Sustainability Officer 2012-13: 6 Month Progress Report Environment Team, Estates
Sarah Duley 12/12/2012
Sustainability Officer 2012-13: 6 Month Progress Report About Sarah I graduated from the Sustainable Development Undergraduate Programme at the University of St Andrews with BSc Hons 2:1 in June 2012. Having studied in St Andrews for four years before obtaining this position as the University’s Sustainability Officer, St Andrews is a place close to my heart. During my time here as a student my interest in and knowledge of sustainability has increased hugely. I thoroughly enjoyed the range of diverse modules and topics and particularly relished larger projects such as my review essay on community ownership and sustainability and my dissertation entitled ‘What is wild land? Public perceptions of wildness and the relationship between humanity and the natural world’ for which I obtained a 1st class result. My academic work combined with my extra-curricular activities, in particular my role as President of the University Canoe Club prepared me well for this position and I am very appreciative of the opportunity provided by Santander to put my learning into practice. I would like to take this opportunity to formally thank Santander for the support they provide to make this fantastic position possible. The purpose of this report is to outline some of the main projects I have been working on so far as Sustainability Officer at the University of St Andrews. Sustainable Development is hugely important to the University of St Andrews and we have some ambitious plans to further our commitment to sustainability over the coming years. For example, we aim to be carbon neutral for our energy use by 2016 and we have a clear and committing Sustainable Development Policy 2012 – 2022. The University also has a large and active Transition group that works on sustainability initiatives across campus and into the wider community. The role of the Sustainability Officer fits neatly into all this; publicising and raising awareness of all sustainability issues and related events, organising events and engaging with the staff and student body, outreaching into the community and communicating all things sustainability throughout the University and further afield.
Awards, Reports and Policies Staff Environmental Awareness Survey Report One of the first projects I undertook was to analyse and write up the results of the Staff Environmental Awareness Survey which was conducted by the Environment Team before I took up my post. This was the first Environmental Awareness Survey undertaken at the University and produced some interesting and encouraging results (e.g. 70% of staff would like more information on environmental initiatives at the University, 86% of staff recycle everything they can, 98% think staff have a responsibility to act on sustainability issues in their workplace and 93% support the University’s goal to become carbon neutral by 2016) that we can now compare against planned future surveys, 1
Staff and Student Travel Survey We are currently conducting our Staff and Student Travel Surveys at the University, these run once every three years and inform the University’s Travel Plan and our carbon reporting. I have been reviewing and editing the survey design and questions, promoting and publicisng the survey wherever possible and coordinating the work of 4 students employed on a casual basis to promote the survey and input hard copies into online versions. Once we close the survey I will be responsible for analysing the results, comparing them with previous years and compiling a report. We will begin to report in the Estates Management Statistics the carbon emissions of our staff and students commuting to the University, and this report will form the basis for our carbon estimate.
Energy Strategy and Review of Climate Change and Carbon Report I reviewed and updated the Climate Change and Carbon report written by the previous Sustainability Officer for Fife Council and I also created a shorter and more simplified report detailing the University’s Energy Strategy mainly for publication around the University to increase awareness of our energy plans. Please find both reports here: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/environment/resources/
Sustainable Food Policy Another major project I have been working on with the University Catering Manager and Executive Chef is to develop, write and ratify a Sustainable Food Policy for the University. We have come up with several drafts which include some ambitious and exciting targets. To get support for and publicise this project and the Sustainable Food agenda as a whole at the University I also organised and chaired a University wide ‘Food Meeting’ involving University staff and students from different departments including Estates, Transition, Residential Business Services, Procurement and the Principal’s Office.
Green Sports Club Award I have set up and launched a new award at the University which aims to get sport and sports clubs at the University more involved in environmental issues. The award will recognise and hopefully encourage environmentally friendly behaviour within sports clubs. The winning club will receive £100 and be presented with their prize at the Student Volunteering Award Ceremony in April.
