Last Monday 9th November, Sebastian and I headed down to Bristol for the 2nd year of the NUS Student Sustainability Summit to learn more about what our jobs working for #SustainableDMU are really about and what kind of impact we can make on the job.
We met many great individuals who have carried out or were in the process of carrying out some brilliant campaigns and others who had done some ground-breaking research or projects on environmental sustainability issues. The workshops, talks and seminars were inspiring and motivating and well worth the time it took to get there, even the getting lost and talking to disgruntled bus drivers part!
Piers Telemacque (Vice President Society Citizenship, NUS) welcomed us all to the summit along with other speakers such as Naia Lopez (Fossil Free Coordinator, People and Planet) and Sarah Redrup (Student Living Officer, Bristol Students Union) and we listened to a thought-provoking talk from artist, David Buckland (Founder and Director of Cape Farewell) about ‘Climate is Culture’.
The day was broken down into 8 main sections; arrival and registration, welcome talk, workshop 1, lunch, workshop 2 and closing talk, however those who were keen to stay through to the evening had the option to go to a banner stitching and craft session at 7pm and a film screening of ‘Do The Math’ at 8pm; but with a 6am start and a late finish on the cards, Seb and I only made it to 5pm.
Morning workshops Included:
- Enterprise for Local Food
- Health and Well-being
- Influencing Behaviours – Looking Beyond the Individual
- Migrant Rights
- What’s Your Education for? (And how can it work for a more just and sustainable future?)
Afternoon Workshops Included:
- Open Space (Open Discussion)
- COP21 and Beyond
- Creative Activism
- Divestment and Community Energy
- Green Jobs
- Solidarity Starts at Home? Sweatshops, Global Justice, Garments and Gigabytes.
Having spent some time over coffee thinking about which workshop we would choose to go to, we eventually decided that our morning would see us at the Influencing Behaviours workshop and our afternoon at the Divestment and Community energy workshop. Both morning and afternoon were an eye opener, and also a relief to see how many other people there are with green issues on their mind.
Andrew Darnton (Managing Director, AD Research and Analysis) led the Influencing Behaviours Workshop and explained some of the psychological and sociological models for behaviours such as the ISM model (Individual, Social and Material) which you can see in the picture below and using this model, in groups, we created our own based on ‘reducing the use of cars on campus’.
In the afternoon we met other university students who had carried out divestment campaigns, such as a ‘#Divestival’ or a ‘#Die In’ and spoke to Robert van Maaren from ‘Solar Soas’ about his campaign for funding from his university to invest in solar panels.
We also came across two individuals from the University of Leicester, currently in the midst of their own campaign for divestment who joined us later for a drink and a chat about some light topics like veganism, fossil fuels, divestment and Cowspiracy…
The day gave us both a lot of motivation to work towards goals in our Green Impact and Green Behaviour Change internships, having seen the process others have gone through to carry out their projects and by also seeing their successes in doing these. The community and speakers that were involved at the summit taught us to have a little faith and a lot of patience and hard work will pay off, but also that we aren’t alone in our efforts to make green change happen…
Rebecca Mason, Arts and Festivals Management student
Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner