Making a Greener Impact at DMU

This week is our Green Impact Awards Ceremony and for me it’s always one of the highlights of my year. I love it so much because it’s a great opportunity to celebrate real sustainability in action and real change at De Montfort University (DMU).
For those that don’t know, Green Impact is a project led by the NUS which has been running at DMU for the past 4 years. Through the project, teams of staff compete to see who can be the greenest by completing a series of environmental actions contained in an online workbook. Each of the actions in the workbook has allocated points and depending on the number of actions completed and points scored teams are awarded Bronze, Bronze+, Silver or Gold awards.
But Green Impact is so much more than just a staff environmental behaviour change project, which in itself would be pretty awesome. Perhaps Green Impact’s greatest contribution to the sustainability agenda is what it delivers in terms of the student experience, student employability and skills development. Let me explain further:
The participating Green Impact teams complete as many of the online actions as possible and submit their workbook. While the teams are creating greener workspaces through their activities we are recruiting a team of keen and enthusiastic DMU students to train as environmental auditors.
The volunteer auditors receive some top quality auditor training via the NUS on how to conduct environmental audits, what to look for and what evidence the Green Impact teams should be providing. The auditors then audit each of the Green Impact teams to ensure that the environmental actions have been completed to the required standard. The students provide feedback to the teams about how well they have done or if further actions are needed. This information forms the basis for the awards ceremony that takes place this week.
So not only do our student auditors get quality training on conducting environmental audits they also get firsthand experience of how to actually conduct an audit. And judging from the feedback I’ve received they really conduct an audit!
But perhaps more powerful than the skills and the training is the first hand experience of how staff at DMU are working to make the university a greener place. A clear demonstration that the activities of teams is not in any way green-wash; but that there is real dedication and a clear willingness to make DMU a more sustainable organisation. So evident is this dedication amongst the teams that auditors returning after the audits are really rooting for the teams and really want them to reach the award level they aspire to.
For me Green Impact offers so much to the sustainability agenda and this is why I enjoy the awards ceremony so much. This year will be even more special as so many of the student environmental auditors will be joining the Green Impact teams at the award ceremony to celebrate their successes.
And the future for Green Impact is looking good in Leicester and Leicestershire. Both universities in Leicester are taking part in Green Impact; students from the Faculty of Business & Law are working with LOROS through our BusinessWorks programme to deliver Green Impact; and Leicestershire County Council is also taking part in the project this year.
Green Impact offers so much to staff, student and participating organisations all while delivering environmental behaviour change. In short the project is an excellent way of delivering a greener impact at DMU.
Karl Letten
Environmental & Sustainability Officer

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