Climate Week 2015

Climate Week 2015 is set to be a memorable event, held between 2nd– 6th March. There will be plenty of activities available with varying approaches geared towards promoting the reduction of our personal environmental impact. Climate Week aims to tackle numerous issues with regards to the environment such as food waste, carbon emissions and non-sustainable behaviours. Plenty of accessible events will be held, with a variety of engagement styles. The workshops, film showings and cooking demos all hope to encourage your appetite for sustainability. Climate Week 2015 is about making changes on a variety of different levels from the personal to the corporate. If we all strive to make a difference we could potentially influence others- so let’s make a change!

Sustainable travel: Traveling green is an easy way to save money, time, and even keep fit. Buying a bike is one time investment which saves a ton of money in the long run which would otherwise be spent on public transport. Buying a second hand bike is even better, because it avoids landfill. If you are interested in making this investment, The Cycle Hub will be running free try-before-you-buy trials at the Student Forum, Wednesday 4th March. If your current bike needs any minor repairs or even just an MOT, come down on Tuesday 3rd March to the Student Forum for some help from Dr. Bike. There will also be some cheap bike accessories on sale Friday 6th March at the Student Forum, thanks to UniCycles. Alternatively, you can get involved in the new bike hire scheme that will be launched by Recyke Y’Bike on the Wednesday, or, if you are not one to hop on a bike then there is a different set up known as ‘Co-Wheels Car Club’, for which a showcase will be held on the Wednesday.

Food waste: Food waste has become a huge issue worldwide, in the UK, and unfortunately in our own homes. Over-purchasing which leads to food being thrown away is a problem that can be solved, however. ‘Love Food, Hate Waste’ will be running some cooking demonstrations throughout the week in order to teach us how to choose the sustainable option, and learn some tasty new recipes too. Together we can stop waste and start saving. Additionally, if you have some surplus food, why not donate it to a food bank? The Trussell Trust works to help those who cannot afford food, with 420 food bank projects currently working across the UK. Check out what they’re doing at:

Films: If what you’re interested in is learning about sustainable issues and perhaps coming up with other ways to help aside from those listed above, come along to the Eco-Disaster film festival which will be held at Northumbria University on Tuesday 3rd March. Knowledge of the problem is often the best way to find a solution!

Clothes: There will be an Allotment swap shop on Monday 2nd March (12-2pm, Northumbria University), and another in collaboration with Oxfam to be confirmed. Make sure to check the attached timetable to see when this will be! One man’s trash is another man’s treasure… so go and get yours.

Furniture: Up-cycling is all the rage! So come and make your old pieces look new at The Wood Pile’s Shabby Chic workshop on Tuesday 3rd March.

Corporate Carbon Action: Come and find out how different corporations aim to reduce their carbon footprint on the Wednesday (2pm, Northumbria University), and perhaps you will be inspired by innovative new ways to reduce your own companies’ carbon footprint.

Katie Silver

The Sustainability Team

Societies Fair

Various members of our team were at the Societies Fair on the 22nd and the 23rd of September. It was really exciting meeting and chatting to so many freshers! Welcome to Newcastle! We talked to over 400 students, handing out our (free!) reusable water bottles, pens and key-ring bottle openers to everyone.

Freshers Goodies

Our aim for the Societies Fair was to talk to as many students as possible about sustainability and put our name out so everyone knows about the Sustainable Campus. For anyone who missed us at the Fair, we were also giving out our sustainability guidance comic strip and signing students in halls up to the NUS Student Switch Off, which is a great competition with prizes for your halls of residence. To find out more about Student Switch Off visit

Comic Strip Final

So what are we doing in the coming months?

  • We are running monthly sustainability campaigns when we will focus on one of our specific areas of work (biodiversity, energy, procurement, carbon, transport, water and waste).
  • Each month there will be a newsletter available to everyone who’s interested about the upcoming activities, events and national days.
  • There will also be regular events run throughout the year to support national sustainability days and weeks.
  • We will continue to increase our social media presence (with the help of even more student volunteers!) to keep you all informed of how to get involved and what exciting things we have coming up.
  • We are currently signing students up to take part in Green Impact, a great scheme, which will look really good on your CV! We need you to support a team within the university to help them achieve sustainability goals. You’ll be a Green Impact Project Assistant, receiving training from NUS and  Change Agents UK for the role. If you’re interested the training will take place on Wednesday 5th Nov 13:00-16:30 in the SU (room TBC). Please fill in this form if you’d like to come along!




Volunteering with the Sustainability Team

We’re two third year students working with the Sustainability Team and would like to give you an overview of what we’ve been up to and what to expect from the Sustainability Team over the next couple of months.

