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  

We Are Recruiting!

Do you have experience of working in the field of Environmental and Sustainability Compliance?

We are seeking a highly motivated and experienced individual to oversee and deliver our environmental compliance activity.

For more information see the role descriptions below, or apply HERE: https://jobs.leeds.ac.uk/vacancy.aspx?ref=FDSUS1016 

Environmental Compliance Officer

Do you have significant experience of working in the field of Environmental and Sustainability Compliance? Do you enjoy developing and implementing compliance approaches? Would you like to apply your expertise in shaping compliance activities at a world leading University? 

We are seeking a highly motivated and experienced individual to oversee and deliver our environmental compliance activity. You will be working closely between both the Sustainability and Health and Safety Services, supporting our organisation wide commitment to sustainability.

Working in partnership with Sustainability Manager and the Senior Health and Safety Manager you will be required to confidently liaise with staff across the University, students and external stakeholders. You will maintain, and ensure compliance against, our institutional legal register, identify areas of risk and develop appropriate policies and procedures to ensure systematic and measured environmental compliance. You will be expected to work across the University and therefore covering different impacts and sources and well as ensure compliance within our contractors and supply chain.

You will have excellent written skills and extensive experience of building effective professional relationships. Previous experience of working in Higher Education would be desirable. You will have excellent communication and organisation skills and will be able to work independently and use your own initiative and judgement in order to make decisions.

To explore the post further or for any queries you may have, please contact

James Dixon-Gough

Tel: +44 (0)113 343 35793, email: j.dixon-gough@leeds.ac.uk

Green Gown Awards nominations

The University is celebrating being nominated in no less than four categories at the prestigious UK and Ireland Green Gown Awards.

Representing more than one million students, 172,000 staff and a combined annual turnover of £15 billion, the Awards are leading the way with their commitment to the global sustainability agenda and proving the value universities and colleges bring to the economy and society.

Finalists emphasise an institution’s role in enabling and empowering young people to tackle pressing global issues to ensure they have a better tomorrow.

To be held at York’s historic National Railway Museum on 8 November, the Awards ceremony recognises sustainability best practice within the further and higher education sectors. The Awards provide the sector with benchmarks for excellence and are respected by Government, funding councils, senior management, academics, and students.

Leeds is nominated in the Benefitting Society, Research With Impact, Tomorrow’s Employees and Total Reporting categories.

Katie McGuire, the University’s Deputy Director Sustainability Services, said: “The Green Gown Awards represent the highest accolades for UK universities in sustainability, so we are absolutely delighted to have been shortlisted as finalists for four awards this year.

“This celebrates a successful year for Sustainability Services, seeing the growth of programmes, such as Living Lab and Positive Impact Partners (PIP), along with the achievements of our Student Sustainability Architects, who continue to support us to embed sustainability throughout the University, whilst gaining valuable work experience.

“We hold our fingers crossed as we prepare our finalists submissions and look forward to the awards ceremony in November.”

The four categories Leeds is nominated for once again demonstrate the huge strides being made to further embed sustainability in schools, faculties, and services at the University.

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.

Benefitting Society

Through Positive Impact Partners, University staff and their Third Sector partners work together, combining their personal, professional or research expertise to create new collaborative projects that build capacity and encourage positive social change.

Tomorrow’s Employees

Student Sustainability Architects are part-time paid positions at the Sustainability Service, providing support for 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.

Research With Impact

Driven by the University’s commitment to embedding sustainability through knowledge, engagement, collaboration, and innovation, the Living Lab brings together students, academic and operational staff to research and test sustainable solutions, enhance the curriculum and solve real-world challenges, using Leeds as both a testbed and a space for co-created research-led teaching.

Projects to date have ranged from monitoring and mapping air quality across campus to trialling the mixed ability sports model through workshops and taster days for staff and students. It is hoped these will be scalable to our communities, the city and beyond.

Iain Patton, Chief Executive at the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges, which administers the Awards, said: “Every day, tireless environmental, social and sustainability leaders across the UK and Ireland are driving change and showing the value universities and colleges bring to the economy and society. The Green Gown Awards exist to give them the recognition and platform they need to share their learning and do even more.”

Great Food at Leeds (GFAL) receives the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s highest accolade

Great Food at Leeds (GFAL) is delighted to announce that it has received the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s highest accolade, a three-star ‘Food Made Good’ sustainability rating. The team achieved an overall score of 70% over three main categories; Sourcing, Society and Environment.

