As an ethical Students’ Union, Northumbria recognizes the impact its operations have on the environment and also its role in both reducing its own impact, lobbying others to in turn reduce their own impact and empower students to campaign for and volunteer in environmental areas.
What is Northumbria doing?
Northumbria holds NUS’ Green Impact accreditation (Good), a national scheme that to help Unions share best practice and improve their environmental impact. The Sabbatical Officers work closely with the University to ensure we play our part in making the campus a sustainable and healthy place to be, sitting on the University’s Sustainability Management Group and raising issues for students.Environmental considerations are embedded in our corporate plan with a commitment to deliver on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals in a form that is meaningful to the student experience at Northumbria.
Facts and Figures
- All our electricity is from 100% renewable sources.
- All our waste is either recycled or goes to incinerator which in turn provides power back to the national grid.
- All our printing is done through a carbon capture scheme, where trees are planted to offset the carbon used in the printing [insert Norther Print solutions logo]
- Our coffee and food outlets provide a range of crockery and recyclable containers as well as wooden cutlery to reduce plastic waste
- All clothing we provide volunteers and staff is manufactured to ISO 14001, the international standard for environmental manufacture and WRAP certified.
- All lighting in the Union is LED and on a timer and dimmer to reduce consumption.
- We carefully monitor building usage and on a weekly basis adjust the building management system to reduce energy usage in quiet times.
- We welcome students to be part of the Union’s Sustainability Working Group which ensures we continue to reduce our environmental impact
- We do not use plastic bags at any point through the year
- You can recycle batteries at the Union Welcome Desk and, on our first floor, we have an eco-book share where you can deposit and take away books
- Our plans to reduce, reuse and recycle in all areas of our operations can be found in the Policy section of the website
Our work this year - addressing the climate emergency
- In September and October the Union supported the Climate Strike on campus with events by Extinction Rebellion and the Universities and Colleges Union to raise awareness amongst students.
- The first Student Council of the year (17th Oct) passed a motion recognising a climate emergency and committing the Union to work towards being carbon neutral and to lobby the University to adopt the same position.
- The Representation Conference in Oct ran sessions for academic reps to understand how to introduce climate issues into their educational work
- In November we provided students the opportunity to speak directly to the senior University staff responsible for environmental issues. You can read a copy of students views here [insert Sustainability Go out and Listen Day report]
From this work we agreed with the University to
- Run an awareness raising campaign about recycling on campus to help students understand the importance of using the right means of disposing of waste
- Highlight that paper printing at Northumbria has fallen 16% last year through increased use of blackboard, e-journals and electronic submissions
- Highlight that carbon emissions have fallen 48% in the past four years at Northumbria
- In December we hosted a General Election Candidates’ Q&A. Electoral candidates from all the parties took questions from students on their parties’ position for the environment.
Unfortunately our term 2 and term 3 work to gather student views on how they want to see Northumbria respond to the climate emergency and awareness on recycling have had to be cancelled due to COVID 19. We will continue this work in 2020/21.
Another annual activity we have had to cancel is the Pack for Good campaign which would provide students with points to donate unwanted items at the end of the year rather than they go to landfill.
Newcastle Council waste collection services are operating throughout lockdown and waste sites are now reopening with controls. Students are encouraged to use those sites when looking to remove items at the end of their tenancy.
How can students get involved in 2020/21
We have three societies focused on different aspects of sustainability and the environment
Busy Bees Society
Extinction Rebellion Society
Vegan and Vegetarian Society
Don’t see anything that appeals? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help you bringing your passion for change to life.
Student Consultation / Influencing University and Union policy
If you have a view on what actions the University or Union should be taking in respect to the environment and campaigns please contact the President, Emmanuel Kabengele at email@example.com.
Students are welcome to get involved in the Union’s Sustainability Working Group which agrees our annual impact plans and work. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
What else can you do?
Reduce: As a Students’ Union and a student body, we have a responsibility to ensure that our energy footprint is as small as possible. You can take some really simply steps to do this:
Make sure you turn off taps when you’re done with them (tea lovers, only fill the kettle with the amount of water you actually need) Switch off computers, televisions and other new fangled technology when you’re done as well. (80% of wasted electricity comes from things being on standby, btw)
Resist the urge to just whack up the heating, even if you have all inclusive bills. Wear a jumper, or better yet, snuggle with a friend
Think about walking more – there are several sites such as walkit.com/going-green/ which can help map the best route for you
Re-use: Everyone has things that they don’t use, that fester away in corners. If you’re not using things, don’t throw them away where they will go into landfill!
Bring your unwanted books to our Eco-Library, on the first floor in Escape, City Campus and take a new book for yourself.
Recycle: This one’s really basic: when you have waste or rubbish, please recycle.
Click here to find out more about how to save your unwanted items from landfill all through the year.
If you live in private accommodation make sure you know your recycling bin collection days – here is the link for Newcastle collections