At the moment, we are in the middle of sorting out some lovely merchandise to hand out during Freshers’ Week 2014. We are planning to attend both the Societies’ Fair and Defresh and look forward to seeing lots of new Newcastle University students there. As well as giving new students freebees, our growing team will also be on hand to answer any questions and provide information on what we do.

Last week we went around visiting various University Departments in the pouring rain. Bedraggled, we were trying to convince University Staff to think about joining the NUS scheme Green Impact. If we missed you (the rain was bad) – then feel free to come along to one of the two launch breakfasts at the end of August. Dates to be posted soon. We spent a day with a lovely woman from NUS learning how students help out and drive the Green Impact scheme – they are crucial to the project and we’re hoping more students will apply to help out this year. It’s a great experience and looks good on that all important CV.

Social media is one of our ongoing tasks. We are trying to increase student engagement and interest for environmental issues and events. Hopefully you’ll see us popping up online. Check out twitter @NuSusTeam. In addition our website is under constant renovation – we’re adding content, organising photos and making sure the page is in great condition for the academic year 2014/15. Have a look at and tell us what you think?

Come along and get involved:

  • Staff and Students – every Tuesday 8am-4pm – go see Doctor Bike for any cycling repairs
  • Staff – when arranged – Nordic Walking sessions available: email
  • Staff – end of August – coffee mornings to launch Green Impact
  • Staff – 4th September – cycle to work day
  • Students – September 22nd and 23rd – come and see us at the Societies’ Fair
  • Students – September – sign up for Student Switch Off (sponsored by Ben and Jerry’s)

Best wishes – Jo Evans and Steph Hoare


EAUC EV RoadTrip



Avid readers may have noticed that this blog has been slightly neglected lately but don’t let this fool you into thinking that there isn’t lots of brilliant projects for us to tell you about and do not fear… we aim to get this stream back to full health and brimming with all the latest goings on in the world of sustainability of campus.

We thought there was no better way to reignite our blogging than with exclusive behind the scenes coverage of our exciting roadtrip to the EAUC conference in Nottingham using one of the University’s own electric vehicles.

Since receiving confirmation of the loan of the car excitement has given way to trepidation as the complexities of the journey were realised (as well exactly how early we will need to get out of bed in the morning to make it for 11am!) Armed with a map of  rapid charging points along the way (along with standbys just in case) and some generous words of wisdom from our colleagues in the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences we will embark from central campus at 6am tomorrow morning.

You can follow our journey on twitter using #EVRoadTrip and we will be updating the blog with our experiences!


Climate Week at Newcastle Uni

Climate week is a national event which looks to promote changes in attitudes towards sustainability. The Sustainability Team here at Newcastle University took part in this important week by interacting with students on campus and arranging events which would raise awareness of the week.

On the Monday we organised a debate in co-operation with the University’s Debating Society which looked to discuss whether or not making sustainability part of primary and secondary schools curriculum is a potential option. The people who turned up enjoyed an interesting debate with some very interesting points raised. We all had different opinions on the main question but we all went home realising the sheer importance of sustainability and we all agreed that more needs to be done!

Both Tuesday and Thursday saw local and ethical food being sold from the Students Union by our friends at Planet and People and Wednesday afternoon was spent planting flowers to increase the biodiversity around campus by the Conservation Society.
Away from the organised events of the week, our interns Dale and Fiona took to walking around campus asking students why they thought sustainability was important. It certainly made a few people think about sustainability in a new light! Some fantastic answers from students were photographed and uploaded on to our Facebook page.

Climate Week is just one of many sustainability themed events which goes on throughout the year and we will certainly be taken part in more! Climate Week doesn’t just last a week, its message and lessons will change attitudes and lead us to a more sustainable future.
The Sustainability Team.

Student Switch Off Volunteer Training


Living in halls? Interested in climate change, campaigning or marketing?

We’re offering you the opportunity to boost your CV with some volunteer training with Student Switch Off.

Register here:

& Come along next Tuesday (23rd) to the Bamburgh Room in the King’s Road Centre to find out more and pick up your FREE lunch and volunteer T-Shirt. Sessions are running 12.05-12.50pm and 1.05-1.50pm.

To see more about Student Switch Off visit the Facebook page.


Sustainability hits Fresher’s Week

This week the Sustainability Team and Student Switch Off have hit the Societies Fair in style in the form of the Eco-Power Ranger, Sustainability dog and Mr Potato Head!

We had a stand in the Sports Centre alongside all Newcastle University clubs and societies, with our neighbours the lovely GeogSoc and Computer Music Society, and introduced lots of fresh faces to the work that is done on campus to make our University greener.

