Celebrating Sustainability at Leeds

Leeds has won an award for embedding a collaborative approach to sustainability across all aspects of the University curriculum.

At the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN) conference earlier this month in São Paulo, Brazil, the Leeds Sustainable Curriculum, led by the University’s Sustainability Service, received the Whole Systems Approach Award.

The award recognises sustainable campus projects that have excelled at integrating sustainability into the culture, education, research and operations right across the University’s Schools and services.

The ISCN is an association of more than 80 colleges and universities from more than 30 countries, which aims to support the global higher education sector as a leader in sustainability.

Dr Louise Ellis, Sustainability Director at Leeds, said: “Winning this award is a reflection of the hard work of a number of different people across the University, including staff from research, teaching and professional services.

“Working in collaboration has been the key to our success. Our approach to the curriculum reflects the wider University approach to sustainability – looking at the whole picture rather than individual projects.”

Victoria Smith, interim Executive Director of the ISCN, said: “It was so affirming and inspiring to see the quality of submissions we received.

“The award winners demonstrate outstanding leadership for sustainability in higher education and we are thrilled to showcase their work and highlight the global importance of their contributions.”

The Leeds Sustainable Curriculum aims to embed sustainability into all undergraduate and postgraduate courses. This includes offering over 130 modules as part of its Creating Sustainable Futures Discovery Theme. The modules allow students from all disciplines to explore the environmental, social, cultural and economic issues facing society, looking at how they can be tackled from a local and global level.

The Leeds Sustainable Curriculum is intrinsically linked to the Living Lab programme, bringing together students, academic and operational staff to research sustainable solutions to real-world challenges using the University campus as a test bed.

The improved Roger Stevens Pond at the University of Leeds

One of the Living Lab’s recent success stories includes the refurbishment of the Roger Stevens Pond (pictured, above). In autumn 2018, the Living Lab brought Estates Services together with academics and students from the Schools of Biological Sciences, Geography and Civil Engineering to create a space for teaching and research.

The University of Leeds Sustainability Service has exciting plans to develop the Leeds Sustainable Curriculum even further next year. Keep up to date with its progress along with other staff and student opportunities here.

Further information

  • For additional information, please contact University of Leeds Media Relations Manager Anna Harrison via a.harrison@leeds.ac.uk or +44(0)113 34 34196.
  • The ISCN provides a global forum for universities pursuing sustainability across their educational and research missions, and operations. ISCN Members commit to sustainability principles according to the ISCN Sustainable Campus Charter. Founded in 2007, the ISCN features international awards, conferences, and working groups to promote best practice exchange. More information on the ISCN and its Members can be found at http://www.international-sustainable-campus-network.org/

Sustainability Awards 2019 – Results!

Last night the University hosted the Annual Sustainability Awards 2019 to celebrate the incredible work our staff and students do to create positive change across campus and further afield. Our staff and students have helped us create a university that embeds sustainability through knowledge, engagement, collaboration and innovation.

There are eight awards categories; each covering a different aspect of the broad spectrum of Sustainability at the University of Leeds. The first four awards are based on the themes from our Sustainability Strategy . We then have the Sustainable Purchasing Award and, new this year, the Single Out Award given to those going above and beyond to support the #2023PlasticFree Pledge. The final two awards are our student-only awards. Below we have congratulated our winners alongside their award.

Embedding Sustainability through Collaboration

Winner: James Hamilton

Runner up: The Public Engagement with Research Team for Be Curious

Runner up: Jonathan Busch for his work with the Climate Workshops and establishing the Discovering Sustainability journal.

This award recognises staff or students who have shared skills, ideas or resources across the campus to ensure sustainable practices and values are embedded into the culture of university. James  won due to his hard work educating his colleagues in engaging lunchtime sessions, making sure sustainability training is on all job descriptions and introducing glass milk bottles to the office.

The Building Knowledge and Capacity

Winner: The Priestley Centre

Runner up: Kashmir Kaur for her Language in Context – Sustainability Module

Runner up: James McKay for his dedication to teaching colleagues and school children about sustainability

This is awarded when a project or initiative is focussed on educating staff or students on sustainability, using campus as a Living Lab and sharing expertise across campus or the local area. The Priestley Centre stood out, by teaming up with 3 other northern universities to take Climate Chats out into public spaces in Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester and York during Green Great Britain Week. They translated science into art, music and poetry to engage with the public and their rising concern about climate change. Furthermore, climate researchers were rapidly mobilised to attend the Youth Strikes for Climate Action to answer the striking school children’s questions – Ask a climate researcher.

