The Results of This Year’s Green Impact at DMU

This year, our Green Impact scheme at DMU has been outstanding! And like each year before, Sustainable DMU enjoys celebrating the accomplishments of staff and students who have been involved, by hosting an awards Ceremony for those involved. Please follow the link to find out more information about the scheme.  http://sustainability.nus.org.uk/green-impact

The ceremony is an opportunity to recognise the accomplishments of both staff members and students who have participated in the Green Impact project. This year the teams have completed 700 environmental actions including actions on waste reduction, recycling, saving energy reducing carbon emissions and engaging with other staff members in their directorate and faculty. Nearly 5000 actions have been completed over the course of the 7 years that De Montfort University have been involved in the scheme.

The NUS Green Impact scheme allows staff and students to use an online workbook, which has a range of environmental actions which combined will significantly help to reduce carbon footprints on campus; these range from fairly easy actions, to much larger and slightly more difficult actions. Those who have been involved with the scheme for a number of years will be able to progress towards a higher level of achievement, having completed the other easier tasks in previous years, whilst those who have just joined will complete easier actions.

The scheme helps to break down boundaries and to build staff and student relations as staff notably appreciates the input that the students have had in aiding with their progress. It also offers students the opportunity to build their personal portfolios, with an Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) accredited environmental auditing scheme, whilst staff are able to prove that they can actively adapt to change and are contributing to a more sustainable future at DMU.

On the day the ceremony was hosted by Environmental and Sustainability Officer Karl Letten, Green Impact Frontrunner Sebastian Schellerer and Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner Rebecca Mason in the Trinity Chapel. The room was packed full of excited guests ready to receive a well-deserved award handed over by guest, Professor Paul Fleming from the Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD) in the Faculty of Technology.

The ceremony began at 12pm and ran until 1pm beginning with a short discussion from Karl Letten about the Green Impact scheme and the work that has been achieved so far; this focused mainly on the past year and was followed by a speech from NUS representative, Rachel Soper, as well as thanks and praise to the teams and to Karl from both Frontrunners, Sebastian and Rebecca.

After introductions and thanks, it was time stuck into handing out the awards!

The awards handed out were as follows:

Bronze

FOTAC

QEII Leisure Centre

Silver

4th Floor Flyers

Strategic and International Partnerships

Gold

Learning Support Centre

ITMS

Green POD

Excellence

Estates Development

Estates Services

Student and Academic Services

Finance Greens

Executive, Governance and Legal Services

Special Awards

ITMS – Innovation

Green POD – Engagement

ITMS – Community

Learning Support Centre – Most Improved Team

QEII Leisure Centre – Best New Team

Environmental Hero’s

Student – Cybeles Nunziata

Student – Sara Williams

Student – Wing Tang

Staff – Amanda Thorley

Project Assistants

Sara Williams

Quinn Franklin

Nizam Patel

Cybeles Nunziata

Environmental Auditors

Richa Singhal

Sara Williams

Quinn Franklin

Gaza Nathaniel

Cybeles Nunziata

Special Projects for the Excellence Awards

Green Impact team who have previously gained the Gold standard award have the opportunity to undertake a special project on an environmental topic of their choosing. These special projects are awarded with an Excellence standard.

The first project was run by  Student Academic Services, Estates Development and Estates Services, who organised and ran two biodiversity projects including bulb planting on the grass area in front of the Edith Murphy building and outside of the Kimberlin Library. The bulb planting element used bulbs which produce flowers rich in nectar which is ideal for bees when they come out of hibernation. The second element of the project was a bat box making workshops which included background information on bat ecology from Conservation Officer Nathalie Cossa who is fluent in all things bats from the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust. Nathalie presented on the lives of bats, how they are going extinct and how we can help them out.

The second project was run by the Finance Team who worked towards reducing paper use and recycling by cleaning out their archives and moving some forms to electronic formats so they would not need to print them off; they also ran iPad training sessions for senior management. Through their efforts the team managed to recycle over 210 bags of paper which is a tremendous achievement.

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The third was run by Trinity House and is an ongoing project focused around biodiversity in the gardens that is looking into the possibility of having beehives on campus. The project is currently in the process of bringing in a local ecologist to come and give advice on the project.

Our top performer this year was the ITMS team, winning four separate awards

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Whilst our environmental heroes shone with their awards…

We were excited to welcome the Queen Elizabeth II Leisure Centre as our best newcomer.

