NUS-SOS Sustainability Summit

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Hello, my name is Angharad and I am your Part Time Officer for Ethics and Environment here at Derby. On Monday the 4th of November, I visited Sheffield University Student Union for a Sustainability Conference held by NUS and SOS. I’m providing a short overview of my day and some things that I have learnt and wish to implement within my role.

The first workshop of the day was called Intersectional sustainability on campus which was an interactive hour of discussion around climate change and how it can affect minority groups. The panel also touched upon how climate activism can be more inclusive, providing good examples from other campuses events such as a Trans Clothes Swap. In relation to my role, it was particularly important as I had not previously considered how accessible my events should be. For the future I will have inclusivity in mind, making sure that everybody has the ability to get involved and feels represented. 

The second workshop called Heating up politics not the environment focused on tools that you could use to gain knowledge on topics discussed in parliament and details of your local MP so that you can impact for change on environmental issues. The speaker very passionately expressed the importance of utilising your vote in relation to positively impacting the climate movement and making informed decisions on the officials that you support and their standpoint on climate based issues.

During lunch I opted for an optional Climate Walk, a tour around the Sheffield Student Union and surrounding area. This included a broad look at some of the efforts that prove the University are doing their bit for the environment.

  • A zero waste shop in the SU for students to purchase refillables
  • A newly built area at the entrance of the SU made from recycled concrete
  • Hedgehog friendly campus status
  • One of the UK last fully functioning Paternosters. Yes, I tried it. Yes, it was as terrifying as it looks. No, I am not sure what is has to do with sustainability.
  • A large and secure bike shed, allowing students to commute on wheels easier.

An introduction to GISU and developing tools for monitoring + evaluation was the last talk of the day. ‘Green Impact is a United Nations award-winning programme designed to support environmentally and socially sustainable practice in your organisation.’. While the talk was directed more toward Student Unions as a whole, I was delighted to hear that this can be a collaborative process between staff and student, and equally as delighted to discover that Derby had already applied this year! (it meant that I didn’t have to do any convincing). This process is something I am looking forward to getting involved with and can’t wait to see all the positive changes the Union are able to make by lessening the overall environmental impact of the University.

If you would like to get in touch, or stay up to date you can email me at ethics.environment@derbyunion.co.uk or like my Facebook page ‘Derby Union - Ethics & Environment’

Angharad Evans

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