8. Staff and Student Engagement

Any changes in 2013?

We have increased the weighting of this criteria by 1 point, as agreed in 2011 and approved by stakeholders in 2012. We have also amended slightly the wording of criteria 8m) to make it easier for institutions to show their sustainability engagement with Trade Union representatives. The Staff & Student Engagement criteria will be subject to full review and consultation as part of the wider review of all Green League criteria and weightings for 2014 onwards.

Photo of York student action during Go Green Week 2012

Students want to be involved in their institutions’ sustainability decisions

Why measure this?

An institution’s transition towards environmental sustainability cannot be achieved without the engagement and support of the entire university community including students and staff at all levels. Whilst universities are directly responsible for many environmental impacts through their operations, the university community also contributes significantly to its overall footprint through its behaviour - for example, consumption of electricity or travel/recycling habits.

Universities that play an active role in encouraging and engaging students and staff in sustainable behaviour change will be able to make their transition to a low-carbon, lower- energy future much more smoothly, cheaply and quickly. Furthermore, behaviour and values learnt whilst at university have long-lasting impacts on graduates throughout their lives.

From the example they set to students to the large volumes of waste glass they generate, Students’ Unions and Students’ Associations also have a big environmental responsibility. In addition to some universities owning and managing Students’ Union properties, all universities can share expertise on environmental management with their student unions or associations, as well as providing resources (such as time or grants) for environmental initiatives by their staff and students.

How are points allocated?

Total: 4 points

0 points if doing none or 3 or less of the below
1 point if doing 4-5 of the below
2 points if doing 6-8 of the below
3 points if doing 9-11 of the below
4 points if doing 12-13 of the below:

a. Students’ Union or Students’ Association associated to the institution has achieved a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award in this year’s Green Impact Union Awards (or similar)
b. University actively supports an annual Go Green Week or Environment Week.
c. Staff engagement scheme to involve staff in improving the environmental performance of the university- for eg. Green Impact Universities or departmental eco-champions.
d.Initiatives to increase energy saving behaviour of all students in halls of residence (eg. Student Switch Off)
e. Initiatives to increase recycling behaviour of all students in halls of residence.
f. Student representation on all university committees concerned with estates, planning,finance and resource allocation.
g. Environmental awareness-raising campaigns that reach all students and staff.
h. Coursework linked to sustainability projects within the university/estates department.
i. Availability of university funds for student or staff-led practical sustainability projects (eg. campus allotments, recycling schemes etc).
j. Oversight and involvement of students and staff in the development and ongoing monitoring of Carbon Management Plan.
k. Provision of space for student / staff food-growing projects.
l. All staff inductions cover sustainability policy and issues
m. Engagement with recognised Trade Union environment reps (eg. GreenReps) or engagement with trade unions on sustainability issues.

How is this criteria assessed?

8. Do any of the following activities take place at your university?

0-4 Points

Clarifications:

  • The same activity/evidence cannot be submitted under more than one category. If evidence is submitted twice points will only be awarded under the most relevant category.

a) Students’ Union or Students’ Association associated to the institution has achieved a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award in this year’s Green Impact Union Awards (or similar).

Clarifications:

  • Points not awarded if the institution has not yet achieved an award or is still classed by NUS Services Ltd as “working towards” the award on 1 April 2013.
  • If Students’ Union or Students’ Association is part of the Green Impact scheme then no evidence is required as evidence of Green Impact Union Award will be provided directly by NUS who coordinate the Green Impact Unions scheme.

Evidence required:

  • If not affiliated to NUS, please ask student union/association to provide evidence of comparable level of activity to the Green Impact Unions Bronze Award or higher. This could take the form of an environmental audit report and/or annual report covering progress in all relevant environmental management areas including transport, energy, waste, biodiversity, food, procurement and student engagement.

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b) University actively supports an annual Go Green Week or Environment Week.

Clarifications:

  • University must provide resources and/or help organise the week to qualify for points.
  • The environment week must have taken place since 1 April 2012.
  • The initiatives must go beyond awareness raising (eg. Poster campaigns).
  • No points were awarded for one-off or one-day events.
  • No points awarded for a week which only covers one environmental area e.g cycling week unless several events are held throughout the year on a range of topics.
  • No points awarded for Health/Wellbeing/Fairtrade weeks unless there was a significant environmental element included.

Evidence required:

  • Description of the Go Green Week activities.
  • Evidence of these activities is needed in the form of minutes from meetings where projects are formally agreed to or programme of activities or weblink to relevant media coverage.

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c) Staff engagement scheme to involve staff in improving the environmental performance of the university eg. Green Impact Universities or departmental eco-champions.

Clarifications:

  • If run by external organisation (eg. EAUC’s Green Impact Universities scheme) evidence will be requested directly from them.
  • No points for only including individual members of staff sitting on committees or steering groups, we’re looking for evidence of engagement schemes open to all staff.

Evidence required:

  • Details of the staff engagement scheme. *Evidence of these activities is needed in the form of minutes from meetings where projects are formally agreed to and/or link to information on website.

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d) Initiatives to increase energy saving behaviour of all students eg. Student Switch Off in halls of residence

Clarifications:

student switch off logo
  • The initiatives must go beyond awareness raising (eg. Poster campaigns) and have taken place since 1 April 2012.
  • If the university has no halls of residence, we will consider evidence of energy-saving initiatives across a significant proportion of the wider student body.
  • No points awarded unless a brief outline of the reach and results of activities. carried out to increase energy-saving behaviour is provided.
  • If initiative is run by Student Switch Off evidence of involvement will be provided directly by them.

