My experience as a student at EAUC 2015

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Last Wednesday my day starts at 4.45am, yes, around five in the morning. The plan was to take the train from Leicester to Leeds at 6.15. Why?! Well, it was for a right cause, as a Frontrunner I had the chance to join the Environmenta Association of University & Colleges (EAUC) Annual Conference with the university’s Environmental & Sustainability Officer, Karl Letten. The train took me to my destination, from the station I walked through the beautigul city centre towards the University of Leeds. Here, after a brief registration, I got the delegate badge. Having a badge with your name, always make you feel important! By the way, it was time to start. But first of all, me and Karl indulged in a cup of Fairtrade coffe and tea, and cake of course.

The daily programme was quite busy. The day was full of short exchange sessions and longer workshop sessions, so you had the choice to attend the ones you prefer. We chose “Linking activity in Europe”, which gave me few ideas about enhancing the partnerships of the DMU sustainability office with other University in Europe. Then, we assisted to the workshop “Selling sustainability to students”, where a Professor from Nottingham University explained how she created a successful ‘online sustainability course’ for both staff and students.

At this point it was already time for luch. Everything in the amazing buffet was a Gold Accreditated Menu, which met the Soil Association “Food for Life” Gold standard. This means that the food was as sustainable and organic as possible. It goes without saying, it was unbelievably delicious. During the fabulous lunch, I went to the “Love Food Hate Waste” exchange, where it was outlined how prevent wasting food is good for the environment, as well as for our budget. It follows the “Electronics Watch” exchange about the value in responsible procurement. Afterward, a french business professor talked about the development of a certificate to ensure a sustainability literacy among graduates arounde the globe.

The next big workshop was held by the sustainability manager ofUniversity of Leeds, which explained their sustainability strategy, where key points are the collaboration with the community and the involvement of students, that can become ‘Architects of possibility’. Should I mention again that at this point we got more cake, more Fairtrade teas, more Fairtrade bananas and organic apples? Well, it happened. We took also a tour within the stands at the exhibition hall. There were stalls promoting funny penguin-shaped bins for recycling, “Snakes and Ladders” game with eco-friendly behaviour rules and me and Karl competed in a game, whose aim was guessing which product have the bigger carbon footprint. The game was based on a book by Mike Berners-Lee called ‘How bad are bananas?’. It was a draw. We discovered that carbon footprint of a kilo of tomatoes is bigger than the one of a pair of jeans. For each correct answer, we got mini Fairtrade milk chocolates.

Last workshop regarded embedding student initiatives into University structures. Two girls from the Glasgow University spoke about GUEST, the Glasgow University Environmental Sustainability Team, where an enthusiastic team were working to catalyse improvements to the environmental practice of the university.

The day was full of inspiring ideas and it gave me an understanding of how many possibilities and ways there are to face the issue for a sustainable university.

 

Useful Website:

http://www.eauc.org.uk

http://www.sacert.org/catering

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/sustainability-society-and-you

http://www.sulite.org/en/substainability

http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com

 

Fedora Agosti (Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner)

 

How do you go to DMU?

Last week our Transport Coordinator, Ian Murdey, launched the Student Travel Survey. It is a very straightforward survey: it is online and it takes few minutes to be completed. Well, I have already done it, but I am still curious about its importance. So, I simply asked Ian if it is necessary that students take it.

He replied that the Travel Survey serves a number of useful purposes. First of all, it forms a part of the Travel Plan monitoring, which is a mandatory requirement for receiving planning permission from the City Council for Campus developments. Also the results are used to help with the calculations of our Scope 3 emissions (see the previous post!). Moreover, it’s a good way of getting an idea of which initiatives are getting used and which aren’t to improve his work for students and staff. Finally, it helps promoting some of the schemes to people who otherwise would not hear about them.

To help you discovered more about the different ways to reach DMU, I have made a little research indeed in our office. I have asked everyone in the sustainability office how they come to work and what do they do to make the journey the most enjoyable.

Ian, the Transport Coordinator, usually rides his bike to reach the DMU. He listens to music and he gets changed in work clothes as soon as he gets in the office. Cycling could be a very enjoyable way of transport. The cost is limited to the bike maintenance and it gives the opportunity to practice sport without any special commitment.

