Sustainability on Campus
Climate change seems to be constantly in the news at the moment, and I feel like more people, especially students, are becoming aware that we need to make some serious changes in our lifestyles. The NUS (National Union of Students) regularly survey students, and a recent study into students around the world found most students wanted to learn more about sustainability through university and expected their institutions to make changes regarding sustainability practices. (https://sustainability.nus.org.uk/our-research/our-research-reports/student-perceptions-of-sustainability-in-higher-education-international-survey). Sustainability is something I have become increasingly interested in. After a bit of research, I have been really pleased to see lots of initiatives and practices employed by both the University and Students’ Union.
The university has a page on the environment here (https://warwick.ac.uk/about/environment ). I like how it highlights events going on, gives tips and advice to live more sustainability and informs you how to get more involved! The SU also does a lot of work to increase the amount of waste that is recycled, reduce the amount sent to landfill and reduce energy consumption amongst many other initiatives that can be found here (https://www.warwicksu.com/about/environment/ ). Since the SU is well-frequented by students and a place of work for many staff, I thought that the fact they take environment sustainability so seriously was great.
It also has a few pieces of policy on this area (policy which are proposed by and voted for by students). A full list of all SU policy can be found here (https://www.warwicksu.com/democracy/your-ideas/policy-zone/), and the environment focussed ones are found in the Development and Environment Zone. To bring a few notable ones to your attention: there is a policy for ethical eating to introduce more vegetarian and vegan options to food outlets; there is a policy to look into introducing compostable takeaway cups; there is also policy for reducing paper waste and encouraging better recycling facilities.
It’s all well and good for there to be policy though if it isn’t acted upon! However, I do believe the SU and University are taking the issue seriously. There are loads of recycling bins around campus, with very clear signs highlighting what can and cannot go into the various bins. We have a reusable cup policy where you get a discount for getting your takeaway hot drink in a travel mug. Many of the food outlets are foregoing plastic cutlery for wooden ones, and the Bread Oven have released a reusable material bag which I have bought and love! Along with these, there is a Vegan & Vegetarian Society, Global Sustainable Development Society (that accompanies the GSD degree) and an Allotment Society. There are allotments behind Jack Martin and Arthur Vick. Whether you are interested in gardening or not, I would recommend having a walk down to that area, there are some lovely running tracks as well as a lake around Bluebell woods.
From my experience, there is some pretty good vegetarian and vegan food choices in the University and SU food outlets. The Oculus café have an excellent selection of vegan cakes, and Curiositea tends to have at least one option too. Most cafes can make hot drinks with non-dairy milk for a small additional cost. The Dirty Duck has a few vegan options, but I tend to find it easier to bring my own food onto campus. There are microwaves in SUHQ and the Rootes Building, as well as in some departments to use to reheat food. It’s lovely to have a hot, home cooked lunch on campus as winter is starting to draw in!
Do you have any student sustainability tips or favourite veggie/vegan things to eat on campus? Please share your knowledge in a comment!