It has been an incredible year for Green Impact here in Sheffield and our commitment to sustainability has gone from strength to strength.
As the Green Impact programme finishes its sixth year at our University, it has involved more staff and students than ever before; 57 teams have worked hard throughout the year, submitting workbooks and earning well-deserved awards at our Sustainability Showcase. We have even more Green Impact teams signed up to start the cycle next year; 62 teams are committed to environmental best practice within their departments, ensuring that Green Impact continues to grow.
Green Impact extends from our University to our Students’ Union, who are consistent Gold standard achievers. From the Students Union Green Space, the work of Green Impact spreads out into the community through the pioneering NUS Students’ Green Fund project, Green Impact Student Homes. This project works with propertywithUS, students and landlords to ensure more environmentally friendly student properties and change the student-landlord relationship to one of collaboration.
Our Green Impact Sustainability Showcase celebrated the achievements of Green Impact and Green Impact Student Homes, demonstrating how a culture of sustainability has become embedded into our institution and out into our wider community.
After everyone was seated and had begun tucking into the delicious lunch, which included many locally sourced treats, Anneessa Mahmood, Sustainability Projects Officer for Sheffield opened our ceremony. Anneessa set our achievements within the national context and told us the story of the Green Impact slate; a sustainably sourced, hand-made, recycled slate delivered in re-used cardboard boxes. We then presented our wonderful Bronze award winners with their slates followed by an introduction to the Green Impact Student Homes Project.
Green Impact National Programme Manager Jo Kemp next gave a personal reflection on watching Green Impact flourish here in Sheffield. Jo outlined the importance of sustainability for our students, particularly in the current political climate and reminded us that collectively, we can make a huge difference.
After presenting slates to our amazing Silver Award teams, we heard from David Gray, Student’s Union Environmental Coordinator on his personal reflections on sustainability and the work of the Student’s Union.
During our interval, a short quiz gave everyone the chance to mingle and test their sustainability know-how! Some questions proved quite tricky and we learned some green facts that will definitely stick – 400 years for a polystyrene coffee cup to decompose!
This year, we had more Gold standard teams than ever before with an outstanding 25 teams achieving the highest level award for their workbooks. Our Gold Award teams were presented with their slates by Professor Tony Ryan, our Pro Vice-Chancellor for Pure Science and director of both the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures and Project Sunshine.
Following from our Gold Awards, the Corporate Affairs team took to the stage to showcase their Excellence Project. A mentoring toolkit designed to help teams achieve the next award level and boost engagement, the toolkit contains advice for recruiting team members, activities, meeting plans and a whole lot more. Not only are the toolkits designed to help teams gain higher award levels, Gold standing teams can utilise their expertise and best practice and become mentees. The project encourages collaboration and resource share across the University and Green Impact National Programme Manager Jo Kemp was certainly impressed with the team’s idea and promotional video, It’s the Fight of Global Warming. If you would like to sign up to the mentoring programme, contact Green Impact.
We then presented our Special Awards to the five teams who have shown outstanding innovation and commitment to best practice. There were so many incredible entries to choose from this year, illustrating the dedication to sustainability throughout our institution and our winners were very well deserved!
It was then time for our ceremony to come to a close and Tony Ryan delivered a fabulous speech thanking us all for our efforts in sustainability and linking our positive environmental progress to wider University initiatives, including the Grantham Centre and Project Sunshine. He informed us on some hard hitting sustainable facts – plastic carrier bags vs canvas shoppers was interesting one! – but it wasn’t all doom and gloom. We were reminded that as an institution, we are in a position to make incredible change and that the work of Green Impacters is central to shaping how our University functions.
Congratulations again to all of our teams for their hard work and dedication to environmental good practice!