London Student Sustainability Conference 2024

London, a city bustling with energy and innovation, is once again at the forefront of a movement towards a more sustainable future. As the global climate crisis looms ever larger, the need for action has never been more urgent. In the heart of this vibrant metropolis, students from universities across the capital gather for the London Student Sustainability Conference 2024, a beacon of hope and catalyst for change. 

This year we had many University of Greenwich members participate in the conference in the form of presenting, steering, volunteering and attending. Look forward to a few blogs to give you the inside scoop of what the conference was like! 

Sustainable Tourism: Unveiling Challenges and Opportunities in The Gambia 

By Ousman Jawneh Jawara


My name is Ousman Jawneh Jawara, a third-year student pursuing a BA in Tourism Management. I was thrilled to be selected to present my project, “Tourism in Gambia: Challenges and Opportunities,” at the London Student Sustainability Conference hosted at Imperial College in London. This research topic has been a source of inspiration for me for over six years, shaping not only my academic journey but also my commitment to contributing to sustainable tourism development in my home country. 


The Gambia, nestled in the heart of Africa, boasts a rich tourism history, abundant natural resources, UNESCO heritage sites, stunning beaches, and a delightful climate. Despite its small size, tourism plays a significant role, contributing 20% to the national GDP and fostering overall develop

ment. However, this growth is not without challenges, including climate change, environmental degradation, economic leakage, and a lack of comprehensive tourism policies. 

Research Rationale: 

My project aims to delve into the reasons behind the frustration in tourism development in The Gambia despite its vast natural resources. Key questions include understanding the draw factors for tourists, the impact of tourism on households, and its contribution to the national economy. Additionally, the lack of academic research in this area motivates this study, aiming to bridge the existing gap in knowledge. 

Passion for Sustainable Tourism: 

What compelled me to present at LSSC24 is the deep-seated passion, love, and dedication I have for my country. I am committed to achieving sustainable tourism development through research and promoting responsible tourism that not only benefits the economy but also safeguards our planet and involves local communities. Representing my university at this level is an added honor and responsibility. 

Interest in Sustainability: 

My interest in sustainability is rooted in its role as a solution to preserve our planet and its biodiversity. With a professional focus on tourism management, I comprehend the negative impacts associated with tourism and value the three pillars of sustainability – economic, social, and environmental. Embracing sustainability aligns with the UN’s 2030 agenda of meeting present needs without compromising future generations’ ability to meet their own. 

Collective Effort for a Sustainable Future: 

The mantra, “Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” underscores the importance of collective efforts. I advocate for increased awareness through educational campaigns and the integration of sustainability in development policies, ensuring equal opportunities for future generations. 


I extend my heartfelt appreciation to Dr. Fatemeh Mohamadi, my project supervisor, for her unwavering support throughout the presentation process. Special thanks to Andres Coca Stefaniak for inspiring me with his knowledge on sustainability, Samantha Chaperon, Lauren Siegel, Isabella Ye, and to all the dedicated lecturers from the Department of Tourism and Events. 

In sharing my research, I aspire to contribute to the discourse on sustainable tourism, fostering positive change in The Gambia and beyond. 

Embracing Sustainability and Student Leadership: My Journey as a Volunteer at LSSC24 

By Ishan Thakkar

Hello, I’m Ishan Thakkar, a dedicated student pursuing International Business at the University of Greenwich. With a fervent interest in sustainability and a deep appreciation for nature, I am always on the lookout for opportunities that allow me to make a positive impact. My journey as a volunteer at the London Student Sustainability Conference 2024 (LSSC24), hosted at Imperial College London, was a testament to my proactive approach and commitment to environmental stewardship. 

As I sit down to pen my thoughts on my recent volunteering experience at the LSSC24, I am filled with a sense of pride and fulfilment. This marks my second year of volunteering at this prestigious event, and with each passing year, my passion for sustainability and student leadership grows stronger. 

The decision to volunteer at LSSC24 was driven by a deep-seated belief in the importance of sustainability and a desire to actively contribute to its advancement. Having volunteered at last year’s conference, I was inspired by the impactful discussions, innovative ideas, and unwavering dedication of both presenters and participants towards creating a more sustainable future. It was this inspiring environment that motivated me to return for another year of volunteering. 

At LSSC24, I served as a volunteer, assisting presenters and organizers in ensuring the smooth execution of the event. From setting up venues to guiding attendees, every task was undertaken with enthusiasm and dedication. One of the most rewarding aspects of volunteering was the opportunity to engage with presenters and learn about their sustainability initiatives firsthand. Their passion and commitment to driving positive change left a lasting impression on me and reinforced my belief in the power of collective action. 

