knowledge of topics such as Fairtrade, green behaviour and sustainability in education into practice. I now know so much more about DMU’s sustainability work than I did before I started my Frontrunner position almost six months ago. Learning about the top-class work they’ve achieved in the People and Planet League alongside the future plans to address Sustainable Development Goal #14, Life Below Water makes me even more proud to be a student here.

As a Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner, you’ll get the chance to learn more about the initiatives the university is taking towards sustaianablility and put forward your own views from a student perspective. It’s also a great opportunity to develop your social media and marketing skills as you’ll be spending plenty of time promoting events across digital platforms and talking to students during outreach events.

You’ll also get the opportunity to be involved in NUS’s annual sustainability summit. This was a real highlight for me as I got the chance to meet likeminded students with an interest in sustainability and was also an eye opener into a range of sustainability topics I hadn’t thought about before. If you enjoy writing editorial content or would like to give it a go, the role also gives you the chance to develop these skills by writing engaging web content like this!

The team are also incredibly friendly and if you ever need any help or support along your journey as a Frontrunner, they’ll be there to help and answer any questions you may have. You’ll also find a tempting supply of Fairtrade chocolate at most events – yet another great reason to apply!

Applications for the position can be made through DMU’s MyGateway. Closing date for applications is Thursday 26th April.

Advertisements

DMU students and staff support NUS Sustainable Development Goals Teach-In Week

giphy (1)

As part of the NUS Responsible Futures campaign, DMU pledged to take part in the Teach-In week from 19th – 23rd February 2018. The Teach-In week was held to emphasise the importance of and to ‘raise awareness of why the Sustainable Development Goals should be at the heart of further and higher education, and help catalyse the change to make this happen’.

NUS believe that the Teach-In is important as a means of raising awareness of the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals alongside preparing students with the knowledge, skills and attributes to tackle 21st Century challenges. NUS research has also shown that 60% of students, regardless of their discipline, want to learn more about sustainability, which the Teach-In event aims at fulfilling.

DMU have already been awarded a First Class award by the People and Planet University League for being ranked 13th out of 151 institutions for being one of the greenest Universities across the country. Despite already practicing sustainability across the campus, and an annual increase in the number of module descriptions relevant to sustainability increasing to 88, DMU pledged to participate in the NUS Teach-In week. Throughout the week, across the university, several lecturers made the NUS pledge to integrate a particular Sustainable Development Goal into one of their seminars, workshops, case studies, debates and discussions.

9 lecturers across several faculties at the university pledged to take part in the Teach-In week, ranging across faculties from Fashion, Communications and Media Production to Strategic Management and Marketing. Lecturers such as Andrew Reeves, a teacher in the faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development focused a seminar session with a group of students looking at the Sustainable Development Goal #14 ‘Life Below Water’ in which the impact of plastic waste on sea life was focused on. Other sessions throughout the week included those taught by Emma Wood, a member of the Fashion and Textiles faculty who focused a seminar on Sustainable Cities and Communities.

The Teach-In week at enabled both DMU students and staff to extend existing knowledge of the Sustainable Development Goals provided by the United Nations, yet to also gain an insight into how detrimental human waste and action can be on attaining these goals. The integration of the goals into different courses enables students and staff to realise the relevance of the SDGs across varied disciplines, and with the realisation of their prevalence, hopefully influence both staff and student to make positive changes about their lives towards attaining the goals.

 

DMU pledges to reduce use of plastics on campus in support of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

SDG

As a nation we throw away 2.5 billion disposable plastic coffee cups a year. Blue Planet II’s recent eye opening documentary showed us the devastating impact plastic and other non-degradable materials has on our wildlife and pleaded for a call to action from everyone across the world.

This call has been heard by us at DMU and plans are being developed to reduce our use of plastics on campus! In support of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, DMU announced its initiative to remove all non-recyclable plastic cups from campus and issue 26,000 free reusable cups to students and staff.

The move is part of DMU’s wider goals to ban non-recyclable plastics from campus by September 2018 and was announced at the UN by Vice Chancellor, Dominic Shellard during last week’s DMU Global trip to New York.

To help meet the inspirational target, DMU has also committed to:

  • Replacing all plastic cutlery with compostable items
  • Replacing all plastic milk cartoons from all outlets with recyclable alternatives
  • Expanding the number of free drinking water fountains on campus – both indoor and outdoor

By using a reusable cup, you’ll not only benefit from a 20p saving when purchasing any hot drink on campus – you’ll be leading the change towards a more sustainable future.

2018’s Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games have been making achievements of their own

Winter olympics sustainability

 

The 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Games are here (although you may have missed it due to the high profile talks between North and South Korea!) and I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that sustainability is on the Games’ agenda!

Part of the sustainability vision for this year’s Games is to go beyond what has been done in past Olympic and international events. To help them meet this ambitious aim, the PyeongChang Organizing Committee has established a sustainability plan for before, during and after the Games.

The event’s sustainability performance is linked to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and monitored under the following 5 categories: Low Carbon Green Olympics, Stewardship of the Nature, Good Life, Proud People with Tradition and Culture, and Globalizing PyeongChang: Opening to the world.

Whilst the Games have been giving out medals, they have received an award of their own as the first Winter Olympic Games to achieve ISO20121 certification. The certification is an internationally recognised standard to improve the sustainability of events.

