Let Nature Sing Event

On the 17th of October, together with the Sustainability Team our student ambassadors from the Living Lab have put on a Leeds Campus Bird Survey, in celebration of the RSPB Let Nature Sing takeover.

The Let Nature Sing takeover is part of the RSPB nature recovery campaign, aiming raise awareness on the challenges faced by bird populations today. Over 5,000 locations across the UK have taken place in Let Nature Sing takeover, playing bird song in offices, parks and even public transport. Here at Leeds, our team decided to take it further and we encouraged people to join us for a walk around St. George’s Field, identify birds and listen to bird song.


Photo by Karolina Zarzyczny

We had a fantastic turn out with multiple students offering to volunteer on the day to help guide the bird walks. The best thing about our event was that it was open to everyone! Our participants ranged from skilled birders to nature lovers which haven’t had the chance to hold a pair of binoculars before. It was a great opportunity to get out of the office, enjoy the fresh air and gain some bird identification skills. Over the two walks, we have identified 18 different bird species both from visual surveys and by bird song (credit to one of our skilled participants!). The data collected will contribute to the ongoing biodiversity surveys around the campus and will help inform future Biodiversity Action Plans.

If you would like to find out more about how you can get involved in monitoring our campus biodiversity, email: sustainability@leeds.ac.uk

 

 

 

 

The University of Leeds Climate Plan

The University of Leeds is calling for staff and students to contribute towards the University Climate Plan. 

Leeds cityscape

What’s the University doing about the Climate Crisis?

In September, the University of Leeds confirmed its role as an international leader in climate research and innovation by releasing its 7 bold principles to address the climate crisis. This includes divestment from traditional use of fossil fuels, a commitment to a 2030 net-zero carbon footprint target, and a drive to achieve no direct carbon emissions by 2050.

What is the Climate Plan?

The Climate Plan is being created to set out bold commitments and actions that will deliver our response to the climate crisis. As well as net-zero by 2030, we’ll encourage net-zero where we have influence, use research to find solutions and ensure our students can learn about the climate crisis.

We need you!

We have organised a Climate Plan Roadshow and invite all staff and students to come and provide feedback on the emerging Climate Plan themes. We’ll use this feedback to finalise the Climate Plan which we aim to publish in the New Year. There will also be an opportunity to find out how our research is contributing to net-zero emissions targets locally, nationally, and internationally.

The Climate Plan Roadshow will take place at the following locations:

Click here for the Facebook event page.

We need volunteers!

If you are interested in volunteering at one of our stalls, please apply here: https://sustainability.leeds.ac.uk/volunteering-registration/

If you are unable to attend the events, you can still contribute towards the Climate Plan by filling in the online survey which will be launched on 25 November.

Sign up to our newsletter to stay up-to-date.

Which UN Sustainable Development Goals does this opportunity align with?

This opportunity aligns with all 17 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and in particular goals 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), 13 (Climate Action) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals). For more information on the goals visit sustainabledevelopment.un.org.

University of Leeds Baby Bank Collection 4-8 November 2019

The University of Leeds will be collecting items for the Leeds Baby Bank charity from 4 – 8 November 2019.

Please donate postnatal and baby items at the following locations:

  • Refectory Foyer – for larger items
  • Parkinson Information Desk
  • Business School Café
  • Affine – Nexus
  • FD Building
  • Café 7 – Worsley Building
  • The Edge

ITEMS NEEDED:

Sealed nappies, wipes, dried / liquid baby milk, dried / tinned baby food up to age 5, sealed bottles and dummies, home safety equipment, educational toys, sanitary and maternity pads, breast pads, Moses baskets, cots, prams, safety gates, baby monitors and high chairs.

ITEMS NOT NEEDED:

Clothes, soft toys, used mattresses, bottles, dummies, potties, opened toiletries

FAQs: https://leedsbabybank.org/faq

For queries, please contact Maria Quantock: m.quantock@leeds.ac.uk

NUS Skills Survey

We want to hear from you!
Have your chance to win £500 cash!