As the day progressed, I found myself immersed in thought-provoking discussions and insightful conversations during the networking event. Interacting with fellow participants from diverse backgrounds provided a valuable opportunity to exchange ideas, perspectives, and experiences related to sustainability. From discussing innovative solutions to pressing environmental challenges to forging new connections and collaborations, the networking event epitomized the spirit of collaboration and collective effort that defines the sustainability movement. 

Proudly student-led and organized by ten universities, LSSC24 showcased the collective efforts of students in addressing sustainability challenges. The commitment of the Student Delivery Group was evident in every aspect of the conference, infusing it with a student perspective and ensuring its success. 

Looking ahead, I am very much inspired by my experience at LSSC24. It has reaffirmed my commitment to sustainability and ignited a newfound determination to make a meaningful impact. Therefore, I am excited to announce that I will be working on my own sustainability initiative over the coming year. My goal is to develop a comprehensive project that addresses a pressing sustainability issue and showcase it at the upcoming LSSC25. I eagerly anticipate becoming one of the presenters as well. I am eager to contribute to the ongoing dialogue on sustainability and to inspire others to join me in taking action towards a more sustainable future. 

In conclusion, my experience as a volunteer at LSSC24 has been transformative. It has not only deepened my understanding of sustainability but has also empowered me to become a proactive agent of change. I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity to be part of such a meaningful event and am excited about the journey that lies ahead. With determination and passion, I am confident that together, we can create a more sustainable world for future generations. 

My experience in the Student Delivery Group at LSSC24 

By Michelle Kossowski

My name is Michelle Kossowski and I am a first-year international law student from Canada. I joined the university’s Sustainability team as a volunteer in September 2023. Ever since then, I have supported Clothes Swap events and was a member of the Student Delivery Group for the London Student Sustainability Conference 2024! I am drawn to the sector of sustainability because improving the environment has a direct effect on people’s quality of life. I believe sustainability is not just about improving the current quality of life, but ensuring it keeps to a high standard in the future. The issue of fast fashion interests me because I often see my peers making unsustainable fashion choices due to the rapidly changing trend cycle. I hope to educate others on the social and environmental impacts of unsustainable fashion. I am also intrigued in the intersection between sustainability and law because the law can be a mechanism to prevent environmental misconduct. I heard about the opportunity of joining the Student Delivery Group from the sustainability team at Greenwich. It was immediately a group I wanted to be a part of because I wanted to connect and network with like-minded individuals. I also was interested in this event because it highlighted the ambitious ideas of young people who truly believe teamwork will lead to a greener planet. My first meeting with the Student Delivery Group was electric, as we all had ideas about the event. It was a diverse and welcoming space to give and receive feedback. I settled as the conference’s Social Media Manager and my responsibilities were to create promotional content and content on the day. The opening ceremony of the conference was already filled with excitement and hope.

A highlight of the ceremony was a speech given by Dr. Omnia El Omrani, who is a Climate Change and Health Junior Policy Fellow at Imperial College London. She talked about her work in promoting a health-focused approach to sustainability across the world and how she presented youth efforts on climate and health at COP28 UAE. This set an inspirational tone for the day! Although I was running around the building with the student photographer getting the perfect shots for social media, I found the time to sit down for a presentation. I listened to Niso Khamraeva’s presentation, “Saving the Aral Sea,” which focused on a region of the world that was completely new to me, Karakalpakstan. She discussed the gender and climate impacts of the community’s diminishing water source and finished the speech with the insightful question: “If every specialist brought with them a bucket of water, would the sea be filled again?” After the presentation, I went to conduct short interviews with the workshop leaders. It was a comfortable atmosphere and the lecturers I spoke with were open about their experiences and motivations surrounding the LSSC24. Attending the LSSC24 was an enriching experience to learn more about sustainability from a student perspective and I intend to foster all the connections I made 

LSSC24: Creating opportunities for students to shine 

By Fariha ‘Faz’ Ahmed

Hi, I’m Faz Ahmed, Sustainability Projects Assistant at The University of Greenwich. I became a part of the UoG fabric around 5 months ago and one of the first tasks I got given was to be involved in the London Student Sustainability Conference 2024. Now, in all honesty I had never heard of this conference (which is shameful considering I just recently graduated in sustainability from a London university), so I turned up to the meetings with very little clue and first-day jitters. 

