Sustainability in the Curriculum: LUBS Commercial and Professional Skills Module Update

This year, Masters students taking the Commercial and Professional Skills module at Leeds University Business School were given the opportunity to work with the Sustainability Service as part of a consultancy project!

Posing as internal consultants, student groups were tasked to review the student and staff awareness of sustainability initiatives across the University and develop recommendations that could improve people’s knowledge of the Sustainability Strategy and what they can get involved in.

After initial meetings with members of the Sustainability team, groups went away and collected data using a questionnaire to gain a better understanding of people’s sustainability knowledge and activities that are already taking place. They also reviewed specific areas of engagement by the University, using their results to highlight gaps for improvement and make recommendations.

The student’s proposals ranged from utilising social media trends and behaviours, to increasing visibility on campus, and tailoring campaigns for specific audiences.

This is just one of the ways we are integrating sustainability into student learning as part of our commitment to giving all students the opportunity to study and be involved in sustainability.

Student Consultancy

Goodbye from this year’s Student Architects – Emma

I have been lucky enough to be one of the University’s Sustainability Architects this year. This opportunity has allowed me to gain a greater insight into the sustainability initiatives at the University, supporting projects with like-minded people, all from different backgrounds but with the same passion and desire to find sustainable solutions to the many challenges we face.

This experience has allowed me to further my knowledge within sustainability and develop valuable professional skills and experience. I found working as a close team and developing ideas together very successful. Team meetings were one of my favorite elements of the role which were always engaging and motivating (a refreshing break from studying!). One of the key things I learnt was that sustainability is a massive challenge within Universities, but I was overwhelmed to see and be involved in the efforts and the progress here at the University of Leeds.

One of my core projects throughout the year, was promoting and encouraging sustainable dissertations to students. This is an area in which I feel there is great scope within the University, and I am excited to see this develop further with some of the ideas we have been working on. One of the suggestions is to create a sustainable dissertation archive on our website. The archive would have a bank of past student’s sustainable dissertations which others could use to gain inspiration and ideas, and contacts for any further support.

The Student Conference on Sustainable Futures is also something I would promote to anyone looking for dissertation inspiration. Sustainable dissertations are something I have become very interested in over the past two years. I believe it is a great opportunity to invest a long period of time into exploring something that can significantly benefit society in some form. I chose to produce a sustainability themed dissertation based on a personal interest and a desire to contribute to sustainability regarding the future of textiles. My research has benefited me as an individual and significantly changed my process as a designer which has opened up a realm of new opportunities for me. By seeking sustainable alternatives, I have found more advanced solutions and more environmentally friendly ways of working. My passion is finding sustainable alternatives to pigments or dyes in coloring textiles, through bio-mimicry (the imitation of nature). I plan to keep researching within this area with the desire of making this a more commercial coloration process. One of the best things I have learnt and been inspired by during my role and my research is that you don’t have to study a directly sustainable degree, everyone can be sustainable and find more sustainable (and more exciting) ways of working within their discipline.

My role as an architect and working with the sustainability team really helped me develop my ideas and gain confidence in presenting my research. I had the opportunity to present my research at the Sustainable Futures Conference which was extremely successful and really built my confidence with public speaking. The conference is a great networking opportunity which I encourage everyone to get involved with.

I am privileged to have been a part of the team for the past year and have thoroughly enjoyed my experience. The sustainability service has an exciting future ahead and I believe it is one of the most valuable services within the University. Many thanks to everyone in the team who has encouraged, supported and inspired my sustainable journey. The experience has been a pivotal step in preparation for my career as a designer, and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity.

To end on the most valuable thing I have learnt throughout the year; sustainability brings benefit not sacrifice.

– Emma

Goodbye from this year’s Student Architects – Matt

My time as a Student Sustainability Architect is coming to an end and it seems odd to be reflecting on this year as it’s flown by so quickly!

My primary responsibility for the year was to increase the integration of sustainability in dissertations – in line with the University’s concept of a ‘living lab’ and the Sustainability Strategy theme of Building Knowledge and Capacity. This materialised in the form of the ‘Building Knowledge and Capacity Student Award‘, which rewards students for their brilliant and innovative dissertations in the field of sustainability. I’m thrilled to have been a part of setting this up and hope that, as it grows and develops, students from disciplines that are on the peripheries of the sustainability agenda are encouraged to contribute.

The inaugural Student Conference on Sustainable Futures in February has to be my highlight from this year. It was such a vibrant and engaging day that I am confident will continue to be hugely successful in the coming years – especially if the amazing catering carries on!

