Staffordshire University’s quarterly sustainability update – April to June 2022

Staffordshire University continues to make huge progress in its sustainability agenda.

The Catalyst PV Panels

The large array of photovoltaic panels on the University’s The Catalyst building roof.

Sustainability is a key priority for Staffordshire University and the organisation is targeting Net Zero carbon emissions from its buildings by 2030.

Staffordshire University

Sustainability is a key priority for Staffordshire University and the organisation is targeting Net Zero carbon emissions from its buildings by 2030. In the second quarter of 2022, the University has made huge progress in its sustainability agenda, achieving the following milestones across its campuses.

Earth Day

In partnership with Staffordshire County Council, Staffordshire University ran a free online lecture for Earth Day on Friday 22 April 2022, to help educate people about climate change and reducing their carbon footprint.

The lecture, delivered by Tim Harris, Senior Lecturer of Physical Geography at Staffordshire University, focussed on what climate change is, its drivers and consequences.

The talk, attended by a mix of students, staff and the public, addressed reasons why we should be concerned about climate change and the potential future impact of climate change in Staffordshire.

Staffordshire Day

Staffordshire University welcomed students, staff and the community onto campus for Staffordshire Day on Sunday 1 May 2022. This year’s theme was the great outdoors, and attendees were invited to enjoy the fantastic surroundings on our doorstep in Stoke-on-Trent.

Visitors could choose to either join Dr Eleanor Atkins, Lecturer in Biological and Biomedical Sciences, to plant fruit trees and create a green wall outside the Science Centre, or learn about the sites and history of Stoke-on-Trent with Martin Brown, Senior Lecturer in Architectural History and Theory, who lead a guided walk around the University’s on-site Nature Reserve.

Sustainability Challenge

The University ran a sustainability challenge throughout March and April to encourage staff and students to make sustainable changes on campus.

The Staffs Sustainability Challenge has seen staff work with students on five challenges over five weeks, running from Monday 14 March 2022 to Sunday 1 May 2022.

The challenges tied into national sustainability days, ranging from World Water Day to Stop Food Waste Day. Each week, staff and students were challenged to make sustainable changes including recycling more, saving water and electricity, getting outside or reducing food waste.

Biodiversity on campus

The University is continuing to implement different environmental strategies to protect and encourage biodiversity on its Stoke-on-Trent campus.

To help wildflowers and pollenating insects that are in decline, the University continues to maintain “no mow” sections of campus, outside the Henrion building on College Road and its Coalport accommodation on Leek Road.

University students and staff have also planted wildflowers and hedgerows along the edge of the sports pitches on Leek Road, bordering the River Trent, to create a wildlife corridor that will eventually join the Stoke-on-Trent campus to Hanley Park when complete.

To promote biodiversity in an otherwise urban area, a green wall outside the University’s Science Centre on Leek Road is in progress. Students and staff have helped with planting sessions to pot 400 seedlings into specialist pots that slot into the wall.

Charity partnerships encourage students to donate unwanted items

Staffordshire University has introduced more ways that students can donate their unused or unwanted items to charity, to reduce the amount of unnecessary waste going to landfill.

There are now five charity donation banks near the University’s Stoke-on-Trent accommodation on Leek Road, including three new Children’s Air Ambulance banks located outside its Coalport, Minton and Clarice Cliff Court accommodation. The banks accept donations of clothing, accessorises, and small electrical items.

To reduce the amount of waste generated when students move out of their term-time accommodation, the University also arranged for two Children’s Air Ambulance donation vans to come onto its Stoke-on-Trent campus for its main move out weekend in June. The easily accessible vans encouraged students to donate unwanted clothing and items rather than throw these away.

Starpack Students Competition 2022 challenges students to come up with sustainable solutions to problems set by brand-leaders

A trio of students have been recognised for their work in the Starpack Students Competition 2022. Run by The Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining (IOM3), the competition challenges students to come up with solutions to problems set by brand-leaders, design agencies and manufacturers.

Entrants can win work placements with leading packaging companies as well as cash prizes which can be the first step towards an exciting career in the industry.

All student projects considered sustainability and the circular economy, and the designs were supported by strong research and design insight.

Student travel survey

A student travel survey ran in May and June to capture important information about students’ travel choices, priorities, and aspirations. Together with results from the staff travel survey, this will be used to inform and guide developments of the University's sustainable travel strategy and initiatives.

Reducing energy usage on campus

The Estates team are working with local company, BEC, to significantly increase capability of the University’s Building Energy Management System to monitor and control energy usage of University buildings. Guided by better visibility, changes have been made to heating, cooling and ventilation schedules of some key buildings to reduce energy consumption, without compromise to building comfort and function.

Photovoltaic panels on The Catalyst building

As we enjoy longer days and more hours of sunshine, the large array of photovoltaic panels on the University’s The Catalyst building roof have been producing more electricity. At times this has been able to fully meet the building’s electricity demand, meaning The Catalyst was running fully on its own renewable energy supply with zero carbon emissions.

To find out more about the solar elements of The Catalyst building, including the photovoltaic panels on the roof, watch our Sustainability at The Catalyst Series. Engineering Design student, Nesta, goes behind the scenes of the £40m flagship building to learn more about how sustainability has been incorporated into the building design.

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