But what I found was an inspiring group of higher education professionals gung-ho in creating the best and most impactful experience for students interested in a topic near and dear; sustainability.  

Steering group leader, Arthur Shearlaw, spear-headed the event to what it is, ensuring everyone was on the same page, and doing a lot of the less than exciting work; the dreaded admin. I was lucky to have UoG Sustainability Manager, David Jackson to hold my hand through the process and make me aware of the ins and outs. Apart from these shout-outs it was just wonderful to meet such an eclectic group of varied people ranging from lecturers, sustainability professionals and people new to higher education, just like me, who were truly enthused to share their knowledge and experiences in sustainability. 

Now, when it comes the actual event, I made the rather rash decision to manage the student volunteers who so kindly gave up their time to make the event what it was. If I’m being honest, the role did make me want to scream at times, especially when I was running around like a headless chicken on the day. However, the screams quickly turned into smiles once I met such a broad range of young, passionate students with real interest in contributing to how our world is shaped.  

The experience was incredible, and I’ll leave it at that. 

The Annual Sustainability Awards 2014

On the 7th November the Sustainable Development Unit hosted its Annual Sustainability Awards to celebrate the achievements of the those taking part in the National Green Impact projects as well as other sustainability achievements. Below we announce the winners, share their achievements and say thank you for their efforts.



Green Impact Bronze Award

The Bronze award in Green Impact is awarded to those who have completed all the Bronze criteria within the Green Impact workbook. This is often the hardest section to complete as you have to set all the ground work going forward and get people on board. The winners of the Bronze award 2014 are:

Information and Library Services – Chris Gallagher

Student Union University of Greenwich – Ana Lopez

Information and Library Services Drill Hall Library – Jim Skinner and Jody Belcher

Accommodation Service Greenwich – Heather McGlinchey

Humanities and Social Science – Kathryn Holt

Vice Chancellor’s Office  – Elizabeth Bell


Pictured right to left: Chris Gallagher, Ana Lopez and Jim Skinner

Green Impact Silver Award

Building upon the Bronze the Silver award requires departments to engage senior management, create a sustainability pledge, and actively involve students in sustainability within their department. The winners of the Green Impact Silver Award are:

Information and Library Services Mansion Library – Carol Rostek

Greenwich Research and Enterprise – Lara Everest

Recruitment and Admissions are awarded Silver with Honours  in recognition of the department going beyond the Silver criteria – Alice Coyle


Pictured right to left: Carol Rostek, Neil Cormack-Bissett representing GRE and Alice Coyle.

Green Impact Gold Award

To achieve the Gold award departments must complete all three awards section and often they go way beyond this with some extraordinary actions.

The winners of the Green Impact Gold award are:

Human Resources – Liz Laurence and Anna Radley who achieved Gold and set up a project with the local foodbank that allows University staff and students to donate food and other items to support their community.

The Office of Students Affairs  – as well as coordinating the first triple Gold from across all the campuses OSA have been instumental in the annual Swap Shops that take place as part of Green Week.

Greenwich – Norma Powell, Sara Ragab, Jenny Peart and Edgar Pereira Gutierrez

Avery Hill – Amanda Hatton, Julian Murphy, Adeola Napthal, Paul Rees and Sophie Clements

Medway – Angela Ware and Yvonne Pendry


Pictured from right to left: Liz Laurence, Norma Powell, Jenny Peart, Amanda Hatton, Julian Murphy, Paul Rees and Angela Ware.

Green Impact Platinum

The Platinum Award is awarded to the department that goes above and beyond by not only achieving the Gold award but building upon this by completing many of the bonus criteria.  The winner of this award went as far as completing every cirteria that they were eligble for! The winner of the Green Impact Platinum Award is:

Natural Resources Institute – Caroline Troy


University of Greenwich is one of over 50 HE Institutions taking part in the NUS national project of positive behaviour change.

Green Impact Excellence

The Green Impact Excellence scheme is designed to help high achieving departments that are wanting to step out of the Green Impact workbook and design their own projects. The Excellence projects have set to receive their final awards however, they were celebrated and thanked at the awards ceremony to highlight their great efforts. Below is a summary of some of the projects they have been working on:

The Business School – Mary McCartney, Sonia Mankad, Nithya Gopalakrishnan, Emma Gates, Sarah Sheikh and Amanda Bicott.

The Business School have been working on a number of projects to reduce inefficiency and move to paperless operations where possible. They have also been seeking to ensure that every new student in the school has been inducted into sustainability.