The sustainability achievements of the team behind this year’s Games haven’t stopped there. So far, they have:

  • Reduced 400 thousand tonnes and offset 930 tonnes of Greenhouse Gas emissions
  • Secured enough wind power to fuel the entire length of the Games and more
  • Ensured all newly built venues meet green-building certifications. The venues consume less energy and reduce pollution rather than emit pollution than conventional builds.
  • Reduced impact on local forests and habitation by combining the Ladies and Men’s ski slopes together
  • Built new and improved existing local restaurants
  • Created 9 trekking routes to mark the Olympic’s legacy
  • Restored a landfill site to create the Gangneung Olympic Park
  • Installed a rainwater harvesting system, solar and geothermal energy generating technologies and ecological ponds
  • Had 1919 young people from countries without snow participate in the Dream Programme to experience Korean culture and winter sports
  • Provided 229 transportation vehicles with wheelchair access
  • Educated 5001 business owners and government employees on impairment and accessibility awareness
  • Had 26601 students participate in the School Visit programme on Olympic values and winter sports

Their future plans include:

  • Restoring 200% of the total forestation that has been lost to construction
  • Preserving and promoting biodiversity including the repopulation and restoration of 4 species
  • Creation of tourist centres promoting sports, culture and arts

Interested in turning your education at DMU into a force for good? Come along to the Sustainable Development Goals Teach-In workshop on Wednesday 21st February

SDG teach-in slide FINAL A4

DMU will be holding a workshop on how we can link the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into our courses. The workshop will take place in Queens 0.11 from 2pm to 3.30pm and is open to all staff and students.

In a recent NUS survey, 82% of DMU students were found to agree that sustainable development should be part of and promoted within all courses across the university. This workshop gives you a fantastic opportunity to put forward your ideas on how we do this.

The event is part of the NUS SDG Teach-in week which will run from 19th – 23rd February. The week aims to raise awareness amongst students of the 17 SDGs shown below to create a force for transforming the world for good. DMU is taking part in NUS’ pledge for UK universities and colleges to include the United Nation’s SDGs in their teaching and learning throughout the Teach-in week. However, here at DMU we want to do more and make sustainability a permanent feature on all of our courses – the workshop is just the beginning so stay tuned!

VA-SDG-Chart

The 17 SDGs were established by 193 countries in 2015. The goals have been adopted by countries to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all with a set of targets to be achieved by 2030. See the UN website for more information on each of the goals.

As well as the upcoming workshop, DMU also has an Education for Sustainable Development Forum (ESD). The forum meets on a regular basis to discuss new initiatives on incorporating sustainable development skills across the teaching curriculum. Click here to find out more about the ESD Forum and how you can get involved.

Be sure to keep Wednesday 21st February in your diary and start your journey towards transforming your education for the better!

DMU has a new indoor space to store your cycles!

VJP BikeStore

Staff and students can now make use of DMU’s brand new Cycle Store. The indoor space has two separate storage rooms, one for students and one for staff. Both rooms require secure access and are equipped with two-tier storage racks which can hold up to 68 bikes in each room. The new facility is also home to a bike pump and repair station so you can get back on your two wheels whenever you need to. Shower facilities can also be accessed nearby in the Vijay Patel building.

For all of you budding cyclists and those of you who want to get ahead on your healthy New Year resolutions, the brand new facilities offer a fantastic opportunity to take up cycling to the campus. Cycling not only helps to cut calories but also your carbon footprint if you usually rely on a car or public transport to get around.

As well as the onsite bike pump and repair station, the DMU Sustainability are also able to offer free inner tubes, puncture repair kits, high vis jackets and to all staff and students. Students can also receive a free D-lock to keep your bike secure and a loan system is in place for staff. Lights are also available for staff.

Drop us an email sustainability@dmu.ac.uk to register your access to the Cycle Store and to request any of the cycle equipment listed above. Spaces and equipment are limited and access will be provided on a first come first served basis.

DMU’s #LoveInternational Vigil: Our Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner’s contribution

Human Rights SpeechLast Thursday marked the beginning of DMU’s #LoveInternational vigil with a focus on Article 1 of the United National Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

The 24 hour long vigil saw the coming together of students, staff and human rights activists across many areas. As a student, I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to put forward my own thoughts on what human rights means to me. Watch my speech here.

I wanted to convey the importance of human rights in every corner of the world. Part of my speech touched on The Universal Declaration of Human Rights as an achievement in itself but how the ongoing conflict in parts of the Middle East and the refugee crisis makes it clear that we need to be doing more.

I also spoke about the great work DMU does to promote equality and diversity and how this was the reason I chose DMU. The ability to meet people from all over the world has shown me many different perspectives. It’s also taught me not to take for granted the rights I’ve been given just because I’ve been lucky enough to be brought up in the UK.

I really wanted to emphasise the importance of businesses and human rights. In the face of big business and their mighty global brands, we can sometimes forget that humans make the decisions behind them. Many human rights violations have been the result of businesses exploiting local communities leaving people in poverty, destitution and in some cases, the loss of life. The more these businesses promote human rights, the better our world will become.

Most importantly, I believe that human rights not only means dignity and respect towards others, it is also about respecting our natural environment. We’ve seen how the effects of climate change have displaced families and destroyed lives across the world. And so my final point, called on the joining of people to create a sustainable planet for our future generations so that they won’t have to experience such devastating disasters like we have.

Speaking at the vigil was my first go at public speaking. It certainly took me out of my comfort zone and so too did talking about human rights. I’ve never had to question my own human rights and taking time out to really think about this topic made me consider those people who have been forced to question theirs.