University’s first Green Impact awards take place
(The following appeared as a news story in the US staff magazine on 17 June 2014)
The efforts of colleagues who are concerned about environmental issues such as global warming have been recognised at the University’s inaugural Green Impact Awards, which took place on Thursday 5 June.
Teams across the University have been making positive changes to improve the sustainability of their workplaces since Green Impact launched in November.
These range from replacing bottle-fed water coolers to running Switch-Off campaigns and reducing paper use – small steps towards a greener working environment.
Teams have reported a number of positive outcomes, including getting to know colleagues better, greater understanding of environmental sustainability and empowerment to adopt energy-saving behaviours at home as well as work.
The initiative also offers an opportunity for students to train as part of the support team, audit their achievements and interact with staff in a variety of settings – all of which enhances employability.
Charlie Spring, who has been coordinating Green Impact at the University, said: “It’s easy when sitting at your desk to forget that the Arctic icesheet is melting, climatic disasters are rising and people’s crops, water and other natural resources are under increasing threats from climate change.
“While we have a long way to go to meeting our carbon reduction targets and getting the kind of participation necessary to address this enormous challenge, Green Impact is a way to open the conversation and recognise that many small actions do add up. If every staff member made the small changes required to win a Green Impact award, we could save many thousands of pounds and many tonnes of carbon.”
Involvement in Green Impact has created more links between students and staff as well as raising awareness of the work of the Sustainability team, which has resulted in new recycling facilities and support for students to launch their own campaigns and projects.
Charlie added: “It has been a challenge – not everyone is open to making the kinds of changes Green Impact suggests. On the whole, however, the collective nature of the programme has got teams discussing our environmental impacts and sharing the responsibility for addressing them.”
The efforts of teams across the University have now been recognised at the Green Impact Awards ceremony, where Registrar Vikki Goddard presented recycled slate trophies (pictured above)
Seven teams won Bronze awards – Governance/Estates, Receptions/Security, Advancement, Castle Irwell Student Village, CLV Student Village, Students’ Union, Environment & Life Sciences.
Teams from SURF Centre and Sports Centre scooped Silver awards but were just pipped to the post by Computing, Science & Engineering and Energy House, who won Gold (pictured right).
Five Special Awards category winners were announced, who will receive their trophies at the University Day event on 17 June.
“Green Impact is about harnessing everyone’s potential to take positive actions – and getting recognition for their efforts,” said Charlie.
“I’ve been really impressed with the engagement of the teams that have taken part so far. Green Impact is a great way to work together to feel comfortable while saving energy, which means saving costs.”
To find out more about taking part in Green Impact, please email Bec Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org.