10 Sustainable New Year Resolutions

1)           Join the University in cutting plastic!

We’ve picked our favourite plastic-free tips below to help cut your plastic footprint and support the University’s pledge “Single Out: #2023PlasticFree”

1) Explore your local markets and supermarkets to find loose unpackaged veg!

2) Grab yourself a bamboo toothbrush – millions of plastic ones end up in waste every year!

3) Pop your homemade lunch in a reusable tupperware container and ditch those single use plastic sandwich bags!

 

2)            Buy Fairtrade

Why not try and buy at least one regular purchase from a more local and/or ethical source? This could be from an ethical market or local independent shop such as a bakery. Looking for an ethical phone? Try Fairphone, a modular device built from ethically-sourced materials!

 

3)            Active Travel

Active travel is a great way to lower your carbon footprint and support your health and wellbeing. View our blog post for some inspiration from Sarah Dennis, who often runs to work with her daughter Bethany in the pram! Why not try changing one journey a week to a form of active travel? This can be walking, cycling or running! Not sure where to change or shower on campus? Check out our Sustainability Campus Map for locations of showers and lockers.

 

4)            Mindfulness (yoga or headspace)

Lotus Position

Try to give yourself time with your thoughts every day. Yoga and meditation are great ways to clear your head of nasty thoughts. Try keeping a thought journal and writing all thoughts down. If they are written on paper you can allow yourself to forget about them, this particularly helps when struggling to sleep.

 

5)            Leeds Bins app

Why not download the Leeds Bins App? It takes just 2 minutes and tells you everything you need to know about recycling, bin days and more!

 

6)            Meat free Mondays

Veganuary can be quite intense for many people so why not try setting yourself a lower target? Meat Free Mondays are a great way to cut your meat intake and carbon footprint! If you’re already veggie, try milk-free Mondays?

 

7)            Increase knowledge

You may be someone who thinks they already know everything Sustainability or you may be someone completely new to the topic! Either way, there is always new knowledge to learn! Staff members, why not have a go at our staff training module to learn more? (Visit “Teach”, “Organisations” and finally “Sustainability in Practice”). Students, why not explore sustainability in a discovery module?

 

8)            Share knowledge

It seems these days like Sustainability is everywhere; on the news, TV and social media. But we can all do our part to teach others about the Sustainability challenges the world is facing. Why not challenge yourself this year to teach one person a day something new about Sustainability?

 

9)            Volunteering

As well as parks, Leeds has some great urban green walks and nature reserves to explore. We also have a large number of outdoor societies you can join. The LUU Conservation Society has weekly events where you can explore areas in Leeds and help manage and conserve them.

 

10)          Buying fewer clothes online (and in general!)

Buying clothes online can lead to large amounts plastic bags and plenty of greenhouses gases from transport. Why not explore more of your local charity shops for clothes? Reusing clothes rather than constantly buying new ones is a great way to cut down your carbon emissions – plus you just find that killer bargain!

 

 

Good luck and enjoy making 2019 your most sustainable year so far!

 

New Year’s Resolution – Active Travel

Why not make Sustainable Travel one of your New Year’s Resolutions?

In autumn last year, Sarah Dennis, from the School of Earth and Environment, completed 1 year of run commuting to the University. This isn’t the usual run commute though because she brings her daughter along with her in the pram!

Her daughter, Bethany, attends the Bright Beginnings nursery located on campus, and when Sarah’s eldest child moved from the nursery to attend school, she took the opportunity to change her commute to become more sustainable.

Sarah was also looking to complete regular exercise but didn’t want it eating into her family life; therefore using her commute to exercise was the perfect solution. Sarah’s commute is 5km from Meanwood into the University campus and so far she has ran over 300km in 12 months from commuting!

Sarah explained how she was not an experienced runner beforehand “I’d ran the odd 10k but nothing serious. Running to work improved my overall fitness and led to me running a half marathon earlier this year, something I’d always wanted to do but couldn’t find time to train.” She also discussed the benefits around health and wellbeing “it’s been fantastic for my mental wellbeing, I can’t think about work when I’m running so it completely clears my head after a busy day at University”.

