22 June 2015

Going for Gold – Green Impact Awards 2015

Green Impact
Along with a host of other successes, two University departments struck Gold in this year’s Green Impact Awards.

Now in its second year at Oxford, Green Impact is a National Union of Students (NUS) initiative which is run by the University’s Environmental Sustainability team in Estates Services.

Departments across the University are encouraged to sign up and work towards making positive environmental sustainability changes in their workplace. Each department’s process is then logged and audited by students trained in Green Impact auditing.

The Awards
This year’s Awards were held in the splendour of the Bodleian’s newly refurbished Weston Library on Wednesday 17 June. They acknowledged several departments and individuals in recognition of their sustainability efforts.

Seven departments reached the first Bronze Award milestone, five progressed to Silver (with Lady Margaret Hall impressively scooping a Silver Award in their first year of joining the scheme) and the Department of Materials and the Department of Chemistry were both awarded with the University’s first Gold Green Impact Awards.

What people are saying about Green Impact
At the Awards, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrew Hamilton said: ‘It’s been an absolute delight to witness the level of engagement with Green Impact increase across the University.

‘One key part of the Green Impact initiative is ensuring that we improve our sustainability performance every year.

‘Another vital aspect is making sure that everyone is aware of the important role they have to play.

‘Every single person needs to choose to make personal changes to help the University achieve its carbon reduction goals.’

Christine Mitchell, last year’s winner of the Environmental Hero award, from the Language Centre added: ‘The scheme is all about making a difference and realising that every little helps.

‘We all need to learn to take what we need but to leave enough for everyone else.

‘It’s not difficult to make a few changes without making huge sacrifices.’

 The ceremony also celebrated the success of other sustainable schemes, Student Switch Off and WARPit, running at Oxford University:

Student Switch Off
This national intercollegiate energy saving competition is peer-led by students. Queen's College topped the charts at Oxford with Oriel College (last year’s winners), Mansfield College and St Anne’s all hot on their heels. Overall, the University achieved some of the best statistics across all competing UK universities.

Awards were also presented to two staff members, Eileen Pearson-Burton from Nuffield Department of Population Health and Eric Belfield from Plant Sciences, who have both helped to launch WARPit. This is the University's reuse scheme for furniture and office and lab supplies.

Although only in its first year, the scheme is already close to saving £10k. The reduced purchasing and reduction in waste disposal also has a positive effect on the University’s environmental impact.

Richard Ovenden, Bodley’s Librarian, hosted the event and was proud to see the Bodleian Libraries scoop four Green Impact Awards – including Innovation and Best Newcomer.

The Green Impact 2015 Awards

Bronze Award winners

  • Examination School
  • Plant Sciences
  • SBS Executive Open Programme
  • Osney One
  • Oxford University Press
  • St Anne’s College
  • Bodleian Social Science Library

Silver Award winners

  • Department of Statistics
  • Department of Mathematics
  • The Language Centre
  • The Finance Division
  • Earth Sciences (including Labs)
  • Lady Margaret Hall

Gold Award winners

  • Department of Materials (Labs)
  • Department of Chemistry

Best Newcomer Award:
Bodleian Social Science Library

Innovation Award:
Bodleian Osney One

Environmental Hero Award:
Sue Henderson, Department of Chemistry