Campaigns Staff Environmental Awareness Campaign One of the biggest and most continuous projects I have been working on for the past 6 months is our Staff Environmental Awareness Campaign. This is designed to create a network of staff members across as many University departments as possible who become Environmental 2
Facilitators by going through a series of workshops and training sessions, known as the Passport to Environmental Excellence. The campaign was launched in February 2012 and has been running successfully ever since with our first two members just completed all the training workshops to â€˜graduateâ€™ from the programme and go on to mentor other members of staff through the workshops. I have been a key point of contact for the Environmental Facilitators, developing resources for them to use, producing newsletters, advertising events and promoting environmental information for them to distribute to their departments. I have been delivering training sessions (see below) and helping with the current drive to recruit other members of staff from different departments to join the programme. For more information please see here: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/environment/environmentalfacilitators/
Interhall Energy The Interhall Energy Competition is run every year to help encourage students to adopt more environmentally friendly behaviours to save energy in their halls. The campaign is sponsored by Residential Business Services who provide cash prizes to the committee of the winning hall. I have been working with the Transition University of St Andrews group and the hall environment representatives to publicise and launch this yearâ€™s campaign. We have organised several launch events and developed a photo competition to run alongside the main competition to generate more awareness and enthusiasm. Please see here for more information: http://transitionuniversityofstandrews.com/inter-hall-energy/ http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/interhall/#d.en.4146
Training Passport to Environmental Excellence The Passport is the training course and set of workshops that is part of the Staff Environmental Awareness Campaign. I have been heavily involved in this and have delivered and co-delivered multiple training sessions including ‘Travel and Transport’, ‘About Carbon Conversations’ and ‘Recycling Briefing’. The training programme has been commended and supported by the Carbon Trust. You can find the workshops in the Passport detailed here: http://www.standrews.ac.uk/capod/environmentalprogramme/
Staff Training I have been reviewing, developing and delivering ‘Environmental Awareness’ Training to Residential Business Services (RBS) staff. These training sessions are designed to be as interactive and interesting as possible and include information and activities which would be of particular relevance to the staff in individual halls that we are presenting to. I have jointly delivered one training session so far and I am in the process of reviewing and editing our session ready for numerous sessions in January to large numbers of staff (between 20 and 60) from RBS as well as members of our Janitorial staff.
Carbon Conversations In September, I became trained as a Carbon Conversations Facilitator and am now qualified to facilitate six week Carbon Conversations courses, a discussion based, and group-learning course on personal carbon footprints designed to examine the emotional and practical responses to climate change. Co-facilitating with a Transition volunteer, I have brought 5 people through the whole course so far and am expecting to lead another 2 groups through the course next semester. For more information on Carbon Conversations at the University please see here: http://transitionuniversityofstandrews.com/carbon-conversations/
Communications, Awareness and Engagement Social Media Membership and activity on all the social media pages I manage has increased since I started my position. I have created extra web pages in order to increase student awareness and participation in Fairtrade and Interhall Energy.
Environment Team = 250 likes https://www.facebook.com/EnvironmentStA Green Week 2012 = 343 likes https://www.facebook.com/greenweek2012 Fairtrade in St Andrews = 71 likes (created in last month) https://www.facebook.com/FairtradeInStAndrews 4
Interhall Energy Competition = 29 likes (only just been created in last 2 weeks) https://www.facebook.com/pages/Interhall-Energy-Competition/367788803312383
The Environment Team Twitter page has 283 followers and is following 277 others. I have posted about 16 tweets (at least 2 per month) which also link to our Facebook account. I aim to create a bigger Twitter presence next year. https://twitter.com/EnvironmentStA I have also been operating as the main contributor to the Environment Team Blog which I frequently post environmental news stories from the University, interesting information on sustainability topics and have also sourced a guest blogger from DeMontfort University. http://environmentsta.wordpress.com/ The Environment Team mailing list now has 245 emails which includes around 110 new, gathered at the University Societies Fayre during Fresher’s Week.
