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Student feedback

on the Students’ Union’s environmental work and initiatives

Freshers Week Survey

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

What should be a priority for the SU to focus on in regards to environmental sustainability?

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

  • Supplying ethical produce 15
  • Encouraging and supporting all to take low or non-carbon travel 8
  • Reducing the amount of resources (reduce, reuse, repair, recycle) 12
  • Reduce energy consumption 13
  • Making ethical purchase choices 12
  • Support students run ethical and environmental campaigns and events 14
  • Measure, record and report on SU’s carbon footprint 12
  • Have a part-time ethical and environmental officer 12 (full-time suggested in conversations)
  • Have ethical and environmental reps 8
  • Respecting biodiversity, ecosystems and animal rights 15
  • Promoting human rights, equality and social justice 15
  • Boycotting exploitative brands in the Union outlets 12
  • Promoting the Students’ Union values and working with other organisations who share our values 11

Where/how do you think the Students’ Union could be doing more in regards to environmental sustainability?

  • More meat-free days in the outlets

    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.

  • Ethical sourcing of own brands

    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.

  • Providing and improving composting and recycling facilities in residences and across campus

    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.

  • Supporting and encouraging the use of the ‘Lemon Bus’

    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.

  • More information on produce/producers

    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.

  • Campaigning the University to be more environmentally sustainable

     

  • Improving the promotion of all the great things we do (especially in the bars)

    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.

  • Helping societies in pushing the University to divest from fossil fuels

    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.

  • Raising more awareness about being green such as eating less meat and dairy or cycling to University

    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).

  • Green energy and more renewable energy production

    The SU is supporting the decision for the University to install Solar PV panels across the campus before 2018.

  • Recycling in the library

     

  • More bike racks to encourage more to cycle to University and the removal of old bikes which have been locked up for a long time

    The University will be installing more bike racks across campus from the end of May 2017.

  • Paperless leaflets

    All SU staff and students are encouraged to advertise digitally and minimise printing.

  • More funding for direct environmental projects which will help the campus to be more sustainable and economic

    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.

Thoughts, comments or questions?

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.