Being a Positive Partner in Society

Winner: Sustainability Into Schools

Runner up: Save a Life Team for their working teaching staff and students basic lifesaving skills

Runner up: Alex Bamji, Viktor Doychinov and Alistair Hay from Health for their volunteering work giving academic support for young people from disadvantaged children.

This award recognises people who have made Leeds a happier and better place to work and live. The winner was the Sustainability into Schools programme which increases awareness of sustainability issues in primary schools across Leeds and gives pupils the tools and knowledge to live more sustainable lifestyles.

Making the Most of Resources

Winner: Roger Stevens Living Lab Team

Runner up: Residential Services for their work recycling and donating mattresses.

Runner up: Daniel Preston for his work teaching colleagues about low-waste lifestyles and hosting lunchtime litterpicks

The final award from the Sustainability Strategy’s themes is Making the Most of Resources. This celebrates staff and students that have implemented policies, ideas or encouraged behaviour changes to ensure efficient and effective resources management. A campus favourite, the Roger Stevens Pond, won. An exemplary living lab example, this has brought together academics and grounds staff to build a biodiversity haven on a concrete Grade II listed building in the city. Already used by ducks and fish, we look forward to seeing what will be attracted there in the future.

Sustainable Purchasing Award

Winner: Charles Morris Hall

Runner up: Antony Wilkinson for his research into replacing washing machines with more sustainable alternatives

The Sustainable Purchasing Award congratulates someone who has encouraged best practice and innovation in University purchasing. Charles Morris Hall installed a Purex system, which cleans water without chemicals, removing 86% of chemical previously used on site.

Single Out Award

Winner: Alumni Team

Runner up: stage@leeds for making their bar completely single-use plastic free

Runner up: Richard Jones from Devonshire Hall Kitchen for his work removing single-use plastics

The Alumni Team claimed this award for their intuitive efforts, getting involved with the Sustainability Services to replace the plastic envelope with paper, saving over 900kg of single use plastic per quarter.

The Student Co-curricular Award

Winner: Ruth Trainor

Runner-up: Ryan Higlett, for his extensive involvement with Sustainability into Schools.

This award highlights stand out student-led non-curricular work which has had a positive impact across the campus or Leeds community. Ruth Trainor won due to her organisation of Sustainability Week, hosting talks, events and presentations involving stakeholders from the University and beyond.

The Student Curricular Award

Winner: Hazel Mooney

Runner up: Jonathan Teasdale for his impressive presentation about sustainable fashion at the Student Sustainability Research Conference

This award can include any original work at the University of Leeds that has taken place this year. Hazel Mooney took this award for her dissertation, researching the intrinsic value of trees in urban areas. Jonathan Teasdale was awarded runner up for his presentation at the Student Sustainability Research Conference, highlighting the waste created in fashion and designing a waste-free clothes pattern.

Blueprint Awards

Furthermore, this academic year has been the first for the new staff engagement scheme Blueprint. We were excited to award 16 teams with either ‘Working Towards’ or ‘Explorer’ for their work. The Sustainability Service works with teams to scope out their potential impacts and opportunities in order to produce an action-plan bespoke to their team. To get your School or Service signed up please contact Sustainability@leeds.ac.uk

 

We would like to thank Bright Beginnings for their exquisite table decorations, made from reused materials. We’re incredibly grateful for the time staff voluntarily take to create these awe inspiring sculptures, to meet our demanding brief. We would also like to thank Catering Services for the delicious vegan food they provided.

 

 

Sustainability in Catering Services: Healthy Week 2019

Hi, I’m Katy, and I’m approaching the end of my term as Student Sustainability Architect for the University catering service. My main aim in this role has been to encourage Refectory customers to reduce their meat consumption, and instead opt for some of the delicious plant-based options served on the Green & Go and Tossed Salad counters. Recent research has shown the importance of reducing meat consumption, particularly ruminant meat, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, water use and land use. A focus on meat reduction has recently been implemented into Great Food at Leeds’ Sustainability Strategy as a result of my work!