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All award winners received a goody bag handmade from recycled newspaper which included a bicycle seat cover, a recycled drinks bottle, a Divine Fairtrade chocolate bar, a pedometer and instructions on how to make your own paper bag.

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You can download this template to make your own recycled newspaper (or paper) bag here… http://www.noteworthy.com/templates/paper_bags 

Special thanks go out to the Estates Maintenance Services gardening team, who spent a lot of their time assisting with projects and by providing materials to do so.

Each year involvement with the Green Impact scheme advances; next year we expect the amount of teams to grow and produce some brilliant projects and subsequent results! All those at DMU are welcome to join in and we appreciate any level of involvement.

If you would like to get involved with the Green Impact scheme next year, please get in touch with Karl Letten, Environmental and Sustainability Officer (kletten@dmu.ac.uk).

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Rebecca Mason, Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner

Green Impact Awards Ceremony 2015 – 2016

Green Impact Awards Ceremony 2015 – 2016

On Tuesday 24th May, we will be hosting the ‘Green Impact Awards Ceremony’ to show our appreciation to staff and students who took part in efforts to improve environmental performance and reduce carbon footprints at DMU as part of the Green Impact scheme.

Green Impact (http://www.green-impact.org.uk/ ) is an environmental accreditation and awards scheme that is organised by the National Union of Students (NUS), which runs in various universities around the UK and is soon to spread into the NHS, Local authorities and other businesses. It teaches simple ways to tackle environmental issues internally, with the hope that these will in turn become daily practices used at the respective workplace.

The scheme works under the basis that staff teams in different faculties and departments at the university aim to complete a criteria of actions comprised of small and large tasks over the course of the academic year. Different levels of achievement can be obtained by completing the tasks that fall under one of the categories which are bronze, bronze+, silver, gold, and excellence. Student volunteers support staff by auditing progress to help staff to achieve these goals;this helps to build positive relationships between staff and students.

Green impact awards ceremony slideshow picture

The scheme has been running for 7 years and in total has seen nearly 5000.environmental actions achieved. This year however saw 700 environmental actions completed by staff and student teams and a number of environmental projects have been run including building bat boxes, planting wildlife friendly bulbs on campus to increase biodiversity, and reducing paper use in our Finance Directorate.

Other participating teams undertook environmental tasks which included:

  • Putting up signs which explain how to use double sided photocopying
  • Setting printers to duplex by default
  • Using tap water instead of bottled water in meetings
  • New staff have an environmental induction
  • They produce a lighting and equipment responsibility plan to make sure all equipment is turned off at the end of the day

 

Written by Rebecca Mason – Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner

A year of being the Green Impact Frontrunner

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Looking back from where I am now to where I started, I am glad I decided to be a part of the Green Impact project.

I’ve been a part of Green Impact over 2 academic years, starting from being a student volunteer (Green Impact Project Assistant) to taking a more leadership role and assisting the running of the project in DMU as the Green Impact Frontrunner.

Some of the guys from the Estate department play football on Wednesday nights which I joined; we got so good we decided to take things on an international level, so we planned a weekend trip to Germany, and I can boldly say it was one of the best experiences of my life. We watched a Bundesliga match and we played our own international friendly, unfortunately we lost but it was a very close game.

On a more serious note a lot of things were achieved throughout the year; external audits, new teams joining, Planting project, student switch off party, group workshops and many more. The biggest success for me was the award ceremony as we celebrated everything that was achieved by individuals and teams, and recognised them for their hard work throughout the year in the Green Impact project.

I’ve been opportune to work with and develop friendships with students from different departments of the university I wouldn’t have met if not for Green Impact. I’ve also been privileged to work with and learn a lot from the universities environment & sustainability team, I couldn’t have asked for a better team to be a part of.

 

Joseph Ogunremi (Green Impact Frontrunner 2014-2015)

 

My experience as the first Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner

I remember that day. After class I decided to go towards the Campus Centre instead of going back home immediately. There was the sun and it was still warm outside. It was late October. So, I went to the Campus Centre and passing by I noticed a colourful stand. I read ’Green Impact’ and Karl introduced himself as the environmental officer. He started to explain to me what was the project and proposed that I should join them for an environmental auditing the next week. That experience was very interesting and I didn’t think such activities were organised and proposed by a University! Afterward I was even more committed to apply for the position as Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner at their office. When that hope came true, I couldn’t believe it!

