Sustainability Officer 2012-13: Final Report Environment Team, Estates
Sarah Duley July 2013
Sustainability Officer 2012-13: Final Report Summary and Reflections I have been in post as the Sustainability Officer at the University of St Andrews for almost 12 months now and I will be wrapping up my projects and finishing work at the start of July. Over the last year I have been heavily involved in a huge range of projects which has given by a fantastic breadth of experience to take away. The 2012/13 Environment Team
I have gained particular skills in developing and delivering training and workshops, creating and developing policy for institutions, working with a variety of people and stakeholders in the University sphere and have also furthered my skills in communications, report writing, organising events and public speaking. As outlined in my six month progress report 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 â€“ 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. This position working within the Environment Team at a world renowned institution for teaching and learning but also for its sustainability credentials has been an absolutely invaluable learning experience and I would like to take this opportunity to formally thank Santander for the support they provide to make this fantastic position possible. Looking forward, I plan to move to Edinburgh and find a job in the sustainability field; I would be particularly interested to work on sustainable food or Fair Trade projects. I am excited about the many developments currently happening in Scotland in terms of sustainability and I would love to use the skills I have gained at St Andrews to help develop environmental and sustainability projects elsewhere.
The purpose of this report is to outline some of the main projects I have been working for the last six months as Sustainability Officer at the University of St Andrews. Please see my six month progress report for more details of the first half of the position http://www.standrews.ac.uk/environment/resources/.
Communications, Awareness and Engagement Social Media Membership and activity on most social media pages I manage has increased further in the last six months.
The Environment Team page now has 296 likes https://www.facebook.com/EnvironmentStA The old Green Week 2012 page has 331 likes https://www.facebook.com/greenweek2012 but we have also created a new undated Green Week page which has 297 likes https://www.facebook.com/StAndrewsGreenWeek The Fairtrade in St Andrews page now has 121 likes, up from 71 likes https://www.facebook.com/FairtradeInStAndrews
The Environment Team Twitter page now has 342 followers and is following 281 others. I have posted about 10 tweets since January which also link to our Facebook account. I have found Facebook more effective at engaging with students so I have focused more on this but Twitter has proved useful especially during events. https://twitter.com/EnvironmentStA I also remain the main contributor to the Environment Team Blog which over the past six months I have used mainly to advertise and report on events I or other sustainability organisations in the University have put on. http://environmentsta.wordpress.com/ The Environment Team mailing list is also used mainly to advertise environmental events and volunteering opportunities to those most interested.
Publicity and Newsletters Continuing with the work outlined in the six month progress report I have been working hard to raise awareness of what the Environment Team do and about environmental issues across the University. I have continued to use social media channels (above) as much as possible, include regular submissions in the Wednesday (student) and Friday (staff) memos that are sent to all staff and students via email each week and create and distribute posters around the campus (e.g. for Green Week and Fairtrade Fortnight events). I have also submitted articles to University publications such as In the Loop and I have created or contributed to 2 newsletters, one
a University wide newsletter written by myself containing environmental news, updates and information from around the campus and the other a 1 page article for Res Buzz – the Residential Business Services newsletter – which included environmental news and updates more specific to this department. I hope that this environmental section in Res Buzz will continue.
Awards and Reports Staff and Student Travel Survey and Report We have now closed 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 collating and analysing the results, comparing them with previous years and compiling a report.
Reporting As an institution we are required to report on our environmental impacts and credentials. I have been involved in formatting and populating some of our annual reports with images and I have helped draft the text for the Progress report required by EAUC of UCCCFS universities.
Green Sports Club Award We have now chosen the winners for the Green Sports Award launched last semester. Women’s Shinty won the first prize of £100 for their activities and collaboration with Fife Coast and Countryside Trust in stabilising the dunes at West Sands. We also decided to award £50 and £25 to second and third place due to the hard work and effort put in by the clubs. Canoe club won second place for conducting a beach clean at East Sands and undertaking ivy cleaning at nearby Cambo Estates. Women’s Lacrosse won third prize for organising a glass bottle collection in St Andrews town centre. I hope this award will become an annual thing which gets sport and sports clubs at the University more involved in environmental issues.