Natural Resources Institute – Caroline Troy and Roman Zipaj

The NRI have developed and Environmental Management Information System website that will allow all those involved with managing environmental risk and processes a one stop shop for everything they need. The website can also be used for Sustainability Champions to share resources. The website is now moving into the testing phase by different user groups.

Facilities Management Medway, Engineering Department and the Partnership Division – Richard Cottam, Wim Melis and Geoff Hallam

A partnership between perhaps an unlikely group of departments but linked by location and sustainability. These departments have started MedSAT (The Medway Sustainability Action Team) with the aims of helping sustainability projects and ideas progress with proper support and funding to ensure the longevity of the projects and good sustainability outcomes for the campus and the University.

Thank you to everyone who has taken part in Green Impact Excellence and I look forward to working with you on completing your projects.

Green Impact Laboratories Gold Award

One of the specialist Green Impact Workbooks is the Laboratories workbook that focuses on reducing the environmental impacts associated with high use laboratories. The 2014 Green Impact Laboratories Gold award goes to:

Natural Resources Institute 

Green Impact Catering Gold Award

The second specialist Green Impact Workbook is the Catering workbook that focuses on reducing the environmental and social impacts associated with high use catering outlets. The 2014 Green Impact Catering Gold award goes to:

Sodexo led by Paul Harvey and Lorraine Hudson

Loraine Hudson from The Dome, Avery Hill

Loraine Hudson from The Dome, Avery Hill

Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development at the University of Greenwich 2014

This award does not come around every year and is awarded to departments who have gone beyond anything asked of them and who hold sustainability as a core value of their strategy. This department have driven sustainability forward not only in their own department but through their mission.

The winner of the Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development Award is:

Natural Resources Institute

“NRI’s mission is to discover, apply and share knowledge in support of global food security, sustainable development and poverty reduction”

With special mention to the following:

Natalie Morley – “Going beyond her role as a laboratory manager, Natalie has made a positive impact at NRI and has taken on the responsibility of embedding sustainable behaviour within NRI’s labs. She has worked consistently to change operational procedure through recycling furniture for the labs, purchasing recycled lab consumables and recycled stationery whilst encouraging other departments at NRI to purchase the same, and trying to introduce peat free compost into NRI’s greenhouses.”

Charles Whitfield – “While still a PhD student with very limited technical time, Charles Whitfield was responsible or a major refit of both the NRI glasshouses and insectaries which is intended to significantly reduce energy usage in these power‐hungry areas. The renovations were a team effort between FM and NRI staff, but the continuous driving force for the project was Charles. During the planning stage, he carried out extensive research to ensure that there would be significant reductions in energy use while ensuring that the practical needs of NRI would not be impaired and costs would be reasonable.”

Sarah Arnold and Simon Springate – “Sarah and Simon  run short bee walks in the Medway area. For anyone interested in learning a bit more about bumblebees – and other insects – near the Medway
campus Simon and Sarah give up their own time to conduct short bee walks (approx. 1 hour) at the Lower Lines Park, Gillingham. The events consist of an informal walk around the Lower Lines Park (with all its wealth of historical interest as well as fantastic biodiversity), learning about the wildflowers, bees and other wildlife living in the park and how to identify some of them.” Please find out more by emailing

Frances Hawkes –  “Frances is a PhD researcher at the Natural Resources Institute, and is the first winner of the University of Greenwich ‘Student of the Year’ award. The energy she put into the
University and the community of Medway has contributed to improving the University’s environment, the well‐being of local children and the community as a whole. In‐between her studies Frances co‐founded the Universities at Medway Students’ Association (UMSA) Environmental Society, where she lobbied for a full‐time sustainability officer and for allotment facilities to be provided for students.”

Caroline Troy – Caroline is the driving force of sustainable actions within the NRI. In her role as a Sustainability Champions she has inspired colleagues, students. fellow champions and the Sustainable Development Unit. She has seemingly endless energy for sustainability and has been a valuable support for the Sustainability Team who would love to steal her away from the NRI and have her work with them! A personal thank you from myself as Sustainability Projects Officer to Caroline for being a constant source of encouragement and positivity when things are not always going to plan.

There are other individuals and projects from the NRI that we hope to showcase through the blog over the coming weeks.

Environmental Hero 2014

The final award of the afternoon was our annual Environmental Hero Award that is awarded to an individual or group of individuals who have made a big difference often out of nowhere! It also exists to reward those to have stuck it out and continued to strive for positive change despite barriers being put in their way.

