Your thoughts, our actions on sustainability

VP (Welfare) here to talk about responsible futures, sustainability and the actions we have taken to better incentivise sustainability.

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Hi everyone, I’m Jack McGuinness, the Vice President (Welfare) here at the Derby Union of Students.

The Union of Students have recently gathered insight into the student view on Responsible Futures and sustainability as a whole. To do this, we utilised our Thursday Thoughts project.

We as a Union, along with the University, believe that sustainability is more important than ever and the impact we have on the environment should be minimised as much as possible. Looking at the results, Derby students feel the same way, with over 60% of students saying they feel sustainability is fairly - extremely important.  

17% of students feel that their curriculum adequately addresses sustainability, however the University are always keen to further advance their implementation into courses and modules where appropriate and possible.

Of course, the amount the University and we as a Union do is a small percentage of what can be done for sustainability, but we can advocate and incentivise more sustainable practices in student’s and staff’s daily lives.

Easy access to recycling is always a topic that comes up when asked 'What would encourage more sustainable practices in individual’s daily lives?' and we have heard loud and clear. Recycling at the University has been made more visible, with signage on bins making it clear which items should be placed in each of the recycling containers. 

To support students with the cost-of-living crisis, a new recycling initiative / system is being trialled.

This system is a recycling machine that incentives people to recycle plastic bottles and cans, returning some of the money in a receipt that can be used at Union of Students outlets, like Keddies, and the Aramark eateries.

We’re already seeing a great turnout for students using the system and look forward to monitoring the results going forward.

Respondents to Thursday Thoughts were also asked about what initiatives they would like us to see take on in the future, discussing topics of Clothing Swaps and a Community Pantry.

This support is great to see and we’re happy to say that with the support of our Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Tracey Taylor, committee members of the Nursing Society and the 2022-23 Gender Officer promoting the idea, we have developed and opened a Community Pantry. The Community Pantry encourages food donations form staff and students and in turn this enables students to access household staples when they are struggling financially. In response to student feedback the Union has collaborate with the Univeristy to make available a clothing swap for health-related courses. Students studying on health care courses are asked to donate uniform they no longer require or that fits and enables other students to select free uniform. This is a new initiative, ready to launch over the next few weeks.