Like other people at the University Sarah was tired of sitting in congested traffic during her commute to campus and was concerned about the increasing air pollution around Leeds. One of the University’s Living Lab projects has been looking into the levels of air pollution on campus and in the city, ahead of the Clean Air Zone coming into force, for more information on this project click here.

Sarah’s advice for people thinking about commuting in this way “find a suitable route that is not too busy with pedestrians and make sure you have the right pram, with a locking front wheel, though you don’t have to spend loads of money on a running pram as I bought mine second hand for £20. A bike light or two have proved very useful as well”. It has been a huge learning experience for Sarah and something she has been able to share with her daughter “Bethany often shouts at passes by or tells me to run faster. I’ve also been able to teach her about nature and the changing seasons on the way as well seeing some incredible sunrises”.

Sarah takes advantage of the facilities on campus to promote active travel by using the showers provided in her department and leaving towels, spare clothes etc. on campus. Check out our interactive campus map to find were your nearest showers, secure storage sheds and maintenance facilities are located.

If you would like to speak to Sarah about her run commute and gain some advice on completing a similar journey, please get in touch via the Sustainability email address.

Leeds School Governor Stories

One year on from the  University of Leeds launching its School Governors Programme we have met staff and alumni to hear their school governor stories.  We learned that no two school governors are the same but what unites them is their passion and desire to make a difference to children’s education and give them the best possible opportunities in life.  Read on to find out what governance means to each volunteer and why we are calling on more staff and alumni to become a school governor. Start your school Governor story today!

“I’ve been a school governor in Leeds for over five years. I’m Chair of Sphere Federation – a group of three primary schools in north Leeds. My motivation for being a governor was simple – I wanted to invest my time in supporting the learning and development of children; for them to have the best education possible, and to leave primary school as healthy individuals with happy memories and a wealth of learning experiences. As Executive Director of a national charity based here at the University of Leeds, whose aim is to advance the education of young people in mathematics, I understand how important good governance is to the success of an organisation. What I hadn’t anticipated was how rewarding being a governor is, and how much it has helped my own professional development.”

Rachel Greenhalgh, UK Mathematics Trust

“I have a strong interest in student education and I have increasingly felt the need for closer collaboration between schools and universities; therefore I am committed to invest my time on a new journey. The Governor position offers me an opportunity to help with improving schools. I believe that my professional qualities, international experience and my understanding of the school system through my child’s education place me in a unique position to offer new ideas and different perspectives to Leeds City Academy Local Accountability Board. The governor position would also help me better understand what is delivered in schools and take this knowledge back to the university to help improve our offering of support to students making the transition to the university and their skill development for future career and personal development.”

Professor Annie Wei, LUBS

“I became a governor back in January 2014.  I wanted to do something that developed my skills and gave me experience at a more strategic level, and I value contributing to the community.  I was placed as a Local Authority governor with a local primary school and was then later co-opted to remain on the governing body when the roles changed. I now chair one of the committees, and although I still feel as though I’ve lots to learn (the education landscape keeps changing!). I have since changed jobs, and my experience on the governing body certainly contributed to that achievement.  In terms of personal life, it’s made me happier: I’m proud to help my community, I enjoy the work involved, and I feel a part of something important.”

Deborah Berman, Leeds Alumna

I have two children at primary school, now in Year 2 and Year 5, and they both love school. I wanted to give something back to the school and help it to be a brilliant, nurturing, supportive place for our kids to be happy and learn loads on the way. I was keen to serve the wider community in an environment where children from all backgrounds are valued. Many staff at the university have experience of curriculum development, interviewing prospective staff, managing budgets, monitoring student progress, giving strategic direction. We’re used to both providing and receiving constructive criticism, challenging ourselves and others within an encouraging and supportive environment, reflecting on our own and others’ practice, and asking pertinent questions – skills that are important for any school governor. Skills and insight that we take for granted, are really valuable to our local schools.”

Darren C Greenwood, School of Medicine.