The winners of the 2013 Green Sports Award
Green Gown Awards I am working with colleagues from the Environment Team and the Centre for Academic, Professional and Organisational Development (CAPOD) on our submission to the EAUC’s annual Green Gown awards. We are nominating our Staff Environmental Awareness Campaign and Passport to Environmental Excellence.
People and Planet Green League I coordinated our submission to the 2013 People and Planet Green League. This involved collating all the data and information requested by People and Planet from the relevant areas across the University, inputting it into the application form, reviewing the scores given and dealing with any appeals. The full results have now been published and I have completed a gap analysis outlining areas we can improve on for next year.
Campaigns Staff Environmental Awareness Campaign One of the biggest and most continuous projects I have been working on for the past 12 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 Facilitators by going through a series of workshops and training sessions, known as the Passport to Environmental Excellence. The campaign has now been running successfully for around 18 months and we have had several staff members complete all the training workshops to ‘graduate’ from the programmes. I am constantly reviewing and updating the materials for each workshop. I have also more recently been involved in the recruitment process to find more members of staff who are interested in becoming Environmental Facilitators by placing advertisements in staff newsletters and online and also by co-delivering a series of briefing sessions. 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. 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 now largely managed by Transition University of St Andrews following the appointment of two new members of staff however I still provide support if required. Please see here for more information: http://transitionuniversityofstandrews.com/inter-hallenergy/ or http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/interhall/#d.en.4146
Green Week A second Green Week for the 2012/13 academic year was held in March 2013. I was largely responsible for organising and facilitating this alongside colleagues from Transition University of St Andrews. It was a very successful week with lots of varied events put on by a multitude of different societies and organisations. I organised publicity all over the University, through the usual channels but also on screens in the library, though banners and T-shirts and as the University’s official photo of the week http://www.standrews.ac.uk/potw/2013/name,215606,en.php.
Green Week publicity
I organised several events myself including:
Staff Bike to Work Breakfast ‘Fish for today, fish for tomorrow – the global sustainable seafood movement’ talk by Ed Cassano Sustainability Fayre outside the Union Tour of Hamish, the University’s rocket composter
I also coordinated the Green Week timetable and provided support and publicity to a number of other events, including:
TRASHED film screening Biology Society film screening Transition Open Forum
Sustainable Development Society seminar – ‘Grill an Environmentalist’ Canoe Club Beach Clean
Canoe Club Beach Clean
I also worked with the Athletic Union President to run the now annual ‘Cycletricity’ event, a competition between sports clubs to see who can generate the most energy on pedal bikes powering our electric van. This was due to be held in Green Week but was postponed until April due to snow! The event attracted a lot of attention from passersby and the sports clubs loved it. See here for a blog post with the results: http://environmentsta.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/cycletricity-2013/. 5
Working alongside student groups, town organisations e.g. St Andrews Botanic Gardens and Transition will hopefully help embed Green Week as a principal event in the University calendar every spring and enable us to involve more community groups, academics, staff and students, generating awareness year on year. For more information please the website www.standrewsgreenweek.com .
Training Passport to Environmental Excellence The Passport is the training course and set of workshops that forms the backbone of the Staff Environmental Awareness Campaign. I have been heavily involved in this and have delivered and co-delivered multiple training sessions and workshops including ‘Travel and Transport’, ‘About Carbon Conversations’, ‘Sustainability Briefing’ and ‘Recycling Briefing’. The training programme has been commended and supported by the Carbon Trust and we have now received accreditation from the Energy Institute as an official training provider. You can find the workshops in the Passport detailed here: http://www.standrews.ac.uk/capod/environmentalprogramme/
Staff Training At the start of this six month period I was responsible for reviewing, developing and delivering ‘Environmental Awareness’ Training to Residential Business Services (RBS) staff. These training sessions were 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 jointly delivered five training sessions to large numbers of staff (between 20 and 60) from RBS which were well received.