My recent project has been to implement this sustainability focus into Great Food at Leeds’ offering for the 2019 Staff Healthy Week. Between the 17th-21st June, a free piece of fruit will be available with every vegan meal, and the Green & Go counter will be serving only vegan meals for the entire week. Additionally, a Street Food Hut will be outside the Refectory all week, serving fresh and delicious vegan meals. This will be a huge step forward for Great Food at Leeds in working towards its new sustainability goal. Reducing personal meat consumption is an achievable goal for everyone, and we hope that this year’s Healthy Week offer will inspire customers to eat more meals with vegetables as the main focus.

I’m excited that planetary health and personal health are being combined for 2019 Healthy Week. Please visit the Refectory and our Street Food Hut outside the Students’ Union between the 17th-21st June and buy a delicious plant-based meal to support sustainability in catering at the University of Leeds!

 

Colour Hyde Park – Photography Competition

Colour Hyde Park is our brand-new, collaborative mural project!

We are working with Leeds Inspired, Leeds City Council, Leeds Beckett University and local artists to create six community murals celebrating the natural beauty and diversity of Hyde Park and our community. Our mural artists have come from many different backgrounds across Hyde Park and their incredible work strongly reflects the spirit of our community.

We are looking for a keen photographer to help us document this great project. You will be photographing the murals through mid-late June and our launch party on July 25th. The material produced will be used on our website and social media communications as well as a Mural Map we are creating.

To enter for the chance to photograph the project, and to win £200 worth of kit or a voucher of your choice, please send up to 6 photos of your own previous work to r.l.flett@leeds.ac.uk.

The deadline for all submissions is midnight 16th June . For any further questions please email r.l.flett@leeds.ac.uk.

Moving Out Checklist

End of year can be a hectic time for students. Exam season has ended and already you need to pack up your things and move on to a new house or depart Leeds for good. Before your thoughts turn to taking time off, having a holiday and seeing family, take a little time to prepare for your move and save yourself some money and hassle in the process!

To help take the stress and hassle out of moving out we’ve created a handy moving out checklist. It includes tips on where to find your nearest glass recycling, where you can donate your unwanted stuff and last minute things to consider before you hand back your keys.

1. Leave Leeds Tidy 

Consider donating your unwanted stuff instead of throwing it away. Drop off any unwanted at one of the end of year collections running in residencies, the local community and campus.  You can drop off any furniture, clothes, kitchen goods, electricals, non-perishable food and anything else that you no longer need! Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for updates on collections near you (#ASmoothMove) or check the Moving Out map http://bit.ly/MovingOutMap

2. Dispose of your rubbish properly!

Did you know that every year, over 70 truckloads of waste is produced on changeover day alone?! And a lot of this can end up littering the streets and gardens which also means your landlord can charge you for extra cleaning. Take care of the environment (and your wallet) and make sure your housemates stagger your rubbish disposal times so bins don’t overflow. Use the Leeds Bin App here to find out what should be put in each bin!

3. Recycle your empties

Been hoarding glass in your garden with the intention of recycling it?   Put those good intentions in to practice and take your glass to your nearest bottle bank. (No you can’t put them in your green bin!) Download the Leeds Bins app to find your nearest. https://datamillnorth.org/products/leeds-bins/

4. Leave only empty cupboards behind

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 drop off any none perishable food at one of the city’s collection points. See the Moving Out map for details of where you can find your nearest. http://bit.ly/MovingOutMap

5. Who does all this stuff belong to?

Starting to regret not having done any cleaning this year? To have any chance of getting your deposit back it’s time for everyone to muck in and get things sorted.  Work out a plan with your housemates how you will divide up the tasks, sort out who owns what and clean communal areas.  That includes your garden and outside spaces!  It’s a good idea to agree a day that you can all get together and clean up before everyone starts disappearing.

6. Make some extra cash for the summer

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. http://sustainability.leeds.ac.uk/being-a-positive-partner-in-society/your-community/

7. Take meter readings

A few weeks before you move out, contact the utility companies and let them know that you will be closing the account soon. On your final day take your meter readings, inform the companies to close your account and give them a forwarding address to send the bill. Do keep a record of the meter readings. Once paid, make sure you send proof to the landlord/agent. 

8. Protect your ID

Shred any documentation with your personal details on it. Identity thieves are known to go looking through bins as well as looking for any opportunistic open doors and windows to help themselves to your laptop.  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 see Leeds 

It’s not too late to take advantage of your free time in Leeds to go to one of city’s many great summer festivals and attractions. Looking for ideas on what you can do? Check out the following link which lists what’s going on! https://confidentials.com/leeds/things-to-do