“My background is in teaching and worked for many years in the School of Education, University of Leeds. I have been a governor at Bankside Primary, Harehills, for 10 years. It has kept me in touch with schools and education which have been my life’s work. It was a chance to give something back. The fact that the school was in a disadvantaged part of Leeds was further motivation, as I am committed to trying to help more children from disadvantaged backgrounds to succeed and to progress.There is a considerable need for governors in Leeds particularly in the inner city. Your work input is appreciated by school staff. You have the chance to meet pupils and talk with them. This opportunity is likely to extend your knowledge and experience of the community in which you live and work. Don’t hesitate to get involved.”

Paul Sharp, Educational Engagement.

“I became a school Governor because I wanted to make sure that my school has effective leadership to thrive and give every student the opportunity for achieving their potential.”

Majid Khan, Facilities Directorate

Staff and Alumni interested in becoming School Governors can register with our charity partner Governors for Schools here. Someone from the charity will be in touch about next steps with being matched with a school.  Good luck!

Christmas Shutdown

On Christmas Day 2017 the University campus alone used enough electricity to cook 15,004 turkeys – that’s almost 2 for each staff member!

As a University, we have a responsibility to lower our carbon emissions and the Christmas Shutdown period gives us the perfect chance to demonstrate our commitment to reducing our impact on the environment. This year, the Christmas shutdown period runs from Friday 21st December 2018 to Tuesday 2nd January 2019, a full 11 days! By remembering to switch off all lighting and non-essential equipment over this period we can make a collective difference and also raise awareness of the need to cut carbon.

On Christmas Day last year, we managed to save 83,853kWh more energy than we did on the  25th in the previous year. Although we did save this extra energy, we still managed to use 305,649 kWh which is enough energy to drive around Britain’s coastline 244 times in a Tesla!

This is what you can do to help:

Before you leave for the Christmas break, check all lighting and IT equipment is turned off, including screens and projectors; and ensure that all non-essential lab and research equipment is turned off.

We will tell you how we did in the New Year!

Happy Holidays from the Energy Team and Sustainability Services

LUU’s Blue Planet Exhibition

Last week, Leeds University Union’s (LUU) Leeds Community Project (LCP) hosted an interactive Blue Planet exhibition in Union Square. The team hoped to raise awareness of the devastation plastic causes in our oceans and environment and educate people on good plastic practice. Blue Planet 2 sparked a massive change in the public opinions of plastic; the team built on this and themed the event strongly around the show.

Tom Oladipo, LUU’s Community Officer, features plastic use (or misuse) heavily in his manifesto and LCP wanted to bring this to life in a creative and engaging way. The exhibition was built up by a variety of projects; a Blue Planet screening, a ‘fishing’ for plastic activity, LCP’s Plastic Sculpture competition and a table full of plastics factsheets! These events taught and tested attendees of the dos and don’ts of plastic recycling and how to cut their own plastic footprint.

In line with the collaborative #2023PlasticFree Pledge, LCP encouraged people to make their own plastics pledge, which formed a post-it exhibition in itself.

Environmental charity, Hubbub, from the #LeedsByExample campaign joined the event and brought along “Gorden Binnet”, their “Bubble Bin”. This bin is designed to encourage the public to recycle wrappers, bottles and cans on the go.

Recycling schemes vary between different businesses and councils so it can be hard to keep track of what can and can’t be recycled. If you want to learn more about what can be recycled in Leeds, head to the Leeds City Council Website or download the Leeds Bins App.

LUU’s plan is to take the exhibition into halls and community centres where LCP can continue spreading messages around plastic recycling.

Don’t turn into a Grinch this holiday break: follow our simple steps to make the holiday break so much better.

1. Too many tins of soup left? – Donate!

Give it away instead of it wasting away

Clear out your fridge and donate any leftover food. Why not give it to housemates or friends that are staying in Leeds over the break? Or simply drop it off at the FD Building on campus and  any of the university residences’ reception (non- perishable foods only) where it will be given to help others this Christmas.

2. Room a mess? – Take your stuff home.

A quick way to declutter

If you have too many things lying around that you didn’t use or need this semester, take it home with you or donate it to a British Heart Foundation donation bank (on campus and in halls) to help you declutter. Remember you’ll be getting new things so make space for them!
Give yourself the perfect Christmas gift – a nice clean room!

