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.

 

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/

 

 

 

Four Reasons to Leave the Car at Home

 

It’s time to keep the car in the garage.  It may seem convenient but what are the real consequences of taking your car to work?  Does your commute have a real impact on the air around the city? And are there any real benefits from taking public transportation? Here are 4 benefits of swapping the car for a train.

1: There’s Less Air Pollution

Being in such close contact with stop starting cars is a fast track way to take in air pollution, being in close contact with exhaust fumes, even inside a car risk those fumes entering your body. And not just through breathing.  Most Air Pollution can enter your body through your skin. The particles are that small.

Those who take public transport are less exposed to air pollution than those who take personal transport to work every day. This is in part due to the stop-starting cars from traffic in and around the city.  Choosing sustainable modes of transportation not only allows for cleaner air for the city but also for your lungs.

2: It’s Cost Effective


If you’re commuting from a distance it may be time to think about commuting by train to the city centre.  Not only will you save money by using less fuel, but you will also allow your car to have a longer life.  The more you use your car the more maintenance it requires.  This includes tyre replacement, oil refill, windscreen wash and these just the basics.  If you’re unlucky you could create serious wear on your car and need some severe maintenance work that could go into the hundreds.

By choosing public transportation it not only allows you to have spare cash at hand but also takes away the stress of daily car maintenance.   The worry of whether you have fuel in the car will be gone.  The only thing you’ll need to think about is what book you’ll be reading that day.

3: It Gives you Personal Time


If you have a long work day then it’s made even worse my commuting into the city centre through motorways and nonstop congestion. And being behind a wheel requires constant focus, attention and care.

Use that time on your commute instead to unwind, close your eyes and reflect on the day ahead or the day gone by. There’s an opportunity within that commute to shorten your work day by letting your brain unwind by switching off and recharging.  It not only improves overall wellbeing but gives you time to be in the moment and not worry about the world around you.

4: It’s Leisure Time

There may have been time when you can listen to the radio or listen to a podcast but not only is it sometimes difficult to hear what is said over the noise of the outside traffic but you will also find that you’re never truly focussed on what’s being said if your eyes are on the road.  Let alone how unsafe it is to have your attention elsewhere while driving.

You may be on your way to work but it doesn’t mean you need to be working.  That precious commute time you can have by leaving your car at home can be spent catching up on your favourite book, learning something new, or reading up on the daily news and events.