Beverley Kenny MBEDeputy Director of Commercial Services, said “Receiving the highest rating at the first attempt is a fantastic achievement. It is a reflection of the commitment of the entire team and the hard work they do every day, ensuring the catering service supports the sustainable aims and objectives of the University. We look forward to using the feedback from the Sustainable Restaurant Association report to guide improvements in sustainability across our catering outlets”.

Find out more at the following link:

GFAL receives high marks for food sustainability

Tree Carving Competition Winner

Thank you to all who contributed towards our tree carving competition.

Our winner is Joely Holder. Well done, Joely!

 

We have had so many inspirational designs it proved difficult to choose just one.  That is why instead we are opting to use a combination of ideas from various entries to ensure everyone who entered will leave a positive mark on campus.

We are currently working with a local artist to bring all of these together and we hope that the work to transform the tree will begin during July.

Our runners-up are:

Rosie Smith

Lauren C Maltas

Tilly Jacques

 

Hue Owen

And a special mention to those who entered from Bright Beginnings

 

Leeds Living Labs One Year On

 

The first ever annual report is here for Leeds Living Labs.  Get involved!

What is Leeds Living Labs?

Since launching in May 2017 Leeds Living Lab has grown from concept to reality.  It currently has 9 significant collaborative research projects including the Air Quality Living Lab and Living Waste Living Lab.

The projects begin at the university campus, giving support and capacity where the university can provide.  Once the project has grown big enough to sustain itself it leaves the Living Labs to grow and develop on its own.

Think of a project like a goldfish: it’s nourished and fed, until eventually, it moves to a bigger bowl to grow.

Working Together

Living Labs is about collaboration. Bringing together those who wouldn’t normally consider collaboration or those that have considered it but were unsure where they can obtain that support.

It brings together students, academics and professional staff to co-produce innovative and transformative solutions to real-world sustainability challenges using the Leeds campus as testbed.

Branching different disciplines of knowledge is a real benefit of Living Labs.  Because of these different levels of knowledge from different background together it helps maintain sustainable improvements.

Why are we sharing this?

We want to spread the message far and wide: Leeds has a Living Labs and it’s setting an example!

There’s an opportunity here to get involved and share the mutual benefits with us.  Whether internal or external to the University of Leeds we want to welcome everyone to take part and get involved with current and future projects either as leaders or participants!

What if I’m not with the University of Leeds?

We still want to share our learning with you.  Tell us what you’re doing and come to us with questions. We’re always innovating, pioneering and looking to build our network.

Sustainable Commutes: University of Leeds Travel Survey Results

As part of our ongoing blog series for National Clean Air Day, Sustainability Project Officer Claire Booth discusses the University of Leeds Travel Survey results. You can read our previous blog entries here and here.

Every year, the University of Leeds undertakes a Travel Survey to provide a snapshot of how staff and students travel to campus. The results feed into our Sustainable Travel Plan, which helps us to achieve our aim to foster a student and staff body where sustainable travel is the norm, while reducing the associated negative impacts of travel such as congestion, carbon emissions and air pollution.  The results can also help us to assess the availability of workplace facilities, such as showers and cycle parking, and inform us of opportunities to make improvements and to better promote sustainable travel options.

Sustainable travel includes walking, cycling, car sharing or public transport. From the Travel Survey results conducted earlier this year, we discovered that over 75% of staff and an impressive 95% of students travel to the University in a sustainable way. That’s a really great result.

 

While over seventy percent of students walked or ran to the University as their main mode of transport (the main mode is the one they travel furthest by), only seventeen percent of staff commuted in the same way.  Between 5 and 10 percent responded that they cycled to work and a quarter of staff said that they drive into work.

The modes of travel that we choose to travel to and from the University have a direct impact on local air quality. Opting for a low or zero emission mode such as walking or cycling – or using mass transport such as bus, train or car sharing – reduces both the individual and collective impact of air pollution, and plays a part in improving air quality levels in the city.

Air pollution comes from a range of sources including transport. The main contributing pollutants from vehicle emissions are carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, hydrocarbons and lead. Each pollutant behaves differently and has varied effects on our health, which makes air quality is a complex issue to manage and control.

 

But we want to keep making improvements.  This is why we are offering a free breakfast for National Clean Air Day for all staff and students who travel sustainably.  Join us tomorrow outside the Student Union from 8.30am onwards and make your pledge this National Clean Air Day.

Tweet us your pledge @Uol_Sus.

For more information on the Leeds Living Lab for Air Quality, which is driving projects that limit exposure to poor air quality, visit: http://sustainability.leeds.ac.uk/the-living-lab/airquality/