Publicity and Raising Awareness I have been working hard to raise awareness of what the Environment Team do and about environmental issues across the University. I have employed several techniques to do this, as well as utilising social media channels (above) as much as possible I have ensured regular submissions in the Wednesday (student) and Friday (staff) memos that are sent to all staff and students via email each week. I have created and distributed posters around the campus (for Christmas shutdown, the Student Travel Survey, Fairtrade etc.). I have also submitted articles to University publications such as In the Loop and delivered occasional press releases to the University Communications department. I aim to submit more press releases over the next 6 months as they are effective in reaching a wider audience. I have also created 2 newsletters containing environmental news, updates and information from around the campus which are distributed online and throughout individual departments by the Environmental Facilitators (EFs). Some of the EFs have also been working on individual poster projects for their department with a student from the Association Design Team in the hope that this will produce interesting and eye catching posters addressing issues specific to individual departments. This project is being jointly coordinated and managed by myself and the student convener of the Design Team.
Student Support and Engagement Since starting my position in July I have had a lot of contact with students, both through supporting relevant student societies and running events and publicity to engage all students. I have a key role within the ‘Environment Committee’ set up by the Students Association Environment and Ethics Officer and am working closely the E&E Officer to train and support the new 5
Hall Environment Representatives, especially in relation to Interhall Energy. I also liaise with the One World Society and the students involved in Transition to organise events and help publicise their work. I have also been assisting some St Andrews students who wish to set up a Bike Pool scheme at the University and have attended their preliminary meetings.
Committees Transition Steering Group As mentioned above I have been working closely with Transition and have been invited to sit on their Steering Group to provide support, advice and to ensure our similar organisations are providing a ‘united’ front, delivering a coherent environmental message to the rest of the University. Fairtrade Steering Group and Fairtrade Town Group In my position I have also taken up the post of Chair of the University Joint Fairtrade Steering Group. This is a collaboration group of staff and students set up to maintain and promote the University’s Fairtrade status. I have held two well-attended and useful meetings so far this term and will aim to hold at least another two, perhaps three (to plan events and publicity for Fairtrade Fortnight), next semester. I coordinate the mailing list, the agenda, the minutes and many of the actions from these meetings and have held a successful Fairtrade Bake Sale, raising money for the Fairtrade Foundation, created a new Facebook page about Fairtrade in St Andrews, facilitated a local Fairtrade supplier to attend a Clothes fair in St Andrews, assisted the Town Group in their promotion and am now working towards planning various events for Fairtrade Fortnight such as a staff coffee morning, a speaker, a Fairtrade Bake Off and much more. I have recruited students to be part of this committee and plan to make a sub– committee made up of students to help organise events. I have also been the sole point of contact for the St Andrews Town Fairtrade Group and have attended their meetings as well so that we can work together to promote Fairtrade. I have also been regularly updating the Fairtrade website, please see here: http://www.standrews.ac.uk/visiting/about/fairtrade/
Events I have been involved in the organisation, promotion and delivery of several events over the last 6 months.
Freshers Week I coordinated our stall at the University Societies Fair during Freshers Week, promoting the Environment Team and what we do to incoming students, encouraging people to sign up for more information and distributing useful literature e.g. recycling points etc. I also liaised with local charity Bikeworks to bring a second hand Bike sale to the students and this led to a student group establishing contact with the charity to run subsequent Bike Doctor events during the semester.
Green Week I was part of the delivery team for Green Week 2012 and organised a lot of the publicity, venues and events. I ran a successful Fairtrade Bake Sale in my role as Fairtrade Steering Group Chair which raised almost ÂŁ100 for the Fairtrade Foundation and increased awareness of Fairtrade amongst the student body. I also brought Fife Diet (http://www.fifediet.co.uk/) to Green Week with their Seed Truck and Smoothie Bike. This event was held in the sunshine outside the Studentâ€™s Union and generated a lot of attention and interest. Students came by to pedal their way to a refreshing smoothie made with electricity and with all local ingredients from a nearby fruit farm.
Future Projects During the next 6 months I will be continuing to work on a lot of the long term projects outlined in this report, in particular the Passport to Environmental Excellence, Carbon Conversations, Fairtrade Steering Group and publicity. New projects will include helping to establish an Environmental Management System for the University, working towards a Green Tourism Business Scheme award for McIntosh Hall of Residence, redeveloping and reinvigorating parts of the Environment Team website, submitting our application for the People and Planet Green League and coordinating more events and outreach for the next Green Week and Fairtrade Fortnight.