Winchester Student Union has long believed that we should treat the wonderful world around us with care and respect and that our global peers should be shown empathy and understanding in both business and personal communication and transactions. To that end we have an environmental policy in place to ensure that our ‘green ethics’ are found throughout the heart of the organisation and in all the actions of our staff and officers.
Each year, to put our ‘green ethics’ to the test, Winchester Student Union enters the Green Impact Awards.The awards are organised by the National Union of Students, alongside important sponsors such as the ecologist and the Co-operative, to rate and reward best ethical and environmental practice. In 2008, the first year we entered we were awarded a bronze rating. In 2009 we achieved a silver rating and were ranked 13th out of all of the Unions who entered. In 2010 we were delighted that we achieved one of only five Gold awards and were ranked 2nd out of the 88 unions that entered, with only Edinburgh Student Union beating us. In 2011 & 2012 our Green credentials were firmly established when we once again won a Gold standard and improved our overall score by more than a hundred points. This year, we are moving forward again by entering Green Impact Excellence, a yearlong project to identify and improve the biodiversity of our campus.
Alongside our other green ethics activities, we have also worked with the University of Winchester to ensure that we have a wide range of fairly traded and ethical sound products available to purchase on campus. In 2008, we were awarded Fairtrade University status and our work was also instrumental in helping the city of Winchester reach Fairtrade status in 2009.
We take a active role in the Universities Freshers Fortnight events and celebrations and continue to strive to ensure that we remain a strong force for driving ethical purchasing on campus and in the city of Winchester.
Winchester Student Union is an active supporter of many ethical and environmental initiatives beyond the activity we directly organise. These include the NUS led campaign Snap It Off which encourages our students to identify lights and equipment left on campus unnecessarily by snapping a photo of the offending light/device. It also includes the inter-hall energy saving competition Student Switch Off. For the latter the Student Union is providing many prizes including a free night at the summer ball (which includes a personal butler) for the winning house.
Slow Food On Campus is a student-led initiative which encourages university and higher education students to consider healthy and ethically sourced raw foods and meals. Its aim is to support and defend good food, the enjoyment of eating and a slow pace of life, and broadened to encompass a wider quality of life and sustainability and environmental issues.
If you want to know more about the work we do or have any ideas or suggestion on how we could do more to ‘green’ the campus or better or ethical practices, then please drop us an email to SU_environment@winchester.ac.uk
You can also see our current Ethical & Environmental Officers blog and information pages here.