All University of Leeds students can be in with a chance of winning £500 by completing our online confidential survey about your time at university and the skills you develop for getting a job.
The short survey, which is being run in conjunction with the National Union of Students, will take about 15 minutes to complete. The closing date is 10th November 2019 and students will be entered into a draw to win £500 or one of 10 £50 runner-up prizes.

To take part in the survey log on to www.nus.org.uk/uni-skills

National Union of Students logo

Leeds Sustainable Curriculum Placement Blog – James Bate

Having just completed the MSc Sustainability and Consultancy course within the School of Earth and Environment, I was delighted to be selected to work on the Sustainable Curriculum Programme on a part-time basis working with Kelly Forster and Thom Cooper. I believe that education can change the mind-set of a generation, therefore by embedding sustainability within the curriculum, students will be engaged with environmental issues and equipped with the knowledge and skillset to apply sustainability in full-time graduate employment.

As I studied BA Geography, I have been aware of sustainability throughout higher education, but this placement made me realise that sustainability is related to all academic disciplines in different ways. As a result, the placement involved developing resources for the various schools and faculties across campus, highlighting the links between certain subject areas and sustainability. In addition, the placement aimed to improve understanding of sustainability for staff who may not have heard of the Sustainable Development Goals, sustainability on campus Leeds and the Leeds Living Labs.

It has been a pleasure working in the Sustainability Service office, learning more about some of the amazing sustainability projects taking place across campus. Following the announcement of the ‘Climate Crisis: Principles for Action’, the university is making huge steps in ensuring the student body is engaged with sustainability, in part thanks to the expanding curriculum programme.

Plastic Free Auditors

Help us to deliver on the #2023plasticfree pledge and remove single-use plastics from campus! 

We are looking for volunteers to contribute to achieving this ambition by delivering a plastic audit within your school or faculty. Help us to understand the scale of single-use plastic within your school/faculty,  help raise awareness of the pledge within your school and suggest alternative solutions.

What You Will Gain

  • Industry knowledge of sustainability in practice
  • Learn about single-use plastic within the University operations
  • Knowledge of environmental management techniques of offices and academic institutions.
  • Insight into effective engagement and communication methods.
  • Your contribution credited in your  Leeds for Life Higher Education Achievement Record if you complete 30 hours or more on any of our projects.
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Organisational skill
  • Ability to support and encourage others to perform.
  • Leadership skills.
  • Time and project management skills.
  • Auditor skills.

Time commitments

Each audit will take 1-2 hours and you can help us with as many surveys as you would like to be involved with. at least, can repeat the process as many times as desired

Get Involved

If you are interested in our plastic-free auditor role complete our online application form. Once signed up with the sustainability volunteering programme you are free to get involved in any of our projects.  For more infomation get in touch with Lucy at L.Stuart@leeds.ac.uk

Which UN Sustainable Development Goals does this opportunity align with?

This opportunity aligns with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly goals 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) and 13 (Climate Action). For more information on the goals visit sustainabledevelopment.un.org.

Climate Crisis: Our Principles for Action

Today the University has committed to bold climate crisis action.

 

We have developed seven principles which will guide our action towards a low carbon future, including a target of net-zero by 2030 and investment withdrawal from fossil fuel extractors.

Read the whole article on the main University page:
http://www.leeds.ac.uk/news/article/4471/university_commits_to_bold_climate_crisis_action

Student Architects 2018/19: Final Project Blogs

Our 2018/19 Student Sustainability Architects have come to the end of their year with us. In their posts below, they give an overview of what their projects have achieved as well as some insights on what they have gained from their time with us.

If you are interested in applying to be a Student Sustainability Architect in 2019/20, please visit sustainability.leeds.ac.uk/student-sustainability-architects to find out more.

Katy

Since October I’ve worked with Great Food at Leeds as a Student Sustainability Architect, delivering a campaign aimed at reducing staff and student meat consumption in the Refectory. For a number of years I’ve had a personal interest in how individual food choices can affect the planet, especially with regard to meat consumption, so being able to run a project focussed around something I am so passionate about has been great.