4. Shut down what you don’t need and save money.

Switch it off!

No one wants to come home to crazy electricity bills after the break. Shut down what you don’t need but keep a few lights on for security purposes. Treat yourself to a light timer plug!  Not everyone has control of their heating, but keep it low if you can!

 

5. Take your valuables home/ keep them out of sight.

Keep it out of sight. You don’t know who is watching.

Keep your belongings safe. Take your valuables home and keep anything you’ve left behind out of sight!

6. Staying in Leeds? Join in the festivities.

Take a break from revision (or procrastination)

It’s freezing out there, but don’t stay cooped up inside all day. Take a break from your busy schedule of procrastination – I mean doing your assignments… Join in the festivities and check out the annual #UniLeedsChristmas events!

 

Are you staying in Leeds over the winter break? Christmas in Leeds is an annual programme for all students and…

Posted by University of Leeds on Monday, November 26, 2018

7. Most importantly have a great Christmas break and see you in the New Year.

Happy Holidays!!!!

Green Gown Awards 2018

Green Gowns Finalists!

The University was honoured to attend the 2018 Green Gown Awards, having been nominated for no less than four categories! It was a fantastic evening celebrating the milestones of sustainability achievements of universities across the UK and Ireland.

Representing more than one million students and 172,000 staff, the Awards lead the way with their commitment to the global sustainability agenda and provide the sector with benchmarks for excellence.

Leeds were finalists in the categories for “Benefitting Society” and “Research With Impact”, winning ‘Highly Commended’ in “Tomorrow’s Employees” and “Total Reporting”.

Leeds’ nominations once again demonstrate the huge work we are doing across the University to embed sustainability in all that we do.

The projects winning highly commended were:

Total Reporting

The University’s core purpose is to increase knowledge and opportunity for the betterment of society, and Leeds has made firm commitments to take its economic, social, environmental and cultural responsibilities seriously.

As a result, its Annual Sustainability Report is a total impact report – a more holistic appraisal of the University’s social, environmental, economic and cultural impacts. It is full of case studies, commitments, progress, facts, and figures. Together, these tell the story of the amazing work Leeds is doing to become an even more sustainable university.

Tomorrow’s Employees

Student Sustainability Architects are part-time paid positions at the University providing support with student engagement activities, events, campaigns, and initiatives. They take the lead on delivering projects that align with the University’s strategic objectives and also develop their own ideas to increase student participation with sustainability.

Louise Ellis, Director of Sustainability at the University of Leeds said “I am hugely proud of what we have achieved as an institution – it is a testament to the hard work of everyone throughout the University. It was inspiring to hear from other universities on the night and I look forward to building on the progress we’ve all made.”

Roger Stevens Pond Development

Over the last few weeks, you may have noticed changes to the Roger Stevens Pond. The development was part of a multidisciplinary, collaborative project supported by the University’s Living Lab. The University’s Sustainability Services Team worked with Estates Services, School of Biological Sciences, School of Geography and the School of Civil Engineering to transform the cooling pond into a promoter for biodiversity and scientific research. We are also installing water quality monitoring equipment at the pond at the Brownlee Centre to extend the scope and potential for the project. There is a hope that once the neutrality of the water is in balance we will introduce fish to the pond. Don’t worry about the ducks – they have flown south for the winter and we await their return to their new home!

This project came about due to the operational need to improve the pond, to reduce operational costs and to increase biodiversity value. There are further benefits to come from this development scheme; enhancing biodiversity and research opportunities. The pond will be monitored throughout the year by PhD student, Dan Warren, from the School of Biology. The sensors installed by Sustainability Services and the School of Geography will provide data for research across a number of Schools and Faculties. By working in collaboration with Estates and Sustainability, anybody can use the pond as a living lab for their research. This might be dissertations, assessed projects or even fieldwork modules.

