University’s Week of Sustainability Focused Activities

University of Worcester staff and students came together for a week of sustainability activities as part of its annual Go Green Week.

First year Geography students, along with Worcester Students’ Union, organised a host of on-campus and online activities, ranging from litter picking to sustainability careers advice.

Katy Boom, the University’s Director of Sustainability, said: “As a University we want to not only make a difference through our own more sustainable approach, but also to inspire our student and staff community to take action themselves. Despite much attention on the climate crisis in recent months, it can be difficult to know what each of us can do. At Go Green Week we wanted to raise awareness, but also give people some tips on changes they could make to live more sustainably. The Week was very well received, with many staff and students taking advantage of what was on offer.”

During the week the campus hosted various outdoor stalls, including opportunities to sample plant-based food, visits from Pets as Therapy dogs, a chance to buy vintage clothing, buy some Fairtrade products and even do some craftwork with pinecones. Students and staff could take home a plant, a homemade bird feeder or some wildflower seeds. Groups of schoolchildren from nearby Oldbury Park Primary RSA Academy also attended activities during the week.

There were also a number of workshops and special events held online. This included a session in which sustainability professionals spoke about sustainability skills needed, a dedicated decarbonisation and decolonisation workshop and a carbon literacy training taster session.

A litter pick in the City saw students and staff working alongside employees from two local housing associations, Sanctuary Housing and Platform Housing Group. Between them they filled 15 bin liners with rubbish from along the riverside and across the Pitchcroft area.  Nearly 20 employees from Sanctuary joined the litter pick as part of the organisation’s employee volunteering scheme. Sarah Davies, Employee Volunteer Coordinator at Sanctuary, said: “We’re always keen to encourage staff to take up volunteer opportunities. It enables them to learn new skills, meet new people and offer their unique skill sets in different settings to help others. We were really pleased to give staff the chance to get involved with Go Green Week – our staff are members of the local community and want to make positive contributions to the area.”

Finishing off the week, staff and students helped plant 11 large lime trees at Pitchcroft as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy campaign, which aims to cover the country in new trees in honour of the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen.

Jasmine Simpson, a first year Physical Geography student, helped organise the week and ran stalls relating to recycling, carbon footprint reduction and fundraising for the victims of the Tonga tsunami. She also took part in the litter pick. “Having a sustainability week is really important to educate all students on what they can be doing to help the planet,” she said. “The University declared a climate emergency in 2019 and set targets relating to carbon emissions. With the help of all students, we can do even more than just the targets set. I hope that those who attended have left feeling inspired to take action in their community, be it litter picking, carbon emission reduction or reducing food waste.”

The University has a long-standing record on sustainability and was awarded Sustainability Institution of the Year at the 2019 Green Gown Awards, going on to be Globally Highly Commended at the International Green Gown Awards, at the United Nations in New York. At the 2020 Awards, the University was recognised again, winning the Reporting with Influence accolade.