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Welcome to the Sustainability Service’s 
newsletter, a condensed look at sustainability at the University of Leeds.


Welcome to the November/December newsletter! This month’s theme 'embedding sustainability' aligns with our ‘Building knowledge and capacity’ strategic theme from the Sustainability Strategy. As part of the Strategy, we aim to work across campus to build capacity and share best practice to truly embed sustainability into the University. In this Newsletter, you can find out more about the projects and events we worked on throughout November and December in order to equip staff, student and external partners with sustainable knowledge and skills.


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EAUC Green Gown Award Winners - Joining Forces to Create Sustainable Futures
 
We are delighted to announce that the Sustainability Service in partnership with the Sustainability Research Institute and the Student Engagement Service has won a coveted Green Gown award in the ‘Learning&Skills’ category! The award was in recognition of work supporting the development of the ‘Creating Sustainable Futures’ Discovery Theme.
The CSF theme allows students from all disciplines to enrol on more than 100 sustainability-related modules. This helps students to explore different aspects of sustainability as they relate to their studies and to broaden their knowledge and skills on the big issues facing society.

The award helped the University to demonstrate to its community and student partners that working together makes sense. It shows they take their commitment to social, environmental and economic sustainability seriously and that by working closely with others, they can continue to have a positive impact on society.
 
Sustainability - the role of the Manager training
 
A new training programme developed by the Sustainability Service is available in SDDU – Sustainability, the role of the Manager. The main aim of the course is to assist leaders and managers in their development of a good knowledge and understanding of sustainability, the University’s Sustainability Strategy and implications for their own roles. The course is suitable for academic, professional and support staff with management and/or leadership roles across the University and will be essential for any managers who are involved in delivering the University’s vision and strategic aims.

The first session held in November, was well attended with good discussions on why sustainability matters to the University and how to embed sustainability in to management practice. Additional sessions will be held in the New Year - to find out more or book on to a course, please  contact Claire Bastin or visit SDDU’s website.
Environmental Management System (EMS) launched

Our University Environmental Management System (EMS) has been launched! The System will play a key role in helping the Sustainability Service deliver many of the environmental objectives within our Strategy. The EMS supports our Environmental Policy, and includes all activities within the city campus, our residential sites and sports and conferencing facilities. The System provides us with a systematic approach to managing – and minimising – the impact that our activities have on the environment.

The EMS has been developed alongside the Health and Safety Management System. It will not change the way in which many colleagues carry out their day to day work, however, there are a few key things that everyone can do to ensure the EMS is as effective as possible:
  • If you notice any unmanaged environmental impacts on campus let us know via sustainability@leeds.ac.uk . This could be as simple as a lights being left on unnecessarily or more high-priority issues such as fly-tipping or waste contamination.
  • Think about how your job impacts on the environment. Check and see if there are any related procedures and contact us at sustainability@leeds.ac.uk  if you are not sure.
  • We will soon be releasing some training to all University staff which will provide more detail about EMS and how you can contribute to its success.
The System documentation is stored on a document control website called ‘EQMS’ which can be accessed via this webpage http://sustainability.leeds.ac.uk/ems .
 

New biodiversity standard

A new biodiversity standard is being launched in December with the main objective of ensuring that the University follows its strategic ambition to ‘become an exemplar of urban biodiversity’. The new biodiversity standard takes into consideration the wider benefits of biodiversity (apart from the benefits to wildlife), such as staff wellbeing and making sure that we are using the latest innovations (e.g. sustainable drainage). Several studies have shown that people who work with green-space surroundings have greater wellbeing and are more willing to engage with their physical workplace.

The new standard also seeks to integrate learning and teaching opportunities that allow for the latest research and thinking at the University to show that we take biodiversity very seriously.
Welcome to our new Student Sustainability Architects

The Sustainability team would like to welcome our four new Student Sustainability Architects who have just been recruited recently! Amy, Ileyas, William and Shara are sure to be great additions to the Sustainability Service.

Over the next few weeks, our new team members will be working with us to develop projects and helps us expand student networks across the University. We are really looking forward to working with them.

 
IntoUniversity comes to campus
 
The Sustainability Service and Educational Engagement teams recently welcomed children and their families from the award-winning IntoUniversity organisation to campus to show them around and introduce them to sustainability initiatives.  IntoUniversity works with children from schools in disadvantaged postcodes to raise aspirations, engage with children who might not normally think of coming to University and encourage them to choose to study (http://intouniversity.org/). The University of Leeds is one of IntoUniversity’s key partners, offering financial support as well as providing opportunities for staff and students to get involved.

During their visit, the children were shown around the Sustainable Garden, built ‘bug hotels’, made smoothies using pedal power and fixed bikes with team members from the Sustainability Service. IntoUniversity students have also been invited to take part in a competition to design bio-diversity flower beds for campus. The winning designs will be planted on campus in the New Year! The event was a great success with positive feedback from those who came along, the Sustainability Service will be organising more events in the near future.

 
Creative Climate writing competition
 
Interested in climate change and the future of the planet? Have you experienced the impacts of climate change first hand? This could be in the form of a physical experience with extreme weather, or it could be how climate change has influenced your learning or your behaviour. The Sustainability Service is looking for stories and experiences directly from the Leeds community. Get your stories in before Friday, 18th December – the best stories will be compiled and published! For more information or to submit a story, please email c.a.graves@leeds.ac.uk.
End of term
 
With the first term of the academic year coming to the end, there will be a huge number of students leaving their Halls of Residences and houses during the Christmas break. If you are leaving too, please take extra care to turn off your unused electrical devices. To avoid food waste, try not doing a whole grocery shopping and use up food in your fridge and cupboard. If it looks like you have left over food, why not have a Christmas 'leftover lunch' with your friends?! By doing so, you could save money as well as helping the environment!
Christmas Shutdown 2015
 
This year’s Christmas shutdown is taking place between 24 December and 4 January. Please turn off equipment such as PCs, photocopiers and empty fridges during the Christmas period to help reduce the University’s energy use and carbon footprint. Any equipment that can safely be turned off during the shutdown period helps us meet our carbon reduction targets and reduces costs to the departments.