Today is my last day in the office and I realize how many things happened since my arrival. There was the auditing at Leicestershire County Council, the training as a Green Impact Project Assistant, visiting the Halls of Residence with Fran and Joseph for Students Switch Off, the Fairtrade Fortnight with lots of activities, the Climate Positive Week with interesting talks and lunches, then the designing and planting activity for one of the Excellence project within Green Impact and eventually the organization of the Green Impact Award Ceremony to celebrate the efforts of everyone!

The placement lasted five months and it was quite a challenge to match work, study, classes and social activities, but it improved my timing and organizational skills.

I am truly grateful for the opportunity to work in an office for the first time and the chance to understand that it was the kind of job I would like to do as part of my future career. Everyone in the office and in the department helped me when I needed support. I think I developed some new important skills thanks to this experience. Indeed, I feel the Frontrunner scheme is a good investment for DMU students and it requests the appropriate commitment and time while studying. Finally, I truly believe that the University can play a key role in teaching more about sustainability and that this knowledge will be embedded by students for the rest of their lives.

 

Student volunteer Denise and I during the Green Impact Award Ceremony

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Student volunteer Vanessa and I during the team building eco-bingo activity

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Joseph and I

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Thank you everyone!

Fedora Agosti (Green Behaviour Change 2015)

Be the next Green Frontrunner!

Applications for De Montfort University Frontrunner Internships are open! So for the Green Impact Frontrunner and the Green behaviour Change Frontrunner! If you are a DMU student and you are interested in green issues, the sustainability team is looking for two new interns. You will have the chance to discover a new way to live the University, while experiencing a real job! Being a Frontrunner means the opportunity to have a real paid work for a reasonable amount of hours per week, which won’t interfere with your studies. Also you will be able to experience the process behind getting a job, such as the application and the interview process, with the support and the advices of the Frontrunner team. Furthermore, after getting the job, you will practise your skills beyond your degree and gain experience for the future. Especially applying for either the Green Impact or the Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner will mainly enhance your communication, organisation and project management skills. You will also have the opportunity to meet a lot of members of the staff and new students involved in the activities promoted by the team. As the current Frontrunner, I strongly advice to take a look and apply! You can apply for them from until Thursday 30th April 2015 and the Internships will commence on October 2015. Brief descriptions and titles of Frontrunner opportunities with the Environment & Sustainability Office are listed on MyGateway . Once you’ve logged in, just select ‘Frontrunner Internship ‘ under the type of work menu. To apply, please use this link to register and access our online application system|: https://jobs.dmu.ac.uk/webrecruitment/default.asp?Section=SignIn The contact for these positions is Karl Letten (Environmental & Sustainability Officer) You can also email frontrunners@dmu.ac.uk| if you have any queries about the scheme. Good Luck everyone!

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Pic: Karl (Environment & Sustainability Officer), Joseph (Green Impact Frontrunner) and Fedora (Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner).   Fedora Agosti (Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner)

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)

 

Meet the new Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner

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Waste not the smallest thing created, for grains of sand make mountains, and atomies infinity. (E. Knight)

I am Fedora, the new Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner. Here at DMU I am an international law Student. At the same time, I am an Erasmus student, the European exchange program between Universities of different countries. I come from Italy, my home city is in the North and it is called Bergamo.

For me, the opportunity to become a Frontrunner is very special, because now I have the chance to face the world of employment and not only the academic environment. I will contribute to develop environmental awareness sustainability events and activities by using Social Networks. I believe a change towards a more sustainable approach to the environment is possible, by starting from the behaviour of the single individual. Therefore it is essential for public institutions, such as DMU University, to encourage people to be more careful about their ecological footprint.

During the employability week on November 2014, I did a volunteering activity with the sustainability team. With some other students, we went to the Leicestershire County Council for an Environmental Audit. The experience was such interesting that I was also involved in the DMU Student Switch Off as ambassador and I became a GIPA (Green Impact Project Assistant).

My commitment to environmental issues is reflected also in what I am studying here at DMU, where I am focusing on environmental law projects. The attention of sustainability and environment protection and awareness is a priority in my life since I was a Scout for over seven years, till now that I would like to specialize in environmental Law and Policy, as part of my University career.

Working as a member of the sustainability team will involve me to cooperate with my colleagues by keeping you update about the amazing activities of the office among DMU and I will also work with Joseph, the Green Impact Front runner to make our University even greener!

As a Frontrunner, I will post regularly on this blog and you are welcome if you want to contribute with your point of view about a sustainable or environmental issue you care about, please do not hesitate to contact me!

Email: fedora.agosti@dmu.ac.uk