Our winner this years as stormed onto the sustainability scene joining the ranks of Champions half way through the Green Impact year and leading her department to a Silver with Honors award.  She has also made a big impression at the Avery Hill Edible Garden and her input there has been invaluable.  It has been a pleasure to get to know her over the year and the Sustainable Development Unit were extremely pleased to award the Environmental Hero 2014 award to:

Alice Coyle

Alice accepting her Environmental Hero Award.

Alice accepting her Environmental Hero Award.

Thank you  once again to everyone who has taken part in Green Impact and who has contributed to the Sustainability efforts at Greenwich.

For more information on the Green Impact project at Greenwich please contact the SDU at


Green Impact Audits 2013

Two weeks ago 18 University Schools and Departments took part in a ‘half time’ audit as part of the Green Impact Scheme.

Green Impact challenges departments to enact a number of criteria that promote sustainable behaviours that contribute to the reduction of our environmental impact as a University. Green Impact works from a ‘bottom up’ approach asking staff through a series of criteria to make changes in their workplace. It is this criteria that each department is audited against and from these audits each team received a feedback report, which set them goals to achieve before the final deadline this summer.

The audits were carried out by student volunteers that received IEMA accredited training from the NUS’ Sophia Perkins who is the University’s Green Impact Project Officer. After their training the students got practice what they had learnt by auditing Schools and Departments across the three campuses.

Student Volunteers taking part in the Green Impact Auditor Training Session

Over the course of three days 23 students completed the training and practical auditing experience and will all receive certification of their achievements.

From the staff that were audited the praise for the students was great with comments on their professionalism, eye for detail and encouraging and supportive manner.

It is important that the audits are carried out by students to give both staff and students a chance to sit down and talk about sustainability at their University, as well as offering students a chance to receive training in highly transferable skills that they pick during the process.

A sustainable menu for lunch was laid on by BaxtorStorey for the auditors at each campus. The menu incorporated local produce, fairtrade produce, less meat, MSC fish and reusable crockery.

The audits themselves were very successful and the Sustainability Team would like to thank all the Sustainability Champions that have taken part so far. At the time of the ‘half time’ audits the Schools and Departments of Greenwich had completed 489 sustainable actions. Congratulations!

To find out more about Green Impact at Greenwich please contact Emily Mason at

Green Impact Launch 2012-13

This week saw the launch of the Green Impact project for the third consecutive year. Staff Sustainability Champions and interested students gathered at the Greenwich Campus to hear from the Vice Chancellor David Maguire and his vision for sustainability at the University and to learn more about what is in store for sustainability at the University over the coming months. Over the last two years the sustainability champions have produced some brilliant results using Green Impact as tool for embedding sustainability at a departmental level. In the first year the project ran the champions managed to undertake 561 positive sustainability actions, last year it was over 1500, it will be quite a challenge to continue that momentum but the enthusiasm in the room was palpable as we relaunched the project for this academic year!

Green Impact

Green Impact

The champions were introduced to the new Green Impact workbook, received an update from the Sustainability Team and collaborated to create behaviour change programmes using a specific planning model created by Action for Sustainability. With several new staff members joining the staff sustainability champions network this year John ran an induction session to kick off the days events before being joined by the returning champions and Sophia Perkins from the NUS for a general update on Sustainability.

At lunch everyone had the chance to quiz our new caterers Baxter Storey on their sustainability credentials and find out about how the food served at the University is sourced by their suppliers. M&J Seafood brought along a selection of fish that would be finding their way on to the University menu the following day including salmon, gurnard and sole. They gave us tips on how to tell how fresh a fish was, and told us about their sourcing, fishing and farming methods designed to ensure the long term sustainability, not only of the fish they sell but of their business as well. We were joined by Chegworth Valley, who had a wide range of different juices for us to try including, apple & beetroot, apple & elder flower and pear. The high quality of the juice was evident from the tasting session and the representative from Chegworth Valley explained to the group about the different varieties of apples they grow and the process that converts their fruit to the juice that ends up in the glasses of University of Greenwich staff and students.

Baxter Storey's Offering

Baxter Storey's tasty offering for Monday's event

Professor David Maguire, the University of Greenwich Vice Chancellor joined the staff champions after lunch to reiterate the university’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions, sustainability in general and offer his support to the champions in the work that they are undertaking. Following David’s visit we got stuck into the workshops. The sustainability champions mentioned positive changes that they would like to see made across their department so the first workshop tasked the champions with developing behaviour change campaign plans for implementing the positive changes. The results were quite impressive and showed a pragmatic path for engaging staff, students, improving heating, encouraging staff and students to switch off and for making the transformation to paperless offices.