Undertaking some survey research with a team   of volunteers in the Refectory outlined the customer demand for a move towards more plant-based meals also. Therefore, I have spent my time since these results promoting the exciting meat-free options that the Refectory already offered, as well as lobbying for the introduction of more vegetarian options. This culminated in Great Food at Leeds’ contribution to the university’s 2019 Healthy Week in June, where plant-based eating was the main focus area. Approximately one-third of the meals sold during Healthy Week were vegan, which was a huge success! I hope that next year’s promotion is as successful as this year’s.

I’ve learnt a lot during my time in this position. Although running a project with little experience was initially daunting, the experience has been invaluable. As someone who wants to work in sustainability in the future, it’s been great not only planning and overseeing my own sustainability project but also getting a deeper insight into the work that the Sustainability Service do more widely. Additionally, conducting a small sustainability project within a large organisation has been really useful for me to understand the challenges facing the implementation of sustainability projects. Despite the steep learning curve and challenges along the way, I believe that my experience in this role will help me progress in my future career in the environmental sector. I’m so grateful for the opportunity and hope that the Refectory’s focus on meat reduction continues far beyond my time in Leeds!

Lulu

My time as a Sustainability Architect has been a journey. Not only has this role reaffirmed my passion for sustainability but it has provided me with more personal goals for the future. The journey began with big ideas to transform the way students took part in and engaged in sustainability. I wanted to further my knowledge of delivering sustainable projects and supporting sustainable goals.

I had previously said in my first blog post as Sustainability Architect ‘I hope I can encourage others to engage with sustainability projects, discussions and aim for it to make a personal contribution to your life’. This goal still holds true today and my role this year has helped me realise some of the goals I set out in the beginning. I have been able to engage students in discussions about sustainability and offer further insight and information in the process.  Over my term as the student citizenship architect, I have aimed to further the conversation of plastics to fellow students through a film screening, student-led discussion panel and podcast. I have also helped the wonderful sustainability services team in their pursuit to tackle student consumption waste and waste in the local area through various activities this year.

I have gained an incredible insight into what it takes to plan and develop goals into reality. The time and effort it takes to hopefully make a change however big or small. Sustainability to me goes beyond what I study and my personal interests. It is a topic that affects all areas of life, even more so now than ever. My role has allowed me to make some contribution to the dialogue of discussion needed and it is my aim to continue to do so. The University of Leeds Sustainability Service – particularly Amanda have truly helped me shape my journey with vision and more knowledge.

I wish all future Sustainability Architects the best of luck and hope they enjoy the experience as much as I have done.

Nicola

This year I have been privileged to work as one of the Student Sustainability Architects working with the Halls of Residence. My main projects have included setting up food waste recycling in flats at Devonshire Hall and organising two British Heart Foundation (BHF) pop-up shops at the University to encourage students to shop more sustainably (i.e. from charity shops).

I also had the opportunity to take over the University of Leeds Instagram account for a week as everyone was moving out of their accommodation at the end of the year. The main messages were about donating your unwanted items to charity as well as a few top tips on how to make moving out easier. This was a daunting experience, to begin with but also a fantastic opportunity to relay some really important messages to a large audience and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience (once I’d got used to being on camera).

If you’re coming (or coming back) to Leeds in September, on the 30th September the British Heart Foundation will be holding a massive pop-up shop outside the Union building. Buying from charity shops not only raises money for that charity but it is also a much more sustainable (and cheaper!) way of getting all the things that you need for your time at University. Please come along!

Working with the Sustainability Service has been a fantastic experience and I have gained a lot of experience that will no doubt help me in my future career. I am also leaving with a renewed enthusiasm to pursue a career in sustainability. I would like to thank everyone in both sustainability and residential services for this opportunity and for their support. I would strongly encourage anyone wanting to work in sustainability to consider applying to be a Student Sustainability Architect during their time in Leeds.

Rory

During my year as the Blueprint Architect, we have seen some incredible achievements with the launch of Blueprint, Leeds’s new sustainability engagement scheme, taking place in October. We signed up over 30 schools and services to commit to their 5-year Sustainability plan and currently have 7 teams live with their Blueprint’s fully functional. The journey of seeing these teams brought onboard as pilots to trial the scheme, to the point we are at now, with another 7 teams ready for sign off by heads of the department has been a fantastic experience. The reach of Blueprint since its launch is a testament to its’ success which we have had reiterated to us in the positive feedback from talking to teams while carrying out workshops and scoping sessions.

