Friday, 20 August 2010

What have we been up to this week at The University of Greenwich?

Have you ever reached Friday afternoon and stopped to think what have I done this week? Well after about three seconds we hadn’t thought of anything after a few more we realised that we have done a fair bit!

This time of year is a big time of temptation on the Avery Hill Campus at the University, everywhere you walk you can see fruits looking bigger, juicier and more delicious than ever. Just this week I have spotted my second fig tree, several blackthorn bushes (sloes grow on these), our director of facilities has found a bounty of quince, elderflowers have been noted, a rogue tomato plant has popped up in a flower bed, and there are countless blackberries in almost every bush! This is all after only spending a few minutes wandering around the Southwood site, who knows what we’ll find when we go hunting on the Mansion site next week?

So my eyes have been searching for the fruits of our campus this week as we have been spending a lot of time thinking about biodiversity. 2010 has been declared the International Year of Biodiversity by the United Nations and this week has been the Unofficial Sustainability Team Week of Biodiversity. As well as spotting all the aforementioned treats on campus we have been thinking about growing wildflower meadows on campus and considering whether to plant some more fruit trees here too. Please send us your suggestions!

In all this research I have come across a few bits and pieces that will be of interest to anyone who likes going outdoors in the late summer and stocking up on nature’s treats. If you are a resident of East London you will probably be interested in Hackney Harvest who have their first harvesting this weekend and have been spending the last month or so creating fruit maps of Hackney and the East London area. The Hackney Harvest lot have been inspired by Abundance Sheffield who have put together this brilliant booklet documenting everything you need to know about rediscovering urban areas as orchards abundant with fruits. This time next year expect to find a University of Greenwich fruit map and plans for homemade jams, jellies, pies, ciders and gins if I get my way.

As well as getting excited about fruit we have been planning to get a lot more students involved in helping out with sustainability next year, the wheels are in motion to create the first University of Greenwich People & Planet Group and to have a regular stream of volunteers and interns coming in and out of the Sustainability Office. Find us at the Freshers’ Fairs in September to join the People & Planet Group and at the GET Opportunities Recruitment Fair on October 13th to become an intern with the Sustainability Team (of course if you want to talk about internships, or the People & Planet Group beforehand make sure you get in contact).

Whilst not wandering around the campus I have been wondering what the best methods are for training up our staff sustainability champions, and in the digital age instead of burying myself in books and papers I have been straining my eyes across a million and one websites pooling together the best little bits and pieces from here, there and everywhere for our champions to feast on. One of the highlights I have come across is The Big Energy Challenge slideshow put together by the Bath and North East Somerset Council for their main public sector bodies. If you have a few minutes to spare it’s certainly worth flicking through and passing on to your friends and colleagues who are interested in saving energy.

Kat has become the co-chair of the London Universities Environmental Group (LUEG) which is busy setting its agenda for the next year. LUEG is a collective of London university based sustainability motivated professionals determined to reduce the environmental impact of London universities by sharing best practice, ideas, workshops and advice on everything from reducing the energy bills to reducing waste, saving water to buying Fairtrade and creating compost right through to building bee hives. Which reminds me of another thing, on Monday Kat and I will be meeting a local bee keeper to discuss the possibility of having some University of Greenwich bees – honey and crumpets anyone?

Friday, 13 August 2010

EcoCampus Bronze Award

I am delighted to announce that the University of Greenwich has now been awarded the EcoCampus Bronze Award.

EcoCampus is an environmental management system (EMS) that the University signed up to to try and put in place processes, practices and systems to drive the University towards reducing it's environmental impact and implementing best practice. The EMS is based on the internationally recognised ISO 14001 and works in stages of accreditation.

Bronze is the first, then Silver, Gold and last of all Platinum. The idea is that the scheme gives you achievable targets to reach on a step by step process towards the final award which is the equivalent of the ISO 14001. So far only three universities have achieved the Platinum award and now we can say that the University of Greenwich has achieved the first major step towards that ultimate aim.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

University's take on our Re-use project.

Good news here at University of Greenwich Sustainability HQ. Our work is being recognised and being celebrated by the University as a whole today as our Re-use project ends up on the front page of the University website.

Lovely jubbly!