Evidence required:

  • Brief outline of the reach and results of activities carried out to increase energy-saving behaviour.
  • Minutes from meetings where projects are formally agreed to and/or relevant weblinks to details of the initiative.

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e)Recycling initiatives for all students.

Clarifications:

  • The initiatives must go beyond awareness raising (eg. Poster campaigns) and have taken place since 1 April 2012.
  • Where the university has no halls of residence, we will consider evidence of initiatives to increase recycling by a significant proportion of the wider student body.
  • No points awarded simply for installing or providing recyling facilities, we’re looking for evidence of a comprehensive, ongoing engagement scheme
  • No points awarded unless a brief outline of the reach and results of activities carried out to increase recycling behaviour was provided.

Evidence required:

  • Minutes from meetings where projects are formally agreed to and/or links to websites relating to the initiatives.
  • Brief outline of the reach and results of activities carried out to increase recycling behaviour.

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f) Student representation on all university committees concerned with estates, planning, finance and resource allocation.

Clarifications:

  • No points unless evidence from student representative confirms this is the case.
  • Points only awarded if evidence from student representatives confirms participation in ALL relevant committees.

Evidence required:

  • Statement from a responsible party in the students union executive confirming that students have representation on all university committees concerned with estates, planning, finance and resource allocation, including contact details of relevant party.

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g) Environmental awareness-raising campaigns that reach all students and staff

Clarifications:

  • No points unless the campaigns cover all campuses or departments.

Evidence required:

  • Minutes from meetings where projects are formally agreed to and/or signed off communications plans clearly highlighting environmental awareness-raising initiatives.
  • Please attach evidence and provide a brief statement from a responsible party confirming how the campaign was designed and resourced to reach all staff and students (eg. photos, university newsletter, screenshots of intranet pages etc)

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h) Coursework linked to sustainability projects within the university/estates department.

Clarifications:

  • The coursework must be part of an academic course within the university.
  • The coursework could be from any department or discipline, as long as it related directly to the sustainabilty operations of the institution.
  • No points awarded for internships or volunteering schemes.

Evidence required:

  • Evidence of these activities is needed in the form of the course outline documents or similar.

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i) Availability of university funds for student or staff-led practical sustainability projects (eg. campus allotments, recycling schemes etc)

Clarifications:

  • This criteria refers to grassroots, practical projects developed and implemented by staff and students.
  • The funds must be from the university directly and not from student union funds or external grant-making bodies.
  • This criteria does not refer to funding for sustainability projects that are planned or carried out by university staff as part of ongoing environmental management plans.

Evidence required:

  • Description of scale and scope of Sustainability Fund.
  • Evidence of the above in the form of minutes from meetings where projects or funding are formally agreed to.
  • Upload evidence or a weblink showing details of the projects started with funding.

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j) Oversight and involvement of students and staff in the development and ongoing monitoring of Carbon Management Plan.

Clarifications:

  • The involvement must be in developing and monitoring of the Carbon Management Plan and not simply a smaller part of the plan (e.g. monitoring energy use in a department)
  • No points for involving staff/students in development phase of CMP but not in the ongoing oversight and monitoring of its implementation.
  • Points can be awarded where the carbon management clearly states a process or structure for ongoing engagement of staff and students in the implementation and oversight of the plan.

Evidence required:

  • Please provide evidence in the form of minutes from meetings or terms of reference for a carbon management committees, or steering group clearly highlighting student and staff representatives.

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Gardening

Sustainable Solutions: Growing your own food!

k) Provision of space for student / staff-led sustainable food projects

Clarifications:

*In addition to food growing projects, we now also accept evidence of the provision of space for student/staff run sustainable food distribution projects such as veg-box scheme or food co-ops. Roof gardens, allotments, campus orchards and raised beds are acceptable.

Evidence required:

  • Please provide evidence in the form of minutes from meetings where projects are agreed or official agreement documents between university and staff/students for use of space for food growing.
  • Either map or photo evidence of the food growing site and brief description of how students and staff can get involved/access the space.

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l) All staff inductions cover sustainability policy and issues.

Clarifications:

*No points if sustainability is simply mentioned briefly in a presentation or induction document, we required evidence of a comprehensive induction for all staff. * No points for simply holding a stall at an induction fair, we require evidence of an induction process which would reach and engage all staff in the sustainability agenda.

Evidence required:

  • Brief description of staff sustainability induction process in place.
  • Relevant parts of staff training handbook, induction course outline or similar.

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m) Engagement with recognisedTrade Union environment reps (eg. GreenReps) or engagement with trade unions on sustainability issues

Clarifications:

  • It is not sufficient to provide a letter from HR saying that staff members are entitled to have time off for union activities if requested. We require evidence that staff have actually taken time off/participated in trade-union linked sustainability activities.
  • Points only awarded if union members confirm that they have received time off for sustainability-related training or events.

Evidence required:

One of the following:

  • Statement from responsible party from the staff union (eg. GreenRep) confirming that this is the case, including contact details of the responsible party.
  • Proof of the institutions engagement with trade union representatives on sustainability issues (eg. Minutes of meetings, correspondence)

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