Play Your Carbon Cards Right

The Sustainability Champions were delighted by the nation's favourite game show host!

Following the behaviour change workshop the sustainability champions were treated to Bruce Forsyth’s latest game show, ‘Play Your Carbon Cards Right’ where they guessed which university buildings were producing the highest carbon output compared over the first two weeks of October this year. The game show was designed to get everyone in the mood for testing the new Carbon Culture software that the University has invested in. The software allows anyone to monitor the carbon emissions, energy use and financial costs associated with powering the University’s buildings. The champions will be using the software this year to demonstrate carbon savings to their colleagues and students within their department and will be setting themselves some targets for carbon reduction as the year progresses.

Carbon Culture

New Member in the Sustainability Team: Meet Emily Crockford

Hello all! I am Emily Crockford and I will be working alongside Kat and John as a sustainability projects officer for Greenwich. It is great to be working for Greenwich and to be back in London and I am excited to be involved with all the fantastic projects happening here.

My love of all things environmental started with my love of the book, ‘The Lord of the Rings’. Amongst my teenage love of Legolas the elf there was one moment that really stuck with me: when the Wizard Saruman orders for the trees of Fangorn to be chopped down to fuel the fires of war I remember thinking that it was all an incredible waste, and so the seed of sustainability was planted!

Legolas hear's Emily calling!

My background is in wildlife conservation after studying my degree with the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology at the University of Kent; and I then went onto an internship and volunteering with the RSPB on their London Parks House Sparrow project. If there was one thing that I learnt from other conservationists and in my time trying to conserve wildlife it was that climate change was probably going to undo all our good efforts! It was this that finally nudged me over into sustainability and back to the University of Kent to run their Green Impact project for two years.

Emily Litter Picking

Green Impact is a behavioural change projects aimed at staff to increase their pro-environmental behaviours. The same scheme is run at Greenwich so if you have not heard of this before or think you would like to take part get in touch with us and we will tell you all about it.

While at Kent I also took on the role of Environmental Coordinator for nine months which meant I covered a range of sustainability projects from promoting Fairtrade produce to writing procedure for the ISO 14001 environmental management system. Working in sustainability within Higher Education is extremely satisfying as the range of projects available means there is a lot to get stuck into. I have also found that the diversity of people to engage with makes the whole job a lot more interesting.

At Greenwich I will be predominantly working on carbon reduction, especially in regards to engaging staff and students with the carbon management plan. The University of Greenwich has committed to reducing our emissions by 30% (from our 2009/2010 baseline) by 2015/2016 and it will take everyone’s input to hit this target. If you are interested in how you as an individual can help please do get in touch, and I look forward to meeting and working with you all!

Medway Campus Green Impact Collaboration

On Thursday the University of Greenwich teamed up with the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University to bring the efforts of the three universities together in implementing the Green Impact workbook at the Medway Campus. All three universities are taking part in the NUS Green Impact project and are working on three variations of the Green Impact workbook, which sets out tasks for improving the office or department you are working in. The project includes regular workshops which are run at each campus but rather than three different people running three different workshops for three different sets of sustainability champions we decided to bring the whole lot together in one big Medway Green Impact workshop.

Emily Crockford from Kent and Lucy Brown from Canterbury Christ Church lead a group task in the workshop.

 The workshop was focussed around introducing the concept of the Green Impact workbook to those that were new to the project and demonstrating what will be expected of the champions when they come to present their evidence during the auditing process. On top of the more regular parts of the workshop we had an exciting opportunity to demonstrate the crossover work, collective targets and opportunity for collaboration between the three universities.

Sustainability Champions from Greenwich, Kent and Canterbury Universities working together at Medway

The Medway collaboration will give sustainability champions a chance to share their work and ideas between all three universities and give everyone a chance to benefit from examples of best practice and the experiences of a wider pool of sustainability champions. At the same time the three respective sustainability teams implementing the Green Impact project at their campuses are benefiting from sharing ideas and resources for putting together the workshops and activities for Green Impact but are also able to discuss implementing sustainability on a wider reaching level across the three different universities. We are expecting this to be the start of a long and happy partnership between the three universities and a great opportunity for all involved to share the workload and push forward in implementing the Green Impact project.

Either side of the Green Impact workshop at the Medway Campus John Bailey was moonlighting as a guest lecturer for the civil engineers. After attending the ‘Sustainability Induction’ staff development workshop Deborah Sims, a senior lecturer in Civil Engineering decided that her students would benefit from seeing how the university is implementing sustainability on a practical level to go hand in hand with the theory the engineers are already learning. Thus she invited John to come to Medway and talk to two sets of engineering students that she teaches. The lectures gave the students an overview of some of the global challenges around population growth and resource use followed by a focussed insight on what these challenges mean to the university, how the university is responding to these challenges and what we can all do on a personal level.

Bigger, Better but with a Smaller Footprint…..

Green Impact II: The Sequel

Tuesday saw the launch of the second year of the University’s Green Impact project and Sustainability Champions Network. The project brings together sustainability champions from nearly every department within the University to complete a workbook-full of tasks set to improve the University’s environmental performance.

John tries to explain how much bigger the new workbook is

There are a lot of new sustainability champions joining the network this year bringing the total number of staff members implementing the Green Impact workbook to over 40. The champions will be trying to earn their department either Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum awards before they hand the workbooks in before Easter next year. Joining the various schools and offices in the University taking part in the scheme will also be Hadlow College – one of the University’s partner colleges that is working to reduce their carbon footprint and looking for new initiatives to do this. Sue Brimlow the college’s Sustainability Manager joined us for the event to find out what they could gain from working with Greenwich on implementing Green Impact workbook at Hadlow.

Kat Thorne – Head of Sustainability for the University kicked of proceedings by giving us an overview of sustainability at the University and how the global issues of population growth and increased demand on resources are impacting on the university. This was followed by highlighting some of the key areas of the Sustainability Policy and how the University was implementing them plus emphasising some of the key areas the Sustainability Team will be working on over the next 12 months.

Following Kat was David Young, one of the sustainability champions for IT at the Greenwich campus and self-titled ‘University of Greenwich Quiz Master’ – who’d put together an interactive quiz (Who Wants to be a Millionaire style) just to make sure the sustainability champions were listening to Kat’s speech. Despite a few iffy answers we are pleased to announce that the vast majority got the answers correct. Following the quiz John Bailey the Sustainability Projects Officer for the University went on to explain a few of the ins and outs of how the sustainability champions network works and how the new champions could expect to be communicating the sustainability message across the university.

Charlotte Taylor followed up giving us a national perspective on the NUS Green Impact scheme and showed how it had grown from being a pilot project at Bristol University to being taken up by 48 different universities for this academic year. At the University of Greenwich the sustainability champions completed 561 tasks through the Green Impact scheme and this fantastic number is being repeated all around the country with nearly 4,000 people directly involved and 19,620 tasks completed across the 35 universities that took part last year! That’s a great achievement and just goes to show how we are not alone fighting the sustainability corner but part of a much larger positive movement taking place nationwide!

Neil demonstrates a hire bike Brompton folding away

As well as Neil Garrod giving the champions a sneak preview of the University’s proposed Brompton bike hire scheme (complete with a slick demonstration of how to fold a Brompton bike as if trained by Mr. Brompton himself) he talked about how he’d recently gone back to look at the book on ‘nudge theory’ after recently surfacing on the government’s agenda. He mentioned how the nudge theory applied to the work that the champions are doing across the University and would be key to successfully embedding the behaviour change that is needed in order for the University to achieve its sustainability goals.

Neil has been championing sustainability for over 20 years and cited an example about being viewed as a lone nut while working at a previous university where he tried to bring sustainability onto the agenda through the medium of recycled toilet paper. Neil has seen a change in the support from senior management at the University of Greenwich; he used to be the only one championing sustainability with others claiming that sustainability was not a priority. He now finds himself in the opposite situation with those who used to claim that sustainability is not a priority now championing sustainability themselves. The University’s high score in the People and Planet Green League and the potential savings shown in the carbon management plan have swayed the senior managers and explained to the sustainability champions that they need to understand what sustainability means to those they work with and appeal to their colleagues’ individual agendas. 

Graeme Collie explains the culinary delights on offer

After the morning’s speeches and presentations we were delighted with a sustainable hospitality menu from the university’s caterers ABM Catering. Graeme Collie from ABM explained how the menu had made best use of local, seasonal, organic and free-range or high welfare ingredients and that they were work
ing towards achieving a Silver Food for Life Award after implementing so many positive changes to the menus.