The Leeds Living Lab is a programme coordinated by the Sustainability Services and drives the University’s commitment to embedding sustainability through knowledge, engagement, collaboration and innovation. The Living Lab has already brought together over 140 operational and academic staff and students to identify and deliver sustainable solutions through research and innovation, using the University campus as a test bed. This allows us to create real world solutions on a campus or city-wide scale. In the last year interdisciplinary teams from across the University have developed nine collaborative projects and created ten individual student project and dissertation partnerships. We encourage staff and students to make the most of our campus and consider how their research or studies might benefit from using the campus as a test bed.

 

Welcome to This Year’s Student Sustainability Architects

The University of Leeds Sustainability Services team is pleased to welcome eight new staff members, who will each take on the role of a Student Sustainability Architect.

The new Student Sustainability Architects will provide support with student engagement activities, events, campaigns and initiatives. They take the lead on delivering projects that align with our strategic objectives and also develop their own ideas to increase student participation with sustainability. Please help us to welcome Dave, Katy, Nicola, Lulu, Chloe, Sophia, Rory and Clare to the team.

Katy Warner, Sustainability in Catering Architect

Hi, I’m Katy, and I’m currently studying a Masters in Climate Change and Environmental Policy. I’m one of the Student Sustainability Architects for 2018-19, working in sustainability in Catering Services. One of my main sustainability interests is in food procurement and the impact that your food choices can have on the environment.

This year I am aiming to work with the University Catering Service to reduce the meat content of some of the meals served on campus and to increase the number of vegetarian options. Did you know that livestock production is responsible for 14.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and that by feeding crops to humans rather than animals we could feed 3 billion more people? Hopefully, I will be able to encourage staff and students to be more conscious of the environment when they made their food choices! This is a significant task, and I’m excited to get started.

Sophia Nicolov, Living Lab Architect

Hi, I’m Sophia Nicolov and I’m a second-year PhD student. My research focuses on whales and marine ecosystems, bringing together the Environmental Humanities and marine conservation sciences. I’m researching some of the most pressing issues of our generation so I really care about sustainability and finding ways to tackle these problems.

I’m a Sustainability Architect for the Living Labs programme, which I’m really excited about because it addresses a range of sustainability issues in innovative ways with diverse researchers. My PhD is really interdisciplinary, so I can’t wait to work with researchers from different disciplines and help create some exciting projects and networks. While I’m really passionate about my own research I’m also driven to make a practical difference – this is why it’s so great to be working on this project.

I’ve been a student for six years now (a long time!) so I have a good understanding of what engages students. Since my undergraduate degree, I have used my own assessed work to explore environmental issues and this puts me in a good position to offer guidance to students undertaking Living Labs dissertations and projects. With a background in humanities, I’ll bring some creativity to this role – hopefully I’ll get students from the arts, humanities and social sciences engaged alongside those from STEM subjects!

Rory Hayes, Blueprint Architect

Hello! I’m Rory, a final year BA Geography student here at the University. This year I’ve been hired to continue the work I took part in last year as part of my industrial year working with the Sustainability team, piloting the new engagement scheme called ‘Blueprint’. After the success of the pilots we carried out over the 2017/18 academic year, Blueprint has now launched in full and is something we are getting really excited about in the team. My role this year is mainly to aid in the running of workshops and engagement sessions, as well as continuing the work I did last year to assist and continue to build the new scheme and ensure its successful implementation with teams.

We hope that Blueprint will mark the next step in embedding Sustainability at the University of Leeds. I hope to get out and talk to as many people as possible across campus and work to encourage collaboration between schools and services, by using the knowledge I have of the University from my placement year. By sharing my enthusiasm I want to involve as many people as possible in Sustainability all across campus to try and make a real difference!

Clare Martynski, Sustainability in the Curriculum Architect

Following an enjoyable twelve months as a Student Sustainability Architect, I’m delighted to be back for another year! Since previous blogs have covered a bit about me, my interest in the role, and an insight into what I worked on last year, I’ll keep this short and sweet.

I’m looking forward to extending the work that I contributed to last year, continuing to make strides towards fully integrating sustainability into the curriculum. That includes getting a firmer grasp on what a sustainable curriculum looks like for the University of Leeds, and drawing further on the expertise and enthusiasm that already exists throughout the institution.

And of course getting involved with the next Student Sustainability Conference, for which plans are already afoot!