Karl, the Environmental & Sustainability Officer, said that he cycles from his house to the train station at Loughborough, here he catches the train to Leicester and then he walks from the train station to DMU. During his journey he reads the newspaper on the train and then he listens to music on the walk to the office. Travelling for Karl involves three different ways of transport, but in terms of cost and carbon emission driving could be more expensive and polluting and also it takes all of your attention on the way from and back home.

Paul, the Energy Manager, walks to the office every day. He keeps it simple, he doesn’t waste energy! He added that if he was travelling by train, as he used to, he would read, listen to music and watch the world out of the window.

Carl, who works with Paul, travels to work via train and then he walks to the office, while he is in the train he usually reads books and chats to the people that he has met who are doing the same journey. Between the lines, Carle highlights a truly important point about journey in train, that it is still possible to socialize with other commuters and maybe share the experience of own working day.

Joseph, the Green Impact Frontrunner, lives near the Campus so he walks from his house which is like five minutes away from work. He enjoys listening to music on my way in the morning and sometimes he walk with a friend that he thinks is fun as well.

Last one, there is me. I live in New Warf Hall, so I simply walk to DMU Campus for less than five minutes and I arrive at Hugh Aston Building, where the most of my classes are. Generally, I listen to music while I walk, but sometimes I like enjoying what surrounds me, like passing the bridge over the Soar or observing other people walking. Sometimes I run to the Campus, but just when I am really late!

Now that you are aware, please take the survey on the following link!

https://www.snapsurveys.com/wh/s.asp?k=142487124570

 

Ian

Ian with his bike

 

Useful Website:

Train:

http://www.thetrainline.com/

http://www.eastmidlandstrains.co.uk/

http://www.crosscountrytrains.co.uk/

 

Coach:

http://www.nationalexpress.com/

 

Car sharing:

https://leicestershare.liftshare.com/Default.asp?uxi=&cr=check#

 

For other detailed information about DMU Transport:

http://www.dmu.ac.uk/about-dmu/dmu-estate/dmu-transport/dmu-transport.aspx

 

(Fedora Agosti, Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner)

 

 

 

A week full of inspiring talks and meetings.

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This week has been a great week. Let’s go through some of the amazing events which happened over the last few days.

On Monday we had a lunch talk about ‘Carbon Management’ at DMU, held by the Environmental and Sustainability Officer, Karl Letten, where it was explained how DMU is working to reduce the totality of its carbon footprint. It involves three different areas or scopes of emissions reduction to achieve by 2020. Scope 1 and 2 involves reducing the overall energy consumption and the use of DMU owned vehicles, while scope 3 involves reducing the emissions from waste, business travels, staff and student commute, international student travels and UK based student travels as well as emissions from our procurement related activities. As you may assume, scope 3 is the hardest to meet, because it could only be influenced by promoting eco-friendly behaviour. You can find our more on our website http://www.dmu.ac.uk/about-dmu/dmu-estate/environmental/carbon-management.aspx

On Tuesday, there was a lunch talk by Professor Subhes Battacharyya, who explained, with slides and a short footage, his work in India to install renewable energy mini-grid systems using photovoltaic panels for some rural areas, where DMU is a leading partner. Also, he invited to join him for the final dissemination of a new Off-grid Project in South Asia, which will take place at DMU on 26th March. You can find out more about this exciting project here:- http://www.dmu.ac.uk/research/research-faculties-and-institutes/institute-of-energy-and-sustainable-development/research-projects/oasys/index.aspx

On Wednesday, Keren Long came to speak about Fairtrade. She critically analysed the world of fair trading, outlining the benefits and the criticism as well. One major point was how Fairtrade system should improve in certifying the supply chain as well as the rest of the production system of a good. Her practical experience gave the audience a real taste of ethical business and promotion of ethical standards in fashion.

Also on Wednesday, the Green Impact Excellence Project was launched in a meeting with DMU staff and volunteer students were involved. The project will see the team working on planting activities to boost biodiversity across the Campus. Furthermore the vases would be made from recycled plastic, which comes from DMU activities and waste and have been recycled.

On Thursday, Neil Harrison talked about the Campus transformation with the developing of the new Fletcher Building. He explained the promotion of energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy to reduce carbon emissions from the new buildings

The Climate+ positive talk week has been a success and the sustainability team is proud to promote awareness across DMU.

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Fedora Agosti (Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner)