Last week, the positive impact of SUSU’s newly launched BEES project was celebrated at a parliamentary reception at the House of Lords.
VP Welfare Becky Thomas represented SUSU as one of 25 projects over 26 students’ unions, who had launched green schemes. The reception celebrated the Students’ Green Fund, which invested £5 million of HEFCE funding into developing proposals for pro-environmental projects at universities across the country. Present at the event were David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science, Lord Redesdale, and Steve Egan, Deputy Chief executive for HEFCE.
Becky Thomas went to represent our very own SUSU and University of Southampton’s BEES project: a student-lead audting programme which aims to support sustainability in local businesses and organisations. The scheme has already received positive feedback, and more can be found about the project here.[quote align=”left” name=”Becky Thomas” role=”VP Welfare”] “I had a wonderful time at the House of Lords celebrating the impact of the HEFCE/ NUS green-fund projects! It was great to be part of the group of students, VC’s and MP’s all in the same room, with a shared passion for sustainability, and making positive sustainable change!”[/quote]
The Students’ Green Fund aims to embed sustainability into the core of higher education, ensuring that graduates can become part of a solution to society’s environmental challenges. The initiative, introduced by the NUS, has ambitious aims, saving 4,000 tonnes of CO2 in its first two years alone. The parliamentary reception celebrated a range of initiatives implemented by the scheme across the country, including everything from greening student homes, to up-cycling cafes.
Toni Pearce, the NUS President, commented on the success of the scheme so far:
“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, also commented on the importance of the Students’ Green Fund, saying:
“Students’ Green Fund has come at the right time, with universities and students eager to engage in meeting this truly global challenge. 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.”
The scheme is marked for a promising and successful future.