Projects Fair Trade Groups Over the past six months I have continued in the position of Chair of the University Joint Fairtrade Steering Group. I have held two well-attended and useful meetings so far this term. One mainly focused on planning our activities for Fairtrade Fortnight and the other to review Fairtrade Fortnight and discuss future plans. I organised a subcommittee meeting made up of 3 student volunteers to run several of the Fairtrade Fortnight events. I also plan to hold one more meeting in June to discuss the renewal of our Fairtrade policies and to wrap up everything ready to handover to the new Sustainability Officer. 6
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. Fair Trade Fortnight I coordinated the delivery of our Fairtrade fortnight events and publicity. We ran four main events; a talk by John Riches from Just Trading Scotland in association with the town group, a staff coffee morning, a film screening of Black Gold and a bake sale outside the Library. I created all the posters and publicity for these events and ensured we had booked the venues etc. We also had publicity up in the Library, on our Facebook pages, on the website, in the student and staff memos and in the staff newsletter ‘In the Loop’. The retail outlets also sold Fairtrade muffins using the winning recipe of our Bake off competition (see below) and Fairtrade cookies and donated the profits to the Fairtrade Foundation. From this, the coffee morning and the bake sale we raised almost £200 for the Fairtrade Foundation. Fair Trade Projects and Other Events I organised a Fairtrade Rose Sale outside the Library on Valentine’s Day raising awareness of Fairtrade itself and the huge variety of items you can buy that are Fairtrade, many people didn’t know you could buy Fairtrade flower.s Along with two student volunteers I created a Fairtrade Google map highlighting all the locations in St Andrews that you could buy Fairtrade prodcuts. This included shops, cafes, restaurants, hotels and places of work. This format is easily accessible by students and can show them straight away where you can purchase ethically. It is also editable by anybody so people can add establishments if they find Fairtrade products on sale. I wrote an article for student newspaper ‘The Saint’ about the University’s Fairtrade contribution, especially in relation to the fairly traded rice we purchase from Just Trading for which 90kg sends a child in Malawi to high school. Please see the article here: http://www.thesaint-online.com/2013/02/st-andrews-fairtrade-contribution/ I delivered two Fairtrade lessons to high school pupils at local St Andrews school, St Leonards. I planned these lessons myself and delivered them alongside a fellow Fairtrade steering group member. The pupils were generally very ehtusiasytic and it was a great experience for me. We played The Banana Game (see here http://www.traidcraft.co.uk/Resources/Traidcraft/Documents/PDF/General/church_ga me_banana_game.pdf), explained the concept of Fairtrade and asked various true or false questions about Fairtrade in St Andrews. Myself and another Fairtrade steering group member have initiated two Masters dissertation projects which will be undertaken by University of St Andrews Computer Science students this summer. We wanted to create both a Fairtrade mobile phone app and a Fairtrade website but lacked the time and skills to do this so are working with the Computer Science department to create these. Hopefully this will be of benefit both to Fairtrade at the University but also to the students working on the projects. I also had the idea to run a spin-off of Great British Bake Off, ‘The Great Fairtrade Bake Off’ to engage students in Fairtrade. Working with the Catering department and Student Cooking TV we ran and filmed a successful bake off with four teams of 2 students baking 6 sweet and 6 savoury muffins using Fairtrade ingredients. I recruited and 7
organised the students for this and liaised with both other parties to organize judges, prizes and a location for the filming. Please see the finished result here: http://www.studentcooking.tv/videos/low-fat-laughs/st-andrews-fairtrade-bake-off
I have also been updating the current Fairtrade website on the University webpages, please see here: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/visiting/about/fairtrade/
Sustainable Food Sustainable Food Policy and Action Plan 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 a final draft of the policy which is due to be approved by the Sustainable Development Working Group. I have also been developing a Sustainable Food Action Plan to go alongside the commitments made in the policy. This includes more specific targets, dates and KPIs. I have also organised and chaired several University wide ‘Food Meeting’s involving University staff and students from different departments including Estates, Transition, Residential Business Services, Procurement and the Principal’s Office. Food Procurement One of the things that has come out of the food meetings and policy mentioned above is a greater focus on and commitment to local food procurement. I have been working with Procurement to look at the current tenders of commodities to assess how we can use or alter these to attract SMEs and local producers. The Catering dept. is also looking at introducing more local food procurement using a small hall of residence, Dean’s Court as a trial.
