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.
Northumbria has obtained Gold in NUS’ Green Impact, an accreditation scheme to help Unions share best practice and improve their environmental impact.
What is Northumbria doing?
Our Aims This Year
As well as working to retain our NUS Green Impact accreditation, we want to work with students on three areas;
- Healthy Planet, Healthy You; To cover personal health and wellbeing from fitness to healthy eating.
- Saving Money; Through environmental activities, students also incur lower costs; travel such as cycle to University, walk, car share through to reduce/reuse/recycle messaging and upcycling.
- Education; How sustainability applies to a students’ curriculum / aligning to work the University is starting to do
Consulting with students
Understanding what students think of sustainability and how it applies to their life shapes what we do.
Environmental policy and annual plan
This guides us in our operations and decision-making. This can be found in the Policy section of our website.
Measuring our Impact
To understand if we are making a difference, we have identified the areas where our services have the most significant environmental impact and how we seek to reduce or minimise that impact. This can be found in the Policy section of our website.
NSU achieved NUS’ Green Impact 2017 Quality Assurance, a measure of our work in minimising and reducing our environmental impact especially within the building
Sustainability in Catering
We endeavour to reduce the impact of our catering services by:
- Providing a range of Fairtrade products
- Promoting alternatives to meat through our Meat Free Monday offer
- Provide both reuseable and biodegradable crockery
- Reducing plastic waste by removing straws from the front of the bar. Although each straw is small, in large numbers they have a significant impact on landfill and cannot be recycled. We recognise that some students need straws and they will always be available on request.
Volunteering and Societies
Students interested in environmental volunteering can search our volunteer module for opportunities throughout the year.
We also provide plenty of opportunities for ethical and environmental volunteering at our Christmas and NSU/Community Volunteering Weeks. Find out more at NSU/Community. One of the criteria in our Society Recognition Scheme encourages student groups to get involved in this area
We are pushing the University to do more to offer drinking water on campus and ensure its food suppliers meeting environmental standards. We have also asked them to take work forward regarding a divestment policy to. You can find out more about NUS Fossil Fuels campaign at the People and Planet Page.
To make it easy for you to recycle your clothes and unwanted items we have a year long partnership with British Heart Foundation and their Pack for Good campaign. Simply bring your items to the Students’ Union foyer where you will see the big red Pack for Good deposit points, put the items in one of the bags provided and we will arrange for British Heart Foundation to come and pick it up for recycle or sale through their shops.
Click here to find out more about how to save your unwanted items from landfill all through the year.
Northumbria University has a range of different activities for students – you can find out more at the webpage.
The University also takes part in Green Impact and every year recruits a number of students as volunteers to help in its auditing process. If you are interested email firstname.lastname@example.org
What 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.
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! Donate spare things to charity – the Union will be running an awareness campaign at the end of the year to help you donate stuff you’ve bought this year but don’t want to take home.
Recycle: This one’s really basic: when you have waste or rubbish, please recycle. The University has loads of recycling bins across campus and in halls to make it easy for you! At the Union we can recycle books at our book drop off and lending shelf in Escape on the First Floor, batteries and stamps at the Welcome Desk.
Get involved: If you’re interested in doing more than a little bit, you can do lots of things:
1) Visit NSU/Community to see the options for volunteering
2) Join one of our political societies lobbying for change.
3) Take part in snap it off! A website where you can upload your pictures of wasted energy, to help it be resolved more quickly. See it in action at snapitoff.nus.org.uk
4) Think about walking more – there are several sites such as walkit.com/going-green/ which can help map the best route for you.
5) Bring your batteries, books and stamps to the Union City Campus for recycling and reuse
6) Try one of the online swap shops instead of throwing away such as this one for Books www.bookmooch.co.uk
7) Make sure you know your recycling bin collection days – here is the link for Newcastle
8) For larger items and stuff not for the bins, know where your local recycling centre is – here is the link for Newcastle
9) Apply to take part in the Union’s environmental management board. Contact the President at email@example.com
10) If you have any ideas or suggestions on how the Union can do more then please contact the President at firstname.lastname@example.org.