Sustainability newsletter issue 5
All has not been quiet on the sustainability front... as some of you may be aware, there have been some exciting developments happening at the university. Read on for more details…
Brighton third greenest university in the country
Since taking part in the People and Planet Green League in 2007, Brighton has experienced an astonishing climb, from 50th place in 2007 to 21st in 2011. This year, the University of Brighton shot up another 18 places, ranking an impressive 3rd out of 145 universities in the country. People & Planet, a student-led organisation campaigning to protect the environment, co-ordinates the only independent league table of higher education institutions in terms of their environmental and ethical performance. The University of Brighton was awarded First Class honours, scoring 54 points out of the total 70.
Read the university’s full press release.
Green Week Update
After the success of the first Green Week in 2011, it happened again this year. The aims of Green Week at the university are to raise awareness about the university’s commitments and actions towards creating a ‘greener’ institution, providing a space for more recognition of those who are engaged in the process and an opportunity for students and staff to get involved and take action at the grassroots level or as part of their department, school or faculty.
The philosophy behind the organisation of Green Week at the university is also to ensure that the process itself is sustainable, by involving students and staff in the process and developing it as a time to promote existing initiatives as well.
This year, the programme included a number of events across different campuses as well as week-long initiatives. These included:
- A university-wide poster competition to choose the official design;
- BeeGreen event: Sustainability and entrepreneurship showcase;
- Libraries energy saving challenges
- Dr. Bikes on all campuses;
- Film screenings & seminars, with talks from various lecturers at the university;
- Meat free lunches at all restaurants;
- Cycle for Southern Africa, running for its second year, raising over £3000 for charity.
Green Week will happen again next year, from 4-11th March 2013 – so don’t wait to put it in your calendar. If you have any ideas or thought something was missing this year, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Vice President Wellbeing of the Student Union or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Spring into biodiversity
You may have noticed a few subtle changes at Falmer and Moulsecoomb campuses this spring. Selected grassland areas on both sites - such as the edges of the Manor House lawn - are now being managed in a meadow style. This means that the grasslands will be left to grow through to August. Allowing the grasslands to grow will provide the opportunity for wild grasses and flowers, to flower and set to seed. This will provide a habitat, food and nectar source for pollinators, invertebrates and many other fauna and flora species from the local environment. This is an outcome of the university’s Biodiversity Action Plan, which is currently being revitalised by the new Environment Team, based within Estate & Facilities Management.
Last march, 54 enthusiastic university staff and student braved the unsettled weather to plant three hundred shrubs and trees at Falmer. The event marked the launch of a programme of participatory events also helping to improve biodiversity across the campuses.
The Biodiversity Action Plan aims to build a more abundant, connected and resilient landscape inviting wildlife into the heart of the two pilot sites at Moulsecoomb and Falmer. A variety of management practices – such as the new grassland management regime- will be implemented, creating new habitats for fauna and flora.
The mix of native trees and hedgerow shrubs that were planted last month by the Library and Sports Centre at Falmer were sourced from ‘Special Branch’, a local not-for-profit Tree Nursery. They grow all their species organically at their Stanmer nursery from seeds and cuttings collected in Sussex and the Wealden. The native trees and shrubs, including species such as Guelder Rose, Dogwood and Wayfaring will create new habitats and food for a number of species, whilst bringing colour to the Falmer site.
Falmer campus has also had the first wildflower and grass bed sown - next to Ringmer House. The mix is formed of 80% wild grasses and 20% wildflowers of S.E England origin, sourced from a local organic supplier. To help, a nurse crop of colourful annuals have also been sown to provide an extra bloom while the wildflower and grasses get established. Other areas of both campuses are currently being assessed for opportunities to also sow meadow mixes.
The environment team within Estate and Facilities management also recently ran a Bug Box building workshop at the Moulsecoomb campus as a part of this year’s International Biodiversity Day 2012 on 22 May. Adam Keeves, an undergraduate project assistant in the environment team, led the workshop and gave a brief talk on biodiversity and the various projects included in the university's Biodiversity Action Plan.
The group of 17 students, staff and local school children constructed their bug boxes using wood, bamboo and bark. The boxes are the perfect habitat for numerous beneficial species such as solitary bees, which have been in decline for the past 40 years, and are a small but effective step in making room for wildlife in urban environments and helping to increase biodiversity.
Many of the boxes made at the workshop are now situated in the north garden at Cockcroft - awaiting new residents - and are helping the campus to welcome more wildlife into its heart.
From building invertebrate shelters to litter picking, there are many more projects coming up for staff and students to participate and to help improve our campus’ biodiversity. To keep up to date with events visit www.brighton.ac.uk/sustainability or follow announcements on uni-info and Student Central.
Falmer Food CO-OP
Last Thursday, 31st May 2012, staff and students at Falmer campus started new veg-box operations as part of the university’s Food Co-op society.
After just under two months of careful planning and liaison with the team in Mouslecoomb and staff from the students’ union and other university departments, the Food Co-op society in Falmer is operating out of the bar at the ground floor of Mayfield house. Catering Services have kindly allowed the use of this fabulous space while it awaits refurbishment. So the co-op is delivery fresh local produce to Falmer and making good use of empty space.
If you are based at the University of Brighton Falmer site, you just need to go to the students’ union reception in Ringmer house and get your membership card. Once the desk is closed over the summer, you can still join by showing up at the stall on Thursdays from 12-2pm.
Have you seen the new community allotment in Falmer? Staff from the Falmer Sustainability Action Network have set up a food growing project on campus with support from the Health Promoting University project, the Springboard grant and the Estate and Facilities Management department. The plot is located behind Westlain House in the last month, and last week some of the first seedlings were sown.
The allotment is open for any staff or students to get involved, and the group co-ordinating it are currently asking for staff at Falmer to bring in some spare seedlings to contribute! There are also plans to install composters and rainwater collection tanks in order to minimise waste and water usage. If you would like to get involved, contact Lucy Dance L.E.Dance@brighton.ac.uk or Susie Negus S.Negus@brighton.ac.uk.