Each year, the shutdown makes significant savings in energy and carbon emissions. As a result of last year’s shutdown for example the Worsley building alone saved 32,000 kWh of electricity – enough to supply the electricity needs of the Student Counselling Centre for a whole year! For a shutdown guide, please visit our website.
Petition to improve pedestrian crossing

Leeds University Union started a petition to improve pedestrian crossings at the T-junction between Belle Vue Road and Moorland Road and the crossroads where Moorland Road, Hyde Park Road and Royal Park Road intersect in the Hyde Park/Little Woodhouse area - there have been 15 pedestrian incidents on Hyde Park Road only over the past three years. For more information and to sign the petition, please click here.
 
COP21
 
The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference is being held in Paris - November 30th to December 11th. During COP21, world leaders assemble for high-level climate talks to try to reach a deal to reduce global carbon emission. COP21 is a critical UN conference with negotiators from 195 countries gathering in Le Bourget, Paris.

The event is considered as a ‘turning point’ in negotiations to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and avoid the threat climate change imposes on the globe. A new global climate deal is likely to be agreed for at least a decade after 2020 (since the current commitments run out in 2020) and hopefully beyond.

The University of Leeds is committed to becoming a low carbon university by reducing its carbon emissions and effectively using energy, as stated in the Sustainability Strategy. We are set to reduce carbon emissions by 35% by 2020 and we also continue to invest in carbon reduction projects.
The University has researchers on climate change including IPPC authors and Nobel-prize winners who deliver world-leading research to contribute to our knowledge and understanding of the topic: Professor Andy Challinor‘s research mainly focuses on using climate modelling and process studies to understand food production and security, Professor Piers Forster specialises in climate change and its impact and Professor Suraje Dessai focuses on the management of climate change uncertainties, perception of climate risks and the science-policy interface in climate change impacts, adaption and vulnerability.

To find out more information and follow the Conference, visit the official website here: http://www.cop21.gouv.fr/en/
 
Mentoring opportunity to support local community groups

Since our launch last month we have had a great deal of interest from local community benefit organisations wishing to be mentored by a University staff member in a range of professional and business support areas. We are now seeking staff members from any background to link to these organisations and help support them with a specific area of work such as writing a funding bid, developing a marketing campaign or sustainable business modelling. For more information and to make an application to the scheme, visit the sustainability webpages. http://sustainability.leeds.ac.uk/sustainability-service-mentoring/.
 
 
Work Placement wanted for Leeds City College students

The Sustainability Service is seeking schools and departments who are willing to give local young people from Leeds City College the opportunity to gain vocational training through a work placement. The students are studying either a level 2 or 3 vocational business qualifications and are required to complete a placement in order to gain their qualification.  Participating departments would be required to offer placements of up to 92 hours, 1 or 2 days a week starting from January.  Contact Amanda Jackson to register an interest for this opportunity at 0113 3434073 or a.m.jackson@leeds.ac.uk.
 

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Volunteer Days

University staff and students regularly take part in volunteer days with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust in the Leeds area each year. These activities bring together staff and students from a number of University managed sites across both Central and North West Leeds. So far this year, groups have undertaken hay meadow management at Kirkstall Valley Nature Reserve, and willow coppicing at Esholt, near Rawdon. To read more about the volunteer days and what they involved click here.

Further events are planned for spiling at Otterburn Beck; tree planting at Water Haigh Woodland Park; and scrub bashing at Ledston Luck Nature Reserve in the New Year.


 
Sustainability Coffee Break
 
At our last Coffee Break we crafted Christmas cards, wreaths and ornaments from recycled materials from around campus as a festive activity before Christmas. We hold these events monthly on the last Friday of each month. All staff and students are welcome to come along and get to know a bit more about our work and how they can get involved with us. Keep an eye out on our social media to find out what activity we’re planning for the next one!
 
Shwopping comes to campus again
 
Need a clear-out before Christmas? Searching for a last minute Christmas present? Bring your unwanted clothes and bedding to the Hidden Café, the Refectory, the Parkinson Building, The Edge or Business School Foyer on December 10th and 11th and we’ll Shwop your donation for a £5 M&S Gift Card (valid when you spend £35 or more in an M&S store on clothing, beauty or homeware).

Your donations will be resold, reused or recycled by Oxfam, with the money raised helping to support people living in poverty. £20 raised from your Shwopping donation can provide a farmer with equipment to set up a home vegetable garden!

We are also looking for volunteers to man the collection boxes – if you’re interested in helping us out, please get in touch by emailing g.gabor@leeds.ac.uk.
 
Dates for your diary 
 
  • 30th November – 11th December: COP21 – United Nations Conference on climate change
     
  • 11th-13th December: Playful City Jams participate with local communities and organisations together with practitioners and students from a variety of design areas. Through creative and collaborative design processes the jams deliver multi-sectorial solutions that promote engagement in urban sustainability within both individuals and communities. Click here for more information.
     
  • 10-11th December: Shwopping on campus
     
  • 18th December: Deadline to send in your stories for our writing competition