Green Impact spreads across Leicester with De Montfort University

This year, Leicester is home to three growing Green Impact programmes, both on and off campus, and has got the academic year off to a flying start by hosting a massive training event for students to build skills and experience right across the city.

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De Montfort University (DMU) has been running Green Impact for the past 4 years, and this year is launching its Excellence programme for Gold winning team. This hopes to link enthused and committed teams of staff up within their other sustainability initiatives across the university, as well as inspire other teams as to what they can achieve.

And they are now proving to be a veritable epicentre of Green Impact activity across the city!

Loros (Leicestershire and Rutland Hospice), came on board with a pilot of Green Impact in their main hospice building and charity shop warehouse last year. Following a private consultancy in 2011, they knew that in order to reduce their overheads to increase funds available for vital patient care and comfort, and to decrease the negative environmental impact, they needed to engage their own staff in a behaviour change campaign. They approached the university, and a partnership was born.

The business school was setting up its first cohort of business student placements in community organisations ‘Business Works’, and Loros fitted in perfectly. We created a workbook bespoke to this very unique setting, and by Christmas last year we have 10 students leading the programme in the hospice, supporting teams and coordinating their efforts across the organisation. Engaging 5 teams in the project in its first year, the skills and experience the students gained and the momentum that has started to build at Loros have been really influential.

And for Leicestershire County Council, 2013 sees them running their own Green Impact programme for the first time, becoming one of our four local authorities taking part across the UK. They have worked tirelessly this year to get the project embedded across the whole council, resulting in 24 teams submitting workbooks in August and September, from teams based in County Hall at Glenfield to local community libraries and teams based in other areas of the county.

And so, last week saw an exciting event, the size of which we haven’t seen previously in the history of DMU’s Green Impact journey. Gathering students from across the campus, we trained 46 students to become Green Impact Project Assistants for the University, to help us lead Green Impact at Loros through the Business Works placement scheme, and to sign up to be the first student environmental auditors for Leicestershire County Council.

The DMU programme launched last week so we are now partnering up Project Assistants with their staff teams and getting them started as new teams themselves.

Loros is launching their programme on the 31st, with the Business Works placement students coming to the Hospice for the first time to help them to get started and build their team numbers from last year’s 5 and to really establish the programme into the heart of the organisation.

And Leicestershire County Council was be visited by 16 keen students on the 5th November, who spent a morning attending our IEMA approved training workshop and an afternoon conducting practical audits across the council – a brilliant experience for students to see first-hand how such a large organisation is trying to reduce its negative environmental impacts.

Karl Letten, Environmental & Sustainability Officer at DMU, says “this year is particularly exciting with opportunities for students to be environmental auditors at Leicestershire County Council as well as auditing teams at DMU. The university’s community focus is also supported with Green Impact by the work of our Business Works program whereby our Business and Law students are supporting local charity LOROS to implement Green Impact. This year is shaping up to be the best Green Impact year yet at DMU!”

If you would like to know more about Green Impact contact Jo Kemp, Green Impact Programme Manager, jo.kemp@nus.org.uk

Blog post written by: Jo Kemp, Green Impact Programme Manager, National Union of Students

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