As part of my role we have created a tailormade Sustainability scheme which can be implemented across the whole University, the work I have done with teams developing the consultation process and design of the Blueprint has been particularly satisfying to see the advancements in methods and results of our new programme. The future is bright for Blueprint and we can look forward to bringing on board and running productive workshops with more schools and services to unite the university on joint Sustainability projects.

One of the things I have been involved with this year is aligning the Blueprint scheme with the University’s Sustainability strategy. This has been an opportunity to align the sustainability work of the individual department’s around University to our long term plan in Sustainability. The Blueprint process has also been made into a full team effort, we wrote the Blueprint manual over the course of the year which explains exactly how we carry out the process as well as all the findings and actions we have created from the trial and error over the course of our Blueprint pilots and more recent Blueprints.

The experience has been a long road of learning from mistakes on how to run workshops, how to score impacts and opportunities and interact with teams to maximize our time and benefit to departments. It’s been a pleasure to see through the work which I began, to the point of it being fully operational and functioning. Blueprint has been time-consuming, had ups and downs and been stressful, but most of all I am proud of the work I have contributed to the current project and excited to see where it takes us as a department and the potential for the sector within Sustainability to create bespoke Sustainability planning. It’s a pleasure to sign off from the University after two fantastic years knowing we have created a fabulous new engagement scheme and in the knowledge, my contributions have helped shape what Blueprint has become. Over and out.

Dave

Well, that was quick! It seems like the other day when I was writing a blog at the start of my time as a Student Sustainability Architect and now I am reflecting back over the year.

I joined the team just before the announcement of the university’s pledge to become single-use plastic-free. This was an incredibly ambitious commitment as I soon came to realise. I had two primary tasks over the course of the year – to find out what (and how much) single-use plastic there was on campus, and to discover success stories of people or places that have already introduced initiatives to reduce single-use plastic.

I found that the university uses an incredible amount of single-use plastic – laboratories alone bought over 1 million items from just one of our three main suppliers – but there has already been some amazing work done to eliminate this plastic with the Stage@Leeds becoming single-use plastic-free and 180,000 disposable coffee cups saved through the implementation of the KeepCup system.

This role not only allowed me to help in the fight against unnecessary single-use plastic, it also opened up many more experiences and opportunities. I was lucky enough to present some of my research at the Sustainability Conference, I had access to additional seminars on a variety of professional skills, I took part in climate workshops, and I happily embarrassed myself in an Instagram Live Interview! The range of experiences and development opportunities available was amazing and very enjoyable.

Last but by no means least, I want to thank all of the sustainability team – and particularly my great supervisors Thom and Lucy – for all their support and enthusiasm (and letting me steal their desks). It was amazing to meet a group of people so committed to making the university a better place. Thank you too to Kelly for helping all the Architects throughout the year and good luck to all those Architects for next year!

Chloe

My year as a Sustainability Architect has flown by! I have thoroughly enjoyed it and have both seen a lot behind the scenes in the Sustainability Department of the University, and learnt a lot about how biodiversity is approached when looking at developments on the campus and in the residences.

Over the course of the year, I have surveyed eight of the University’s residential sites- Ellerslie Global Residence, Back of Cromer Terrace, Henry Price Halls, Charles Morris Halls, Lupton Halls, Devonshire Halls, Springfield Mount Residences and Lyddon Hall. These are all very different- from the very traditional grounds of Devonshire which have strong historical links, to the large open courtyard of Lupton, to the individual gardens of Springfield Mount and the small areas of grass around Lyddon. It was interesting and enjoyable to walk around the sites with a base map and mark on the areas of each different habitat I could find.

After converting the data into a digital map, I inputted this information into the Biodiversity Tool, which produces a value for biodiversity for each site. This is an arbitrary number which reflects the size and range of habitats on the site, as well as how good for biodiversity the different habitats are. This is really useful, as if developments take place at the site, it can be resurveyed and a new value calculated, which will allow developers to see if they have met the same standard of biodiversity as previously. Excitingly for me, three of the residential sites had their grounds improved, allowing me to compare the biodiversity values before and after. For each of the sites, the value greatly improved, which proved to me that biodiversity is a key consideration when developments take place at the university.

