Among the long list of schemes running on the DMU campus this year, I find the Green impact project most exciting.
Green Impact is a unique project aimed at driving an environmentally friendly culture. It is a national project run by the National Union of Students (NUS) involving over 50 universities, over 100 student unions, local council authorities, healthtrusts and police authorities across the UK.
DMU is one of the many institutions participating in the project. At DMU Green Impact brings together both staff and student to work towards delivering environmental improvements on campus.
The uniqueness of the Green Impact project is in its structure. The project has been designed in such a way that it allows for students to make friends, interact with each other, engage with DMU staff, gain valuable employable skillswhile delivering environmental improvements on campus.
The concept is quite simple. The project comprises teams who have to achieve certain criteria’s in order to win a prize. The teams are typically made up of university staff.
An ideal example of a team would be an office on any building in the campus comprising two or more staffs.
Each team has access to an online workbook containing a series of criteria’s to which a number of points are assigned. So the teams can earn points for every criterion it meets.
The criteria’s are arranged into different themes which cover activities including; recycling, waste reduction, energy saving, procurement, fair-trade, transport etc.
Depending on the number of points scored (which is a function of the number of activities completed) the teams can win a bronze, silver or gold award at the Green impact ceremony scheduled for the second quarter of next year.
There are two exciting opportunities for students to benefit from the project; the Green Impact Project Assistants (GIPA) and the Green Impact Environmental Auditor (GIEA). The GIPAs will be assigned to specific Green Impact teams and their job will be to work with these teams towards achieving the criteria’s in the workbook.
The task of the GIEAs on the other hand will be to audit the participating teams. These positions provide the opportunity for students to gain valuable workplace skills and experience including; project management, leadership, communication skills, auditing etc. In addition the students will receive training given by the NUS and accredited by the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA).
All of which will make a great addition to students CV.The project kicked off with a bang this year. Students involved with Green impact had the opportunity to be environmental auditors at the Leicestershire County Council. This event was a great success with the council officials praising the commitment and professionalism of the students.
The Green Impact project is part of DMU’s real world approach to sustainability while improving the environmental performance of the campus at the same time. The ultimate aim of the project is to drive a behaviour change from within the university community to the wider society.
Coming from a community whose land and water bodies have been devastated as a result of poor environmental and waste management practises, I totally appreciate the need to adopt a more environmentally friendly culture on a global scale.
Green Impact offers a real and practical solution to issues related to environmental management and sustainability. And where better to drive this initiative than on a thriving university campus.