To unite our academic integrity with a moral responsibility which cares for human health and a sustainable world. The SU is committed to environment & sustainability via a bottom-up approach, where student involvement, projects and initiatives can lead by example and allow us to demand more of our University.
Large institutions such as universities have a significant impact on not only its students but also on the community around it. Long after they leave as graduates, students are affected by the behaviour and values that they develop at university. Because most improvement within sustainability and environmental awareness can be attributed to behavioural changes, it is important that sustainability becomes a leading driver behind university life. It is essential that students at Bath University are informed and educated about sustainability issues and what they can do to minimise their impact on the environment. Equally it is important that the students themselves are able to drive the progress at university within these areas.
The university spends considerable resources on research in sustainability and efficiency and on monitoring of energy demands. However, all this effort fails to manifest as tangible change on campus or as improvement for the average student. The SU hopes to foster and evolve student involvement, and thereby force university staff to prioritise environmental and sustainability issues that give value to its students.
Environment and Sustainability is part of the activity officer’s responsibilities. The officer consults with the E&S reps to maximize efforts and collaboration with other areas of the SU. This allows the officer to contribute to the group while not neglecting his other responsibilities.
The Environment and Sustainability representatives lead the SU’s efforts on campus, fundamentally through the Green Team. The main goal of the E&S reps is to represent the students, so it is important to develop interest and get feedback from students. Through expressing their interests, students can influence the way the university is run, and the E&S rep’s job is to make that happen.
Additionally, the reps are tasked with organising marketing, stands, campaigns and recruitment and run the April/May elections to allow the handover to occur before summer. The number of reps may increase in the future as the role develops.
The E&S Green Team is the collective name for the group of students who are interested in E&S or ‘green’ issues, and wish to be involved with this at the university. This group will discuss and identify key areas that should be targeted by the project teams, and will distribute itself into these project teams.
Once the Green Team has identified an area or topic of popular interest, all students who are interested in helping with this particular issue will go together to form a separate project team. Such teams should have a team leader/coordinator who will lead the work, create plans and guide the team in creating the target goals against which progress will be measured. Furthermore, the team leader should compile progress and results, which should be reported back to the wider group/E&S reps for further use in publications/marketing and to create a portfolio of projects.
The idea is that project teams, created specifically to address the issue/work the project, carry out all projects and initiatives. These teams consist of any and all interested students and one or multiple team leader(s).
The creation of such project teams and the issues they focus on should be a joint effort of brainstorming and coordination by the wider Green Team. When project teams are created, one or multiple team leaders are responsible for coordinating meet-ups and action, as well as reporting progress and results back to the E&S reps.
Thus, the teams will naturally form as new projects arise and disband upon scheme completion, and begin anew. The Green Team should have regular meetings every month (tbd.) in which projects will be discussed and decided upon as well as general briefings on progress.
Where possible, Bath SU should avoid actions that may damage the environment or reduce the environmental sustainability of the union. Overall, Bath SU should be aiming to meet the requirements for a Gold Level Green Impact award at all times.
This ideal should underpin any actions Bath SU takes, and any plans that are developed for the future and should be in consideration at all times.
The Code of Practice includes examples of good practice, but is not an exhaustive list of ways in which Bath SU can reduce its impact on the environment. All staff and students should seek to extend this Code of Practice, particularly in line with national guidelines, to further expand on examples in which Bath SU can improve.
Suggestions which arise from the Environment and Sustainability student group and the Environment and Sustainability Rep should also be taken into consideration for implementation by Bath SU, and the hall reps for this area should be actively supported by the student leaders and the union.
The SU will commit to creating an action plan each year where 3 main areas will be targeted for improvement, and visible changes should be made after each. The SU will also aim for the Green Impact award every 3 years.
All student groups should be made aware of this policy, and where it is not adhered to, they will face appropriate disciplinary action in their area, to be assessed on a case-by-case basis by the SU Officer for that area.
Code of Practice
- Bath SU should avoid printing excess copies of papers for meetings. Where all attendees of SU meetings have tablet computers, agendas and minutes should be circulated via email. For all university meetings, the SU should look into equipping student reps with tablets to reduce the need for hard copies of papers, and where these are available no hard copies should be printed.
- Bath SU should maintain and encourage use of recycling bins throughout the Student Centre and work with the University and the Student Community Partnership to encourage the use of recycling bins in halls of residence and in private accommodation. Opportunities for recycling should be provided in all possible food preparation and commercial areas, and information on recycling should be distributed to all students. Students will be encouraged to aim for a target of 50% of all recyclable waste being done so, and Bath SU will engage with the SCP Move Out campaign to facilitate this through encouraging the recycling of items other than food and packaging.
- Plasma screens, lights, computers, and other electrical items should be turned off when not in use and overnight where practical rather than being left on standby. Bath SU should encourage all staff to follow this procedure and address any areas where this is proving difficult.
- All transport arrangements should be considered carefully and wherever realistic the option with the least impact on the environment should be taken. SU funding will only be provided for the most environmentally friendly option unless reasons for other means of transport are submitted before the date of travel.
- Food provided for catered events should be monitored to evaluate waste, and actions taken to reduce waste and overall carbon emissions as a result of ongoing analysis. At all catered events where hot drinks are provided by the SU (eg Tea and Talk) thermos jugs are to be used to transport hot water rather than buying more. Bottled water should be avoided in favour of tap water for all meetings.
- Bath SU should promote opportunities for action and environmentally friendly initiatives to members and interested groups, particularly the group working with the Environment and Sustainability Rep and People and Planet. Bath SU should also work on educating students on their impact on the environment and how best to reduce it using informed, researched methods. Bath SU should push the University of Bath to become a leader in the field, working with expert staff in the department of Architecture and Civil Engineering.
- Bath SU will lobby all external partners and stakeholders to follow these steps and any others to minimise their impact on the environment.
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Care for your Campus
Following feedback from students and staff last year about rubbish and mess left in teaching rooms, the University and the Students’ Union are jointly running the Care for your campus campaign in 2014/15. Our teaching rooms are very heavily utilised throughout the year and should always be left in a state fit for the next people using the room. We would like to encourage everyone to take care of our campus and:
- Clear up
- Clean up
The University also has a food and drink policy providing information on what can, and what can’t, be served in teaching spaces.
Attend one of the Green Team meetings listed in the events
Alternatively, the following organisations may have environmental/sustainability aspects to them:
Opportunities outside of the Student’s Union