Our stand was stacked full of freebies including reusable Student Switch Off bags, coupons for Ben & Jerries ice-cream, tasty sweets and some of our funky new badges.


 Over 2 days we spoke to hundreds of students about how they can get involved with the different campaigns and initiatives that are running on campus including Green Impact and Student Switch Off, as well as how they can find out more about the latest news and events. In total over 350 students signed up to support Student Switch Off, the inter-hall energy saving competition that sees the winning hall win a Ben & Jerries party at the end of the year.

 If you missed out and want to hear more check out our webpages at or visit our Facebook page at

Newcastle University´s Environmental Management System (EMS) awarded Platinum EcoCampus and certified by ISO14001.

Yeah! We have it here! Just came out of the EMS oven! Newcastle University has a fully functioning Environmental Management System implemented!

After years of preparation, and a 4 day environmental audit by NQA, our Environmental Management System (EMS) has been awarded Platinum EcoCampus and registered with ISO14001. Thanks to all of you for your collaboration and effort in making this happen. This is a fantastic achievement for staff and students across campus and, recognises the progress that the University has made in embedding sustainability across its operations.

The EMS journey started in 2008 when the institution registered with EcoCampus and the EMS has been under development ever since. EcoCampus is an environmental management system award scheme specifically aimed at the Higher and Further Education sectors. It takes institutions to implement their EMS step by step with Bronze, Silver, and Gold awards along the way, and Platinum as a finale. The University has made steady progress through accreditation, achieving bronze in September 2009, silver in October 2010, Gold in August 2011and now Platinum and ISO 14001 in July 2012, becoming the UK’s second university in achieving it.

On the third week of July, we received a visit from Margaret Rooney, NQA environmental auditor, who came to examine our EMS. Apart from the paperwork evaluation, we took her to visit some sites across the campus and interview staff. She was highly impressed with our laboratories, maintenance depots, research centres, recycling schemes and biodiversity projects. She showed a lot of interest in the Environmental Coordinator (EC) network and was very pleased to have had the opportunity to meet & chat with some of them. Margaret commented on how much she enjoyed her experience auditing at Newcastle University and, strangely for auditees, we enjoyed it too! As a matter of anecdote, we would highlight the fact that, in the middle of the audit, Daniel and Sean left everything and went to the rescue of a family of lost ducklings that were being bullied by crows. You can check it all in the, as far as we know, first EMS audit recorded live on Twitter so far.

As already said, this is a great achievement for NU community however, the EMS journey doesn’t stop here. Now that we have a fully functioning EMS, we have to work on improving it. We had great feedback from the auditor, with no non conformities raised, but we still have plenty of initiatives in mind and opportunities for improvement to implement before next year’s audit so…let’s get down to the business!! Thank you all very much and keep up the good work!


Lever Arch File Giveaway


As part of the Sustainability Team’s move to the Agriculture Building were are clearing our space in the garage at the back of Kensington Terrace. The garage is currently well stocked with lever arch files which we are keen to see go to new homes as soon as possible.

Whether you want to take the opportunity to clear away that filing that’s been lurking on your desk while the students away, or looking for a way to organise your bills and statements at home; the lever arch file could be just the thing you’re looking for!

If you can contact Hannah at or collect them directly from the garage at the back of Kensington which will be open for you to help yourself in the afternoons. Look out for the signs below for directions.






Going for Platinum… Upcoming Environmental Management System Audit


From 16th-20th July the University will receive a visit from external auditors who will verify and hopefully certify our environmental performance against EcoCampus Platinum and ISO 14001 standards. This will be a huge achievement for all staff and students in helping the campus become more sustainable.

EcoCampus is an Environmental Management System (EMS) award scheme specifically for the further and higher education sectors. Environmental management systems are the most logical and effective way of operating in a sustainable manner.

The EcoCampus programme consists of four phases: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. By working through these phases the University will:

  • Review its current environmental performance and plan how it can be improved
  • Develop procedures to implement the plan
  • Check actual progress to see if it is functioning effectively against the plan
  • Ensure any recommendations for improvement are implemented

Once all phases have been completed and a fully functioning EMS is in place, the process is repeated so that the University continually improves its environmental performance.

The Gold Eco Campus award was received in August 2011, after an extensive audit that checked the correct operational procedures are in place to monitor the University’s significant environmental impacts. The Platinum award expands on this by ensuring that appropriate monitoring and measuring checks are in place for significant aspects, an evaluation of compliance with legislation and a thorough EMS internal audit.


The Sustainability Team are all systems a-go right now, dotting all the I’s and crossing all the T’s in preparation for the audit… Watch this space!