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QM’s sustainability champions celebrated

Thursday 29 August 2013

On Wednesday 28 August, staff and students involved in sustainability projects came together at QM’s annual Green Impact and Student Switch Off awards. This year a record number of teams achieved high scores and were recognised with awards for their efforts.

The Green Impact and Student Switch Off programmes are national campaigns led by the National Union of Students that encourage staff and students to work collaboratively to improve the sustainability performance of their university.

Student Switch Off

Student Switch Off is a national campaign run by the NUS, which encourages student action on climate change. Over 50 universities compete in energy saving competitions in halls of residence through various competitions and events.

This year, QM’s halls students achieved a 3.8 per cent reduction in electricity use – the equivalent to a saving of £3,895 and 26 tonnes of carbon. France House was the best residence at QM achieving the highest rating for energy saving activities. In addition, as a result of the campaign, 560 QM students signed up to be ‘Eco Power Rangers’ and a further 22 students trained as Student Switch Off ambassadors.

Find out more about Student Switch Off: www.studentswitchoff.org.

Green Impact

Green Impact has been run by the NUS since 2006 and this year 1160 teams from universities, colleges and community projects participated in the competition. This year twelve teams of staff and students from across QM competed in Green Impact and the average score saw a huge increase from 47 in 2012 to 255 points, with significant improvements seen in the areas of energy, waste and recycling and procurement.

Three teams at QM received the Gold Award in Green Impact – Residences Reception (Estates and Facilities) achieved the highest total score, followed by Green Bees (Estates and Facilities) and QMSU. Award winners were presented with trophies made from recycled Victorian slate roof tiles. A full list of Green Impact award winners are listed below.

Tracey Paradise, of Residences Reception, spoke of the team’s achievement: “We are absolutely ecstatic to have come top and to have achieved Gold. We were originally aiming for the Bronze, but all got the Green Bug and wanted to do as much as we could for the environment.

Throughout the scheme we made a number of fundamental changes and introduced new initiatives. The main initiative was the ‘reuse/rehome’ scheme, where students were encouraged to donate items of non-perishable food, clothing and electrical goods when leaving halls. A big thanks to all those who helped us achieve the award and watch this space for new initiatives for next year.”

Jen Strong from Green Impact says, “Queen Mary has had an outstanding second year! 14 students gained valuable transferable skills while conducting environmental audits of the departments and the workshops, drop in sessions and cross-university events have raised the profile of sustainability at Queen Mary. We have set some solid foundations to develop and see even greater change in the coming years.”

Green Impact 2013-14 is now open so if you would like to participate and get your department to compete against others from around QM in improving your sustainable activities, then contact the Sustainability team or visit the Green Impact website: http://greenimpact.org.uk/queenmary.

Stephen Wells, Director of Estates and Facilities, spoke of staff and students’ achievements in the Green Impact and Student Switch Off campaigns: ‘We are very lucky at QM to have so many staff and students who are willing to go above and beyond the call of their job and study to get involved in our sustainability programmes. Without so many committed in the QM community we wouldn’t be able to achieve half of what we do.

The efforts of the Green Impact teams this year has been amazing with such an improvement in the number of workbook actions completed. It cannot be underestimated either the importance of the contribution that students make by auditing the teams. Thank you to all involved and we hope more staff and students will join us next year!’

Green Impact Student Environmental Auditors 

• Imogen Jessica Berryman
• Saad Killedar
• Georgia Scarlett Couch
• Asia Szypulska
• Prince Frank
• Jannat Hossain
• Lauren Bates
• Liliana Narvaez
• Shreena Vinod Amrania
• Ikram Ajami
• Tasnim Zahri
• Angeliki Papantoniou
• Christina Sear
• Andrea Lema

Green Impact award winners

Gold Award winners
1st - Residences Reception
2nd - Green Bees
3rd - QMSU

Silver Award winners
• The Library (Mile End)
• Occupational Health and Safety
• Language Centre

Bronze Award winners
• Green HR
• The Library (Whitechapel)
• Green IT
• Business Services

Labs Bronze Award
• School of Geography

Working Towards Award winners:
• Maths Building
• School of Geography

Best Newcomer
• The Library (Mile End)

Office Depot Innovation Award
• Residences Reception – Reuse, Rehome!

Environmental Heroes
• Tracey Paradise – Residences Reception
• Edward Oliver – School of Geography
• Nicola Borasinski – QMSU
• Aqil Zahid – The Library (Mile End)

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