Using the information I had gathered, I produced Biodiversity Action Plans for each site, which give goals and targets for the sustainability and residential services to take into account in years to come. Suggestions I have put forward for the sites range from conducting an insect survey to building some wetland areas.

This project has improved my ability to identify different species of plants a great deal, as well as being able to categorise habitat types and recognise which ones are particularly beneficial for wildlife. It has been interesting to see biodiversity through the eyes of many different stakeholders, and better understand the challenges that are faced when developing the grounds of the University with biodiversity in mind. I would thoroughly recommend anybody takes the opportunity to be a student architect, as it is a brilliant way to meet new people and do something completely different!

 

Work Experience Blog: Fred

 

Hi everyone,

My name is Fred and I currently attend Beckfoot School. This year, we were offered the chance to go out on work experience at a place of our choice just before we break up for the summer holidays. Luckily, I was accepted by the Leeds university sustainability team. For the next week I will get to understand what they do in order to make sure the university is as sustainable as possible.

On my first day here, the first thing I got the chance to see was the bike hub set up all around the university campus. I learned that while here, it is cheap and easy to hire out or lock up bikes within the vicinity of your work place. Also, if you have any problems and need help fixing your bike, then there is a workshop in the afternoon three times per week where Romain, a member of the sustainability team, will be able to talk you through the procedure of how to replace or repair parts of your bike or fix it for you. I got the chance to help out with repairing some of these bikes and really enjoyed learning how to do it. I now know how to replace a tyre, check for a puncture, and repair faulty breaks.

On my second day, I went to a conference lead by Yorkshire Water. At this conference I got to learn bits about the six capitals (financial, natural, manufacturing, social and relationship, human and intellectual) and how businesses, like Yorkshire Water, have to decide how to implement these into the way that they run their business. I found this experience very interesting because I had the chance to see what happened at these kinds of events and meet some of the people who attend them. I also had the chance to research the kind of activities that went on due to the work put into the living lab.

On day 3 of my work experience, I had the chance to look through the SDG’s that the sustainability team have to think about when they are planning any projects. The SDG’s are basically goals that the university has to try and meet set up by the UN. The sustainability team will then provide evidence of where they have reached each of these goals which are expected of them. I had to set up the template for them to then input all of the evidence that they had acquired over the year where it will then be ranked against all of the other universities that have signed up to this.

Later on, I got to go and look around the garden to see what had been planted by the students, I also got to hear about what was planned to happen with the garden later on in the year. I enjoyed this because I got to see what some of the university students did in their free time.

On my fourth day of work experience, I began the day by talking to some of the sustainability team about what they had done in their careers so far. I found out about some of the courses they had taken at university and what jobs they had done prior to joining the sustainability team. I found this very useful because it gave me an idea of some of the opportunities I will have when I go into work. I also got some tips from them about what to look for in a job and what to think about when I am picking a course to do at university.

I also had the chance to learn about the student sustainability conference from last year, which had been put on by the sustainability team in order for them to learn about the sustainability of the world or show off any presentations about research they had done recently. They also get to listen to a talk by someone famous on sustainability. My job was to think of any ways I thought that they could improve this conference or anything that I thought they could add to it.

On my final day here with the sustainability team, I joined some of them while they had an introduction to the “team” app this morning. I really enjoyed this as it was a lot of fun trying out all of the different things you could do on it and gave me a chance to see what kind of things the people working at the university use.

In the afternoon I had to answer some questions on what a new university student starting here would want to know about and look for before they start here. There were also some questions on what the student would want to know about sustainability before joining. This was interesting for me because it made me think about what I would want to know about a university before choosing it.

Overall, I have really enjoyed my time here with the sustainability team and would like to thank them for the experiences I have had here with them and how they have helped me along with all of the tasks I have done here, especially Kelly Forster for organising all of this for me and letting me come along.

 

 

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/