The last things to do are to thank the team at the University’s Sustainability Service – particularly Josh and Claire, whose enthusiasm and tireless work has made it a joy to work with – and to say good luck to next year’s Architects who I’m sure will continue to do great work and be agents for change.

– Matt

Creating Sustainable Futures Module – Key Findings 2017

The award-winning Creating Sustainable Futures (CSF) Discovery Theme is a collection of optional curricular modules that students can take alongside their degree subject to broaden their knowledge of the social, economic, environmental and cultural aspects of sustainability.

Each year, students taking the ‘Introduction to Creating Sustainable Futures’ module apply what they have been learning to real world use, collecting sustainability data from across campus as part of their practical group work assessment.

Back in October and March, 57 students undertook a ‘travel’, ‘waste’, ‘energy’, ‘Fairtrade’ or ‘community’ themed project over the course of a week. From assessing the University’s bicycle storage capacities and route accessibility, to gaining a better understanding of people’s perceptions of the University’s positive and negative impacts on society, teams collected data from all corners of campus, capturing a snapshot review of sustainability at Leeds.

The data collected is fed back to the University Sustainability team to help create a timeline of recordings and supplement other audits that take place throughout the year. Student’s data collections not only provide hands-on experience of sustainability in practice, allowing them to put their understanding of issues into context, but also present the University with extremely useful information on current sustainability trends.
Some key findings from semester two’s groups included;

  • Of the 269 empty teaching and communal spaces that were assessed as part of the Energy Project, 47% of them had their lights switched on when not in use.
  • 2/3 of the 75 people surveyed as part of the Fairtrade project were unaware that the University of Leeds is a Fairtrade institution, but half were recorded as understanding the importance of supporting Fairtrade.
  • For the Waste project, 86 recycle bin opportunities and their locations were recorded across the 8 buildings that were audited across campus.
  • 89% of respondents to the Community project questionnaire agreed that Leeds’ international research contribution has a significant positive impact on society.

This module is just one of the ways we are helping deliver our Sustainability Strategy commitments of integrating sustainability into student learning. We intend to further increase the take-up of the Creating Sustainable Futures modules by students from all disciplines, helping them to understand the fundamentals of sustainability and how it applies to their future careers.

University Sustainable Garden Featured on Leeds List

The University of Leeds Sustainable Garden has recently been featured in Leeds List’s 7 Secret Things That Only Leeds Locals Know About article.

The Sustainable Garden was created in 2013, and is open to staff, students and members of the public. Regular gardening sessions can be viewed on our events page and are open to all.  These sessions allow volunteers to learn new skills in growing food and to inspire people to try it at home. The food is intended to be picked; instructions of what can be picked, and how to pick, are clearly signposted throughout the garden with a bespoke ‘traffic-light’ system.

To read more about the garden click here.

7 Secret Things That Only Leeds Locals Know About

Sustainability Awards 2017

On Wednesday 7th June the University held the annual Sustainability Awards, celebrating the work that has gone on this year and the people that have contributed to creating positive change on campus and further afield.

The evening began with a drinks reception and a performance from the staff choir, before Louise Ellis – Director of Sustainability, introduced the event.  In the first half of the evening, Vice-Chancellor – Sir Alan Langlands presented the Sustainability Awards, followed by a delicious vegetarian dinner. The evening concluded with the Green Impact Awards, introduced by Director of Facilities, Dennis Hopper, and presented by Sustainability Intern, Becky Ewan.

The winners of the Sustainability Awards were:

Embedding Sustainability through Collaboration

Staff winner: Grounds and Gardens

Student winner: George Middlemiss

Building Knowledge and Capacity

Staff winner: The Priestley International Centre for Climate

Student winner: James Patrick Glover-Ochiltree

Being a Positive Partner in Society

Staff winner: Georgina Binnie for the Writing Back Project

Student winner: LUUMIC (Music Impact in the Community)

Making the Most of Resources

Staff winner: Re-use at St Marks Residences

Student winner: Ravi Toor

Team winner: Olivia Miller and the Cleaning Services Team

The Sustainable Purchasing Award

Winner: Chris Askew, PCB

We also presented 36 Green Impact Awards!

Congratulations to all winners and nominees, and a special thanks to all who attended and made the night a huge success.  More information about the event can be found here: sustainability.leeds.ac.uk/sustainability-awards-2017/

 

Clean Air Day 2017

The UK’s first National Clean Air Day took place on Thursday June 15th. It was a chance to improve air quality in and around Leeds through various events, initiatives and schemes both on and off campus. The University encouraged all staff and students to commute to campus through low carbon, active travel methods such as walking, biking and lift sharing, in return for a free healthy breakfast and bike maintenance session. The day was a great success for inspiring positive change across the University.

