In the Freshers Week 2017 survey, we asked respondents to offer suggestions for improving the sustainability of our Freshers Week. We have used these suggestions to add the following recommendations on towards the planning of next year’s Freshers Week;
- Looking for alternatives to flyers and paper advertisements to reduce the amount of paper used
- Trying to reduce non-vegetarian samples in our goody bags
- Working to reduce the impact of our big events by improving recycling facilities and reducing waste
Prior to the Student Union policy review for 2017, research was conducted to see what students thought the Students' Union should focus on in regards to sustainabillity.
Numbers indicate number of students who selected the point
Falmer Bar and East Slope over the last couple of years have significantly changed their menus to support a variety of diets. They are continuing to expand their menu with vegetarian and vegan specials after the positive feedback from the meat-free day hosted in Falmer Bar during Go Green Week 2017.
They are also organising further vegan and vegetarian drink festivals at the bars.
The SU has ethical procurement and purchasing guidelines which suggests products and brands and companies to purchase from and ones to avoid; staff are encouraged to follow this.
Our ethical and environmental policy highlights this as something we will continue to improve on where possible across a range of items.
The Union is researching the possibilities of supplying 100% Fairtrade clothing.
All our outlets and shop provide a range of products which may be organic, recycled and/or be made from less harmful materials/chemicals. In regards to food and drink, the Union provide a range of local, vegetarian, vegan, organic and /or Fairtrade products. The Union act in response to the student voice on whether certain brands should be boycotted in the Union’s outlets.
The SU carried out research, with the support Sussex Estates and Facilities (SEF), on student attitudes and behaviours towards recycling in the Lewes Court residences 2015/16.
In November 2016 all student residences on campus were provided with more recycling bags/boxes. From these improvements, SEF have reported for February 2017 an 89% increase in glass recycling and 42% increase in mixed recycling from February 2016.
New bins are being installed internally and externally across campus which aim to encourage improved behaviours towards recycling.
The plan is for all student kitchens on campus to have a food caddy for food collection for the start of next academic year (Sept 2017). The Union outlets have their food waste collected by Brighton Paper Round.
The SU and the University have a bus consultation meeting planned at the beginning of April 2017. As part of this, a survey will be undertaken to collect student feedback/ opinions which will help to form a plan to lobby for better bus services for students.
The Union does not currently publicly share information on the products sold in our outlets. Staff in the outlets may be able to provide information if students request. If the student body show that they would like the Union to focus on this then we will respond.
The SU have updated their environmental page (April 2017) on the Union website and will publicly publish an update at least twice a year to communicate on what the Union is doing and working towards. Students and student groups who are running anything which links to environmental sustainability can send an update to our Communications team www.sussexstudent.com/broadcast.
SU full-time Officers have regularly attended meetings with Adam Tickell and University staff to discuss, progress and support this campaign. In March 2017, 10 students attended a meeting with Adam Tickell and the decision has been put to tender for June 2017. Some changes were made to the Socially Responsible Investment Policy in order to support the Sussex Fossil Free Campaign. (See Socially responsible investment policy.
The SU hosts Go Green Week each year which aims to raise awareness around environmental sustainability. In 2017 events included a bike train to/ from campus; vegan wine and beer fest; meat-free day at Falmer Bar; Eco-Crafternoon, clothes swap; bicycle maintenance and parts replacement.
The SU has invited Dr Bike (cheaper bike maintenance and bike parts) onto campus with the support of Free-Wheelers.
SU is supporting the relaunch of RE:Cycle (bike hire scheme).
The SU is supporting the decision for the University to install Solar PV panels across the campus before 2018.
The University will be installing more bike racks across campus from the end of May 2017.
All SU staff and students are encouraged to advertise digitally and minimise printing.
Students were encouraged to apply for funding to run events/ activities for Go Green Week and Fairtrade Fortnight. Societies can apply for funding year-round through societies fund.
Student groups can earn money by applying for the Environment leaf and other leaves as part of the Sussex Leaf Scheme. The Union advertises other/external funding opportunities to students, for example there is a fund for people wanting to host something for Vegetarian Week 2017.
If you have any further thoughts , comments, questions on the SU’s environmental sustainability work or would like support running a project, campaign, initiative then please get in contact.