THE NATIONAL Union of Students (NUS) has been awarded £5m to help students engage with their universities and colleges on sustainable development. The “Green Fund”, provided by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), will also help to ensure that sustainability remains a priority with institutions. Many catering companies and service providers are working with education clients on sustainability schemes.
NUS will run a single-round bidding competition this summer to allocate the funding. The funded projects will then receive the funding over two full academic years (2013-14 and 2014-15).
The Students’ Green Fund will encourage local collaborative sustainability initiatives through students’ unions, putting students in the driving seat for sustainability engagement initiatives, as well as supporting them in their role as agents for change.
The NUS is determined to create a social norm of sustainability in institutions. The groundwork laid by initiatives such as Student Switch Off in university halls of residence, the sustainable growth programme, Student Eats, and Green Impact, will be strengthened by the Students’ Green Fund, said the HEFCE.
The HEFCE recently signed up to the NUS’s national environmental accreditation and awards scheme – Green Impact. Run by trained students, the scheme uses a series of online workbooks to help staff achieve a range of green targets. These include increasing recycling of food and drink packaging, reducing energy use, sourcing sustainable products, and promoting the use of public transport.