8 Speakers and organisers of the Future of Food Seminar
Although these two departments are beginning to work on sustainable, local food procurement themselves I have been driving the agenda forward and encouraging and supporting them in their efforts. Sustainable Food Event – ‘The Future of Food at the University of St Andrews’ I organised for Robin Gourlay, food and drink advisor to the Scottish Government and formerly of East Ayrshire council, to come and talk to the Catering and Procurement departments about his experience of introducing local food procurement in East Ayrshire schools. This was followed by a public seminar with entitled ‘The Future of Food at the University of St Andrews’. The event was well attended by staff and students. The Principal also attended and gave an opening address, which was followed by speakers Robin Gourlay and Mike Small of the Fife Diet. Alan Riddell, University Catering Manager, joined the speakers to form a question and answer panel to end the session. Hall Food Waste Trial The other food initiative I have been involved in this year has been a food waste trial and measurement project at John Burnet Hall. The upcoming legislation regarding food waste has put this near the top of our agenda and that of RBS. As a result, myself, Transition University of St Andrews and RBS have been working together to measure all types food waste coming out of John Burnet and University Hall kitchens (e.g. plate waste, servery waste, preparation waste). We have also conducted questionnaires and discussions with the students to see what measures could be introduced to reduce their plate waste.
Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS) During this second half of my term as Sustainability Officer one of the big projects I have been involved in has been assisting the Residential Services Manager for McIntosh Hall with their application to the Green Tourism Business Scheme. This has mainly involved collating information relevant to McIntosh Hall and advising on various topics including energy, water, waste, procurement, food and travel. We have had multiple meetings to input this information into the document GTBS use during their assessment. Unfortunately it is very likely I will no longer be in position when the assessment takes place but I very much hope my work will help McIntosh to achieve a Bronze GTBS award. As a result of the work with McIntosh I have been in contact with all the GTBS establishments in St Andrews to arrange a meeting to share best practice and encourage joint marketing, one of the criteria GTBS mention.
Transition University of St Andrews Over the past six months I have continued working closely with Transition and have on occasion 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. Particular projects we have worked on together include Cycletricity and the hall food waste project, both outlined above.
Recruitment of and Handover to 2013/14 Sustainability Officer I was involved in the recruitment of the new Sustainability Officer, advertising the position on various websites and through social media as well as giving a presentation to 4th year and MSc Sustainable Development classes at the University, I also worked with the HR department on the application, interview and appointment process. I was on the selection/interview panel alongside colleagues from the Environment Team and Estates and therefore played a part in selecting the successful candidate. This means when my position comes to an end in early July, Tucker Diego will take over the post of the Sustainability Officer at Estates. Tucker is also a recent Sustainable Development graduate from the University of St Andrews and is well placed to continue the work I have been doing. I wish him all the best and I hope he enjoys the position as much as I have.
Thanks As well as all the events, activities and projects detailed above this position has given me the opportunity to work alongside some wonderful people. Particular thanks go to Barbara Aitken, David Stutchfield and Roddy Yarr, in the Environment Team, for their guidance and support over the year. I have also greatly enjoyed working alongside colleagues in other University departments, thank you to Erwin Lai in CAPOD, Alan Riddell and Mark Nixon in Residential Business Services, Alain Leger in Procurement, all the Environmental Facilitators and lastly to Alistair Macleod and the entire Transition team, it has been a pleasure.