Last 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.
DMU has been ranked #13 by People and Planet for their environmental and ethical performance and this makes me proud to be a DMU student.
People and Planet score every University in the UK on their environmental and ethical performance. These results are compared in an annual league table. This year, we scored a total of 64.5% based on 13 performance indicators ranging from Environmental Policy to Sustainable Food. DMU’s work is truly sustainable as we’ve managed to stay in the First Class category for the 6th year running.
Here’s a snapshot on how we’ve done it:
We’ve done exceptionally well in our Environmental Policy, Education, Carbon Management and Auditing & EMS. However, our weaknesses lie in our Energy Sources, Workers’ Rights, Sustainable Food and Engagement – we need to be doing more to achieve 100% in all 13 areas.
Our poor performance in areas like Workers’ Rights, Sustainable Food, Engagement and Ethical Investment shows that DMU needs to be addressing the social aspects of sustainability which can sometimes be forgotten about.
As People and Planet’s aim is to drive environmental and ethical performance in universities they provide a number of helpful tips to help universities build on the great work already being done.
Who knows, if DMU takes up some of People and Planet’s suggestions we could become the leaders in next year’s table.
As part of my Frontrunner internship at DMU’s Estates and Development Team I had the pleasure of attending NUS’ annual Student Sustainability Summit last week. The conference is aimed at equipping students with ideas to help promote sustainability at their university and ensure it remains at the top of the agenda. As long as you’re a student – you’re invited so keep a look out for next years!
It was great to be surrounded by so many likeminded people and I really enjoyed the range of workshops on offer, especially the fact that I could choose which ones interested me the most.
My day began with an insight on how to run an effective campaign where I learned about campaign successes at other universities and ended with a call from Electronics Watch for action from universities to ensure any electronics purchased are not made in poor working environments.
All of the workshops inspired me to think about what I can do to improve sustainability at DMU but the most engaging of them all was the midday workshop on Climate Change, the Refugee Crisis and Ice Cream. I had no idea that the on-going Refugee Crisis could be linked to Climate Change and of the great work Ben and Jerry’s is doing to bring the issue to the attention of governments. Who would have thought that every purchase of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream contributes towards the fulfilment of their social activist work?!
Overall I came away with some new friends, a stomach full of delicious vegan lunch and a free Ben and Jerry’s ice cream but more importantly with lots of ideas on how we at DMU can continue the great work we’re doing in sustainability!
Thank you NUS for a great day!
Last week, we were joined by youngsters from the Gandhi Ashram children’s home in Ahmedabad, India. The Gandhi Ashram is home to 120 children and DMU Square Mile India is working to help keep the children safe, fed, clothed and educated. DMU Square Mile India regularly send DMU staff and students out to Ahmedabad in India to support their mission and arrange for some of the children to visit the UK giving them the opportunity to explore the university and a new culture.
In keeping with our sustainable ethos we showed our guests how to make their very own DIY recycled bags and wallets. We all had lots of fun and of course we wouldn’t want you to miss out so here’s a step by step guide on how you can make your very own:
Responsible Futures is an accreditation mark developed by the NUS for university’s and further education institutions. The accreditation is dedicated towards helping students become global citizens by equipping them with the skills and attributes to help them meet the challenges of the future. One method of achieving this goal is by embedding sustainability into the whole curriculum. So you might find that as well as the Energy Engineering course, your Nursing Degree will have an element of sustainability to it.
Yesterday saw the blossoming of this new relationship between NUS’ Responsible Futures, DMU and DMU Students Union. DMU’s Education for Sustainable Development forum and Students Union met up with NUS’ lead on Responsible Futures to learn more about how other institutions and student unions have approached the initiative and to start thinking about DMU’s own journey towards achieving accreditation. Responsible Futures will be on hand to guide DMU and our Students Union and what’s more, the final audit towards accreditation will be conducted by a trained group of DMU’s very own students!
Sustainability is becoming an increasingly prominent issue across the globe and the idea of embedding it into DMU’s curriculum can help shape the decisions of future DMU graduates into sustainable decisions whether that be in your personal or professional lives (or both!).
DMU is already doing lots of great work towards promoting sustainability and as a fellow student, I think it’s a great initiative to help streamline all of the many projects going on across the university and make it easier for students to find out more and get involved. Who knows, Responsible Futures may even spark up a new interest in you.
Hello I’m Shanics, the latest Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner to join the Estates’ sustainability team here at DMU. I’m taking over from Alex so I’ll try my best to fill her shoes and keep the blog posts as exciting and engaging as she has!
I’ll be supporting the social media channels on some of the projects the team work on to encourage students and staff to be mindful of and make sustainable decisions in their every-day lives.
Becoming a Frontrunner is a great way to gain hands on experience in a variety of roles within DMU. I’m currently studying Corporate Social Sustainability and International Business so you’ve probably gathered that I’m interested in all things sustainable but my passion lies in ethical trading. Being a Frontrunner in the Estates’ sustainability team means that I get to learn more about how DMU tackles its sustainability goals. I’m mostly looking forward to engaging with you all and helping out at the annual Fairtrade Fortnight (which hopefully means lots of Fairtrade chocolate!).
We have lots going on around DMU from NUS Student Switch Off to Fairtrade Fortnight. So watch this space and keep an eye on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for more information on how you too can get involved!
If you didn’t already know I’m Alex and I’ve been managing the sustainableDMU social media accounts since October and today is my last day!
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time in the office and have learned so much about environment and sustainability. I’ve helped with the promoting of Fairtrade Fortnight 2017 & Earth Week 2017!
More info: Fairtrade Fortnight 2017 Storify Feed & Earth Week 2017 Storify Feed
I got the chance to attend the NUS Student Sustainability Summit 2016 at Newcastle University Student’s Union and learnt about divestment and how we can encourage our universities to be more sustainable.
Attending the NUS student Sustainability Conference
Art Student, Helen Gunn’s environmental artwork.
Interviewing BBC Sustainability Manager, Richard Smith for #DMUearthweek.
The Estates Development Building
I’ve hugged some trees, interviewed a BBC Sustainability Manager, eaten a lot of Fairtrade chocolate, shared some gifs of really cute animals, created some polls on Twitter about bees, learned a lot about bats, watched pigeons out of the office window, stopped drinking bottled water, filmed some time lapses in the rain, learned that Karl Letten has terrible taste in films and comedy TV shows, turned off some lights, learned that we use rainwater in the Hugh Aston toilets, watched a few documentaries, tried to stop eating strawberries that have travelled all the way from Peru, written some articles for The Demon Online and made some friends.
Thank you all for having me, it’s been great!
If you’re interested in applying to be the next Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner, APPLY HERE through mygateway.