Representatives of Worcester Students’ Union’s innovative Energize Worcester project attended a reception to showcase green contributions being made by students across the country at the House of Lords last week.
The National Union of Students (NUS) parliamentary reception celebrated the positive impact of 25 projects – all of which have been supported by the NUS’s Students’ Green Fund.
Using £5million of funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the NUS has helped 25 students’ unions from across England to develop proposals for ambitious green projects, leading to step-changes in pro-environmental behaviour across higher education.
Over its first two years, the 25 projects resourced by the Students’ Green Fund will engage over 50,000 students across the country, improve institutions’ standing in the Green League and save 4,000 tonnes of CO2.
Energize Worcester sees the Worcester Students’ Union work in partnership with a local residents’ group to tackle poor energy efficiency in private student accommodation. After being officially launched in February, the two-year project is aiming to ensure that all students are ‘energy aware’ as they move off campus after their first year of study.
Following the House of Lords reception, Peng Li, Energize Worcester Project Manager, said: “It’s fantastic to see projects such as Energize Worcester receive national recognition.
“The House of Lords event marked the end of a successful academic year, but more importantly served to encourage the project team to carry on working to support students to improve their living conditions in the years to come.”
Katy Boom, Director of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Worcester and a member of the steering group for the NUS Student Green Fund – representing the Association of University Directors of Estates – added: “We know that universities are investing in making their campuses greener and working with their students on behaviour change initiatives.
“These student-led projects highlight how collaborations with Students’ Unions can tackle some of the key issues affecting students in the community, such as the quality of their private rented shared housing.
“It is important that the good work that universities do on behaviour change with students when they live in halls, on things like saving energy and recycling, can continue when they move off campus.”
Toni Pearce, NUS President, added: “We knew that the opportunity to be awarded £300,000 to drive greening projects would be extremely popular because students and students’ unions have long been dedicated to doing what they can to adopt pro-environmental behaviours, and to be part of a wider movement towards global sustainability.
“I’m so proud of everyone that has taken part in this programme. The 25 projects which we have supported over the last two years are truly transformative initiatives; projects which will put English higher education on the map for its world-leading sustainability credentials.”
Steve Egan, Deputy Chief Executive of HEFCE, – who will be visiting Worcester to observe the Energize Worcester project later this month – praised universities and students for being ‘eager to engage in meeting this truly global challenge’.
He continued: “This initiative follows more than a decade of work by the sector to improve its sustainability performance. The emphasis on “students at the heart of the system” gave us the stimulus to engage with NUS to harness the drive, creativity and energy of students by introducing the student green fund. It has been a true collective effort, with students at the heart of the endeavour.”
Pictured at the House of Lords are, from left to right: Richard Lambert, CEO of the National Landlords’ Association; Peng Li; Kynton Swingle, Worcester Students’ Union President; and Katy Boom.