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The legacy of Students' Green Fund

Thursday 18-02-2016 - 07:40

The funding for Students’ Green Fund projects might be over. But, as our new report shows, the projects have left an incredible legacy across our student movement, and continue to make an impact.

We’re really proud to be able to publish our full report on Students’ Green Fund – demonstrating the incredible impact which our movement’s 25 transformational sustainability projects have had across England.

From energy saving, to food production, to enterprise, to political campaigning, to education for sustainable development, Students’ Green Fund projects have delivered huge benefits across campuses and communities.

Read the report in full to find out more, but here’s a little taster of what we achieved now we can look back on the two years of funding:

  • Over 120,000 students engaged
  • Over 5,000 in-depth volunteers working on sustainability
  • Nearly 200 student-led projects funded
  • Nearly 2,000 audits of homes and organisations
  • 4,600 tonnes of carbon (and equivalent) saved

These outcomes go to show what students’ unions can accomplish, especially with the support of HEFCE funding. Don't just take our word for it either - you can read the report of our external evaluator too.

And what’s really exciting is that the positive influence of the fund hasn’t stopped now the formal period of funding is over.

Legacy was a key part of these projects, and we can now see how these projects are continuing to flourish, expand and make a positive impact without the formal support of Students’ Green Fund.

Here’s just a few.                   

Growhampton

Growhampton launched a campus food growing project, with its own café at the heart of campus – using zero-miles ingredients to feed students and staff.

They’ve expanded loads since. After crowdfunding an additional £20,000 to extend the café, they’ve started keeping chickens, running summer camps for local school children, and going from strength to strength as a student-led social enterprise.

“It’s the wow moments when tasting leafy greens together plucked straight from the soil, sharing food or enjoying a coffee in the cosy cafe, happy customers at market day, beginners learning to grow for the first time, or seeing parents feed the chickens with their enthusiastic young children”, says Joel Williams from Growhampton.

“These highlights weave together the social fabric of belonging to a movement that is creating communities through food”

Greenwich Sustainability Hub

At Greenwich, Students’ Green Fund funding set up a patchwork of new sustainability initiatives.

Today, the Hub has used NUS’ Responsible Futures programme to expand its work around education for sustainable development, with sixty students trained as sustainability researchers to drive this work.

They also brought the WHOLE EARTH? exhibition to the campus, launching six £1,000 fellowship grants for student-led solutions to the sustainability problems explored in the exhibition.

Recognising the value of the work carried out by the Hub, the University of Greenwich funded the project last November with a further £91,000 – allowing the projects to continue to expand, engage more students, and make further impact.

UBU Get Green

Being the European Green Capital for 2015, naturally there’s been a huge raft of work happening at University of Bristol Students’ Union on sustainability.

The Fossil Free team are making strong progress towards divestment, while the elected Sustainability Committee are launching campaigns for Fairtrade Fortnight, Earth Hour and are holding their second student-led research conference, 'A Students' Guide to Sustainability'.

An Engineers Without Borders society are lobbying for sustainability to be included in their curriculum through the inclusion of the EWB challenge as a credit-bearing module, and the Green Capital Schools Project team have trained over 1300 local secondary school children in sustainability.

And unbelievably, Bristol and UWE students contributed a huge 100,000 hours of volunteering in 2015 as part of the joint Student Capital, Green Capital project.

Students’ Green Unit

At the University of Exeter Students’ Union, funding was used to seed loads of student-led sustainability projects. Following the formal period of funding, this is still going on.

To take some recent examples, Ethical Exeter is an ambitious campaign for the university to invest its money more ethically, with the potential to create meaningful and lasting change, while Our Plastics Paradigm and Ocean Clean Up project explores  viable solutions to cleaning up plastic waste from the oceans.

Anyfin Is Possible has even expanded their campaign outside Exeter by taking part in the WWF Fishface campaign, and it won the student project of the year from the Students’ Guild.

Read the full report of the impact of Students’ Green Fund as well as the report of our external evaluator.

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