John Bisbrown explaining the results from the first workshop

Sustainability champions discussing some of the challenges ahead

The afternoon was packed full of workshops focused on challenging areas in the workbook and gave the champions a chance to work together to find a practical and pragmatic way of implementing some of the tasks. There was a strong focus on communication – as ever with sustainability – half the task is in how you communicate to your colleagues and win them over to the new practices and behaviours you are trying to implement. Positivity is a key message and focus for sustainability communications and is often far more effective than pedalling the doom and gloom stories. The Green Impact project and the Sustainability Policy and strategy are starting the move towards creating a more efficient university that creates a net positive impact. We finished the workshops with a great video from TED on how to start a movement in less than three minutes and how ‘a lone nut can become a leader’.

Guest Blog for the Guardian

Today the University of Greenwich Sustainability Champions ended up on the Guardian Higher Education Network. In a blog post written by the University’s Sustainable Projects Officer, John Bailey writes about some of the fantastic tasks completed by the champions and the impact they have had in influencing change at the University.

You can see the article on the Guardian website here:

The Higher Education Network has all sorts of brialliant bits and pieces from the sector so make sure you sign up to follow their news and events.

Sustainability Awards

Tuesday saw the University of Greenwich celebrate its first annual Sustainability Awards. To celebrate the progress the University has made over that last 12 months an esteemed selection of 45 people chosen for their contribution to the University’s sustainability effort were invited to Hamilton House for the event.
The event gets under way in Hamilton House

Neil Garrod lauds the efforts of the attendees in their contribution to sustainability at the University
On the agenda were speeches from the Sustainability Team, Charlotte Bonner from NUS green Impact Team, Neil Garrod Deputy Vice Chancellor for Resources and a presentation on ‘local food’ from Dr Howard Lee from Hadlow College. The main thrust of the speeches was angled towards the positive changes that had occurred at the University over the last 12 months and celebrating the impact that the people in the room had in helping bring about these positive changes.
A large part of the event was based around the achievements of the sustainability champions and to award them certificates and prizes for the work they had been doing on the Green Impact workbook. The workbook which had 22 tasks to complete for the bronze award, 15 for silver and 65 bonus tasks was attempted by all the sustainability champions. Since we launched the workbook an astonishing 561 tasks towards improving the University’s sustainability performance have been undertaken by the champions and their departments. These 561 completed tasks are the result of the hard work and determination of our sustainability champions, who have had to persuade, change and influence their colleagues and peers since the workbook was launched in October last year.
Overall 23 schools and departments achieved the bronze award, 1 achieved the silver and in turn won the gold award for the department that completed the most tasks. The golden department was the Natural Resources Institute (NRI), led by Caroline Troy, which completed a whopping 61 tasks in total. It might not be surprising that the NRI is leading the way with sustainability at Greenwich when sustainable development is at the heart of the NRI’s mission statement.
Our mission is to provide distinctive, high quality and relevant research, consultancy, learning and advice in support of sustainable development, economic growth and poverty reduction.”
Caroline Troy receives her prize for bronze, silver and gold award in the Green Impact workbook.
Along with the awards to the sustainability champions there were a few special awards going around for people who had put in a particularly strong effort towards sustainability at the University. Ian Cakebread and Tony Dodson won an award for their excellent bicycle powered generators built for Green Week, Pru Jones received an award for her efforts towards recycling at the Medway campus (often as high as 70%), ABM Catering won an award for their move towards sustainable menus and Sustain won an award for their contribution to the Sustainable Food Policy.
There was one particularly special award being handed out which was the Sustainability Hero Award complete with FA Cup style trophy, courtesy of Glasdon UK, which went to Mary McCartney from the Business School. Mary won the award for the extra effort she put in over the year towards sustainability. As the only champion in the Business School she has helped get sustainability to the top of the agenda within the school which is now developing more programmes, employing more lecturers and more researchers with sustainability at the heart of what they do. On top of this Mary managed to get the 2nd highest number of tasks done in the Green Impact workbook and fully deserves the award for 2011.
Neil Garrod awards the Sustainability Hero trophy to Mary McCartney

All the sustainability champions with their prizes
Following the awards everyone headed to Greenwich Park to enjoy a Sustainability Picnic laid on by ABM Catering. The menu was designed to showcase the best of the food on offer from the south east of England that we have available at the University. The menu included local cheeses, University of Greenwich home baked bread, cakes and scones and a selection of locally grown fruits.
Sustainability menu provided by ABM Catering

Enjoying the sunshine and the picnic in the park