Green Impact Audits 2015: We went paperless!

With 57 departments to audit across two days, time was tight this year for the Green Impact auditing process! Luckily, we had 47 eager student volunteers on hand to help out.

Over the course of two days, student volunteers took on the role of auditors, gaining valuable hands on experience and new skills by auditing a professional department at the University.

Beginning in the morning of each day of audits, Anneessa our NUS Project Officer delivered an IEMA approved training session to the volunteers to prepare them for their role in the afternoon. Then, after a lunch break students went off across the campus to meet our lovely Green Impact teams and audit their departments.

Audits are an important part of the Green Impact process. Once each team has completed and submitted their workbook, an audit is necessary to determine their award level. Student auditors go through the online workbook with the team, checking through their evidence and making any suggestions for where further evidence can be submitted. The audit also involves a tour of the department, giving Green Impact teams the opportunity to show students the hard work they have put in over the course of the workbook cycle and the green things they are doing every single day in the office! Auditors can also talk to staff throughout the department to find out the impact of workbook tasks on staff members outside of the team itself.

This year, we ran the audits at Sheffield slightly differently. We went paperless! Without hard copies of each team’s workbook to hand out to auditors, the audits were all completed electronically. This involved auditors bringing their own laptop or tablet and then downloading the workbook of the team they were going to audit. Although this took a little extra time, it ran fairly smoothly and saved us lots of trees!

Once all audits were completed, Green Impact teams had one more week to submit any Further Evidence Requests suggested by their auditors. Following the hard work which teams put into Green Impact each year, the auditing process is there to ensure each team gets the award that they deserve for their efforts and is not designed to penalise teams for missing something.

Once the Further Evidence Requests were all collected, the only thing left for teams to do was wait for their award levels…

We received some great constructive feedback from auditors concerning the Green Impact auditing process and it was wonderful to see what students enjoyed the most about being involved with audits. Many volunteers were pleased to see how proud teams were and to get an insight into the positive environmental work which goes on inside staff departments.

“For me, it was great to see that University departments were just as enthusiastic as me in reducing the environmental impact of everyday practices.”

“It was also very rewarding to see that the efforts made by each department were making a genuine difference, and that people do care about their environmental impact”

“What I enjoyed the most is that I had the chance to meet new people and work with them for the day. Also I enjoyed having such an important role as I had the chance to act in a very professional manner which will help me in my future career.”

“It was good to be part of a project bringing about tangible, positive change in the University”

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