I’m really excited to be working with Kelly Forster this year, who is bringing fresh insights and new energy to the curriculum work. And I’m looking forward to getting to know the new Architects who are bringing an array of experience to the roles.

Nicola Wood, Residential Services Student Engagement Architect

Hi Everyone. I’m Nicola, a final year PhD student studying Bioenergy in the School of Chemical and Process Engineering. My project focuses on how algae can be grown in wastewater treatment facilities to help remove harmful contaminants from water and to produce oil that can be turned into a sustainable source of fuel.

As one of this year’s Student Sustainability Architects, I will be working with the halls of residences to inform and engage students about sustainable living. There are lots of tiny changes that everyone can make to live a more sustainable lifestyle and with such a large student population in Leeds, we have the opportunity to make a real difference.

I’d love to hear any ideas or feedback you have so please feel free to email me at pmnjw@leeds.ac.uk

Lulu Kariba, Student Engagement Architect

Hello

My Name is Lulu and I am glad to be joining the Sustainability Architect team this year. I am currently doing a Masters in Sustainability and Business at University of Leeds. I have an interest in various aspects of sustainability, particularly ethical/green consumption as well as sustainable lifestyles. As a sustainable architect I am excited to learn new things about sustainability and use my experience to fulfil my role.

This year I would like to make a positive contribution however big or small and hopefully inspire others to do the same. Sustainability is part of a wide range of topics and issues, but sustainability can also be personal. I hope I can encourage others to engage with sustainability projects, discussions and aim for it to make a personal contribution to your life.

I look forward to working with the student community, the university and the local community to promote sustainability through various projects.

Chloe Badge, Biodiversity Action Planning Architect

Hi everyone, my name is Chloe and I am in my final year of BSc Environmental Science. My sustainability architect role is focusing on biodiversity around the campus and university accommodations. Over the coming months I will be surveying some of the university residences to look at their current biodiversity value, and looking into ways they could perhaps be improved. My first task is some areas of empty grass around Charles Morris halls, and looking at what things can be planted to attract more wildlife, but also be of value to students living there.

I love being outside and am passionate about us looking after our local wildlife, so I’m really excited to be involved in this at Leeds University!

Dave Burt, Plastics Architect

My name is David Burt and I am at Leeds studying an MSc in Climate Change and Environmental Policy. My sustainability architect project is looking at how to minimise plastic waste, particularly single-use plastics. This is getting plenty of media attention everywhere from supermarkets to the legend that is David Attenborough, so it’s an exciting time to make a change. However, it’s not as easy as swapping to paper straws, (plastic is everywhere!) but it is a challenge I look forward to.

I am really keen to help Leeds Uni reduce plastic waste and the more people that get involved the better so if you have any ideas on how you think we can reduce plastics at uni then please let me know! My email is ee18djsb@leeds.ac.uk

 

To keep up to date with progress on each of the Architect’s projects follow us on social media and search for #ArchitectsofPossibility.

Go Higher West Yorkshire – St Agnes Parents Group

Sometimes it is as simple as a conversation, with the right person, that sparks an idea and starts to build a strong relationship. In June 2017 the Outreach Officer for Leeds College of Building and the Area Manager for Leeds Go Higher West Yorkshire met with the Reverend of St Agnes church, Burmantofts, Leeds.

Since that date, and with the additional support of the Go Higher West Yorkshire (GHWY) officers from Leeds City College, Kirklees College and the University of Leeds, a parents group has formed. Workshops are delivered to around 30 parents and carers each time (and sometimes young people too)! The workshops are tailored to the groups’ needs and vary in topics including apprenticeships, futures in health, what are the different routes and options in Higher Education. All workshops involve the opportunity to meet current students, and students that reflect the young people from Burmantofts.

Go Higher West Yorkshire are led by the University of Leeds and host to the GHWY central team. GHWY are formally recognised by Office for Students as the Single Point of Contact (SPOC) for all 11-18 schools in West Yorkshire, as well as primary schools and businesses.

Find out more about projects that the University of Leeds is involved in by signing up to our bi-monthly community newsletter at sustainability.leeds.ac.uk/sign-up-to-our-e-newsletter