Sustainability highlights

We thought it was about time we wrote a short blog post to let you know about some of the engagement activities we have carried out so far this year. It’s been a hugely successful year to date, thank you to all of those who have been a part of Green Mary so far!

Cycling initiatives

We’ve completed travel plans for all main sites (Mile End, Whitechapel and Charterhouse Square) and a travel survey which has had over 1000 responses. This feedback from students and staff will help inform all of our transport plans moving forward.

Bike week was a huge success this year with events across Mile End, Charterhouse Square and Whitechapel. Over 590 people took part in an event during the week, 76 bikes were fixed, 25 people had some sort of safety training and 18 bikes from Recycle your Cycle were sold.

Recycle your Cycle collect abandoned bikes and take them to prisons to train the inmates in cycle maintenance and repair. This saves QMUL (and many other places) from sending these bikes to scrap/landfill, therefore reducing waste. The scheme also provides the inmates with an income, qualifications and employment prospects when they are released. The bike sale at this year’s bike week raised £1550 and this money will go back into funding Recycle Your Cycle who currently work with over 25 hospices around the country and 7 prisons, providing work for around 100 prisoners. The Estates and Facilities team involved in the scheme hope to visit one of the prisons in the scheme in the coming months to see the full process.

Green Mary

We launched the new Green Mary brand in September 2016. This has enabled the team to grow our presence throughout QMUL and among our peers. We have self-delivered a number of engagement campaigns for the first time, the main campaign being the Green Mary Staff workbook. Over 20 teams have taken part in this and due to the level of engagement, we expect to see a significant increase in the uptake of the scheme. We have also held a large number of engagement events which has resulted in engaging thousands of students, staff and the local community in sustainability.

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Green Mary Garden

The allotment, sensory and medicinal gardens are now open at QMUL. Over 100 staff and students are in an allotment team with food now growing in every bed, this includes a joint bed between the QMUL Nursery and local primary schools. Two local schools have visited the site to date and we plan on developing this over the coming year.

The area also supports research with a PHD student working with Lars Chittka using the space to support his solitary bee research. The sustainability team have been seeking external funding and have successfully bid for bulbs and seeds to promote pollination and support the declining population of bees. We are now seeking funding for a habitat wall to further enhance the biodiversity of the Green Mary Garden.

Over the coming months we will be holding a wide range of workshops, from how to set up composting and wormerys to cooking and herbal tea using the plants grown in the Garden. The Green Mary Garden not only enhances the biodiversity of QMUL’s Mile End campus, but is a community garden and will provide an opportunity to foster links with local community groups and schools.

The official opening of the Garden is planned for Green Mary Day on the 22nd of September 2016. We are also considering holding a Chelsea Fringe event in 2017.

 

Careers and Training

We have held a large number of careers events this year. Over 250 students attended the volunteer fair, 31 attended the careers speed met and over 30 came along to one of our fringe events. We have also trained 25 student energy ambassadors, 20 Green Mary Assistants, over 40 Green Mary auditors and have provided shadowing for 8 students. We will be building on this in 2016/17 trying to increase engagement in a number of areas, including areas that may not traditionally be thought to link with Sustainability.

 

What’s been your favourite part of Green Mary this year? Do you have any suggestions for engagement activities next year? Let us know in the comments below!

Local Community

The sustainability team are looking for ways to enhance community engagement. We recently took part in the Community Festival Fun Day held in Stepney Green Park were we had a sustainability stand, giving residents the chance to pedal for a smoothie on the smoothie bikes and learn more about their carbon footprint with our brand new carbon game! We hope to get involved in more community days in the future and continue to support local charities including Bow Foodbank, Whitechapel Mission, Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park and Thames21.

 

If you have any questions about any of our initiatives please do get in touch with the team at sustainability@qmul.ac.uk, we’d love to hear from you!

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