SWell Staff Engagement Programme and The Student Energy Project (TSEP) – Swansea University and Amber Energy
Swansea University runs an energy-saving scheme The Student Energy Project (TSEP), provided by amber energy™. TSEP encourages students to monitor their consumption and reduce their energy usagethrough a range of incentives and then shares the savings with participants through reward vouchers. The scheme aims to educate, create behavioural change and instil lifelong positive habits. However, the University’s commitment to sustainability is much more far-reaching, with a number of initiatives targeting staff/students. The SWell Engagement programme focuses on the University’s eight sustainability & wellbeing strategy themes, and there is a huge range of activities (37), including recycling, sustainable travel, beach litter picks, and lunchtime fitness classes. Departments compete against each other and contribute toward the Sustainability and Wellbeing objectives of the university. There are prizes for the best teams and individuals such as vouchers/donations to local charities. Another annual campaign is Blackout, an event where a groups of staff/student volunteers return to the University buildings after dark to check on everyone’s efforts to switch off for the weekend and encourage energy-saving habits, with rewards for those who have and polite reminders for others. After the success of the pilot, SWell was rolled out to all 2,800 employees in October 2016; so far 40% of staff are signed up with 45,000 positive actions logged to-date.
Centre of Excellence – Bridgend College
Bridgend College’s sustainability strategy and vision makes clear their intention to become an exemplar organisation, an eco-college, a centre of excellence and strong leader in sustainable development performance. College staff and students plan and act for sustainability through the curriculum and undertake volunteering work. The college has achieved the platinum standard for Corporate Health Standards and achived platinum for their green travel plans and are currently looking at the design and development of green spaces for well-being around the college. Cynnal Cymru have been working with the college to develop on potential e-learning courses around sustainable development. There are plans for a potential £1 million solar installation at the Pencoed Campus and the possibility of biomass and battery storage. The college continues to work with architects on significant building proposals with environmental designs in mind such as incorporating living walls, living landscape and homes for biodiversity. The college also works with a local cycle business (micro-business) to deliver cycle maintenance days.
Bridgend College collaborates with staff and students as well as many local and national organisations to achieve this goal. This includes a Public Health Practitioner, SEWTA and Bridgend County Borough Council, a horticulturalist, Ospreys Rugby Team, Cynnal Cymru, Urdd Eisteddfod organisers, Friends of the Earth and National Union of Students, Pollen8, Howells networking systems, Architects for a substantial new building and Dr Bike.
Pharmabees – Cardiff University
Bees are essential to the survival of our planet, yet their numbers have declined significantly over the past few years. People are being encouraged to plant a variety of wildflowers to ensure that bee numbers don’t dwindle further and we create a pleasant urban environment. Scientists at Cardiff University are playing their part by creating the first bee-friendly University in Wales to encourage pollinators and, by planting certain wildflowers whose nectar is present in antibacterial honey, looking for a solution to antimicrobial resistance. A team based in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is using honey in an attempt to find new drugs to treat hospital infections caused by antibiotic resistant superbugs. Having identified the plants favoured by bees producing antimicrobial honey, researchers in the school of pharmacy have now started to naturally reproduce the honey on campus, as well as encouraging local schools and communities to have their own bee hives and to plant pollinator friendly plants. The Pharmabees initiative thus combines a commitment to sustainability with the strategic aim of tackling the great research challenges of our time. Rolling the project out to local schools in disadvantaged areas has become an excellent STEM tool to interest children in science and the natural world, as well as raising the aspirations amongst groups traditionally under-represented in Higher Education.
Cardiff University work with many organisations across Cardiff: Buglife; Friends of the Earth; Cardiff University Estates; Welsh Assembly Government; the Grangetown community; eight local Primary/Secondary Schools; Pollen8 Cymru; Welsh Council for Voluntary Action; Cardiff Millennium Centre; St David’s Shopping Centre; The Women’s Institute; and Cardiff Council. The project received funding from the Welcome trust.
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