Safety and Sustainability
For students, an increasingly important concern for them is sustainability. Remaining safe is also a key focus, which is achieved by utilising the many services available to them here.
The safety and sustainability event was held collaboratively by a number of departments of the university, such as Environmental Services and the Guild of Students in partnership with external organisations in order toraise awareness and engage students and staff in safety, wellbeing and sustainability both at the university and in their everyday lives. Over
33 stalls, workshops, activities and demonstrations attracted hundreds of students who clearly enjoyed themselves. The exciting event was even attended by our sustainability mascot, Greg!
Many students view sustainability as important to them and they voiced that they are interested in introducing more sustainable practices. Organisations such as The Birmingham Project, Weir Waste, Bio Bean, B30 Foodbankand Cadent Gas informed attendees about how their businesses can help students lead a sustainable lifestyle.
Over 650 Fairtrade chocolate bars and over 350 Fairtrade cups of coffee were given out with the help of Grumpy Mule, highlighting the importance of buying sustainable produce to students, staff and members of the community. The event also aided the launch of the new 100% natural reusable coffee cup scheme here at the university, ECO to Go. Over 50 of these were sold, which give students discounts in university owned cafes and reduce the volume of waste generated from the use of traditional disposable coffee cups.
Urban Cycles, Birmingham Cycle Revolution and Cycle Chains were also on hand to encourage sustainable travel by cycling around campus. This involved carrying out free bike checks and giving advice. An amazing 12 second hand bikes were sold and given a new home throughout the day. With transport being an important aspect of university life, there was a large focus on doing this safely whilst looking after the environment as much as possible. One particular stall that attracted a large crowd was the Smoothie Bike, where visitors competed against each other to make the fastest smoothie, all powered by the energy from pedalling.
For people who didn’t think cycling was their thing, there was plenty more to find out about alternative ways to travel. Enterprise City Car Club had a stall to talk about their new, innovative way for students to explore the city by hiring cars by the hour. Alongside this were National Express, Transport for West Midlands, UoB Transport, UoB Smartmover and British Transport Police giving out important information, and of course, freebies!
Organisations such as Economic Crime, West Midlands Ambulance Service, Give Blood and UB Safe were at the event, as well as Student Support Services, Student Mentors and Horizon SARC, who were offering much needed guidance and support to all attendees, but especially students, as they often need a helping hand in this new chapter of their lives.
There was plenty for everyone to get stuck into, including giant eco-themed board games such as twister, snakes and ladders and ‘Play Your Eco Cards Right’. These were one of the most popular attractions and were great fun for all. Even Greg had a go! Attendees had the opportunity to take home their own piece of unique upcycled room decor from the workshop ran by Project UP. Old frames, pieces of wood and screws were reusedand given a new lease of life. Students created fun signs and personalised chalkboards to display in their rooms to add a more personal, quirky touch to their new homes.
Just outside in Chancellors Court were demonstrations by both West Midlands Police and West Midlands Fire Service. Police dogs gave an exciting display for visitors, showcasing their skills as highly trained members of the force. There was also a chip pan fire demo, which is one of the most common and dangerous reasons for the fire service to be called out to student accommodation and is important to try and prevent.
Overall, the Safety and Sustainability Event was a major success. 94% of the 384 people that gave feedback rated it as excellent. Clearly this is a phenomenal response for such a high profile, but new, event. Comments described the day as “a real triumph” and “a great event to be part of”. All things considered, we hope to bring more successes such as this to the university in the future in order to help the organisation as a whole become both more sustainable and safe.