USSU builds on past achievements to gain a Green Impact award

This year, we’ve been delighted to work with the University of Salford Students’ Union. They’ve helped us with hosting events, promoting Green Impact and connecting with students. In addition, they have completed the University of Salford bronze award criteria in record time. The team are looking forward to competing in the nationwide inter-union Green Impact programme next year, and we’ve welcomed their participation so far.

Jessica Hildyard, Marketing Manager for USSU, writes about how completing the workbook has been a way to consolidate the journey they’d already begun towards a greener workplace.  She explains that it was her personal interest in waste management and staff communications that got her keen to take part:

“Marketing seems to generate the most amount of waste at the Union, the majority of being unnecessary or through a lack of awareness. This was something I could control and we have since implemented a ‘digital first’ strategy, working to move away from producing so much paper based resources. It’s also as easy as how we manage our internal communications, reminding staff about the small measures towards energy savings, sustainable travel options and recycling.  The process  took me and my digital marketing assistant one afternoon to research, implement and discuss our Green Impact activity and look at how we could make changes easily.

We were lucky as we already hold a culture of eco or sustainable practices, so there are many ingrained or process-led Green activities that the Union does anyway. We just needed to think about what we were doing, formalise the process and ensure that all staff actually had awareness of why it is done this way and then provide evidence for this in the online workbook. We had already started working with sustainability team running events such as the eco art competition so it was a matter of logging this activity in the workbook.

I spoke to each of my managers and the CEO to understand each of their processes when prompted by the workbook categories. I then took steps to showcase these with staff using a posterboard in a lesser used hallway but one that is frequented by staff and activity groups. Our NUS membership means that the majority of catering and retail purchasing we do is already classified under the ethical supply chains set by NUS so we were already committed to sustainable food and product sale without even knowing it! We just had to be aware of this and we plan to highlight this as part of the Union’s ambitions for Silver accreditation next year.

I considered our strategic plan for 2014/15 and how we could apply Green Impact awareness and processes to new activities and logged those for next year. Next year we plan on adding our ‘digital strategy’ and eco mug initiatives outcomes into our workbook to aim higher and move beyond bronze. I have also drafted some new ideas into our Welcome week plans to emerge new and returning students into the Green Impact ethos from the beginning of their time here.”

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