End of Year Checklist

End of year can be a hectic time for students. In your hurry to pack up and move out, consider the alternatives to throwing away all of your unwanted stuff. The changeover period has a huge environmental and social impact on the local community with over 300 tonnes of waste being thrown away every June.  Most of which could be recycled, reused, donated or sold. Here are our top tips to help with end of year and moving house.

1. End of year celebrations

Even if your party is a one off, your neighbours are still not going to appreciate being kept awake. Particularly local kids who will be revising for their GCSE and A-level exams.  Read More.

2. Recycle your empties

Take your glass bottles and jars to your nearest bottle bank (No you can’t put them in your green bin!) Download the Leeds Bins app to find your nearest.

3. Feed people not bins

Check if you need to buy any more food.  Use up what you have stored away in the cupboards and freezer before buying any more. If you have any food leftover at the end of year, call around to your neighbours and see if they would like it or donate it to the All Hallows Community Café.

4. Who does all this stuff belong to?

Sort out who owns what and give things a quick clean. It will make things easier in the panic to pack up and move out!

5. Sell what you don’t need

Sell your unwanted textbooks, clothes, electricals and media and get some extra cash for the summer. See our Living in Leeds Guide for more information.

6. Donate what you don’t need

Drop off any unwanted furniture, clothes, kitchen goods, food and anything else that you no longer need at one of the end of year collections in residencies, the local community and campus. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for updates on collections near you.

7. Take meter readings

Do this on the day you move out and avoid any extra charges!

8. Keep safe and secure

Shred any documentation with your personal details on it. Identity thieves are known to go looking through bins. It’s also not a good idea to store all of your possessions in a car overnight as it will get broken in to.

9. Get out and get active

Go along to a local festival before you leave. There are many great events happening around the city to go to. See the Visit Leeds webpages for more information.

10. Rate your landlord

Tell other students of your renting experiences this year through Rate Your Landlord.

11. Before You Go Feedback

Before you go for a summer break, we’d like to hear about the highlights of your year living in Leeds and your ideas for how the University can help students to be active and responsible members of the local community and enjoy their time in the city. Complete our survey

 

 

 

 

 

The Real Cost of a Party

COS-Thumbs-Up-logo-small

Creating noise nuisance can not only lead to hefty Council fines and a disciplinary from your institution but it could also be costly in repairing any damage to the property you rent if you hold parties. With the use of social media it’s now easier than ever to spread the word about a party you’re hosting and you risk dozens of strangers turning up and attracting the wrong crowd who won’t respect you, your property or your belongings. Once a large crowd gathers it is very difficult to disperse everyone and as a tenant you will remain liable for any damage caused by the guests- even if you did not know them.  Remember, you are not only paying for the repair itself but also the contractors time which can be very expensive- some examples of costs to expect would be;

Filling and painting over one damaged wall; £60 plus

New carpets; £500 plus

Professional clean; £50 plus

Replacing a broken sofa; £450 plus

If you are not towards the end of your tenancy your landlord can demand you pay for these costs straight away and if it is towards the end of your tenancy you risk losing your deposit altogether and being taken to court for any remaining charges.

It is very common for landlords to request references before allowing you to sign a new contract- remember to bare this in mind because even after you have paid for the damaged property your landlord would still have to be honest when asked if they would consider you a trustworthy tenant.  Some landlords require references from the previous five years so this could have a major impact on you for a long time to come.

Studying is very hard work and it is expected you balance this with a good social life but if you have friends around remember to limit the number you invite and only invite people you trust.  Speak to your neighbours and let them know to contact you if they are disturbed by noise from your property. Leeds offers a wide range of bars, pubs and clubs and it is a much better idea to go to these for a party rather than risking the consequences noise nuisance can bring.

Unipol

The Brownlee Centre and Bodington Cycle Circuit now open!

 

Bodington Playing Fields had a £5m investment in 2017 to create world class sports facilities. It is home to The Brownlee Centre which is the UK’s first purpose-built triathlon training centre and sits alongside a 1 mile (1.6km) cycle circuit, one of the longest in the country.

Alongside the cycling and triathlon facilities, there are a large number of sports pitches which are regularly used by students who are part of our Leeds Gryphons Sports Clubs and Social League Teams as well as staff members and the local community. Bodington Playing Fields are located just three miles north of the main University of Leeds campus and compliment the nearby Sport Park Weetwood.

The 1 mile (1.6km) cycle circuit is one of the longest in the country, providing a safe traffic free environment for cyclists of all abilities, and a good place to head out for some fun on your University of Leeds hire bike!