Winchester Student Union believes 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.
The Ethical & Environmental Officer is elected each year to represent students and provide a focus for the Union's ethical & environmental work. They are supported by the Vice President, Education and the Union's General Manager. They are further supported by the Education for Sustainable Development Coordinator, a Joint University and Union role created, in part, by our work on the Sustainable Futures project.
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, to rate and reward best ethical and environmental practice.
* In 2018 we were ranked as 'working towards'. It is our goal for 2019 to require a minimum standard of 'Good' which we will aim to do by improved student engagement and participation, record keeping and an increase of SMART project work.
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 ethically 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 an active role in the Universities Fresher’s 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.
* In 2019 we plan to explore expanding the fairly traded clothing offer in our retail outlets.
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 provides many prizes including free tickets to the Summer Ball for the winning student accommodation that uses the least energy in halls.
For more information on Snap it Off and Student Switch Off please see the resources pages.
From 2017, the Union has continued to work with the university on these projects but has expanded its support with initiatives such as Blackout, Dissertations for Good, and the University’s Green Impact Award audits at the end of the year. 2016 also saw the first collaboration with the university for GO Green Week. This campaigning week provided students with a variety of activities and events to get stuck into such as vegan food tasting, pond clearance, bike auction, a green café and much more!
For more information on Blackout, Dissertations for Good and Green Week, please see the resources section.
In addition to this the Student Union has been directly involved with the development of the university’s ‘Climate Change’ curriculum and has been working with the University on the Responsible Futures initiative; an institution award that ensures education for sustainable future is embedded in curriculum and culture. The student union feels that the initiative is an invaluable mechanism for the university and its staff, to ensure that there is a true understanding of environmental issues and sustainability with our student members.
For more information on the Union & University’s plans on ‘Responsible Futures’, please see the resources section.
* In 2019 we are hoping to support the University in successfully attaining accreditation under the Responsible Futures scheme.
The Union also continues to work closely with the university and its Environment & Estates team, to ensure that our student’s ideas and voices are heard with respect to the Environmental impact that the university has upon the planet.
Since this relationship development, the Union has started work on a variety of ongoing projects which promote student involvement and sustainability.
* In 2019 one of the benefits of this active relationship will be the introduction of several campus 'Incredible Edible' growing locations and a planned expansion of the student/staff growing allotments the Union created in 2014.
If you want to know more about the work we do or have any ideas or suggestions 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