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Celebrating sustainability with Green Impact awards

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We’re at the time of year when Green Impact teams all over the country are celebrating their social and environmental achievements with annual awards ceremonies.

Across our universities, colleges and organisations, Green Impact teams are finding out whether their efforts across the year have earned them a gold, silver or bronze award, after making an incredible 70,000 greening actions throughout the UK across 2013/14.

But awards ceremonies don’t have to just be about congratulating participants for their commitment to sustainability.

They can be an embodiment of what Green Impact is trying to achieve – offering examples of good practice for what events should be, as well as deepening engagement with the agenda across an organisation.

Manchester Metropolitan University embedded their aims into all aspects of the event. “I used my budget to purchase plants as table dressings with an accompanying card inviting attendees to get involved in a staff gardening group”, explains sustainability and engagement officer Ryan Waugh.

“All the plants were then planted in our community garden in our Science faculty. We also gave away keep cups as an incentive for teams to stop using disposable coffee cups (our catering outlets give you 10p off your drink if you use a reusable cup)”

Another clear opportunity for showcasing sustainability is in the food you serve, and MMU didn’t miss this chance.

“The lunch was a project for our catering team who provided us with a locally sourced lunch with meat and vegetarian options. We made posters to educate attendees on responsible meat eating relating to carbon food prints and the sourcing of food”

Aside from what you eat and give away, awards ceremonies are also a great platform to invite guest speakers to inspire your participants and connect with the positive impact you’re having in your community.

“Neil Reid from Blackpool Food Bank came along and spoke briefly about his charity, and the importance of getting involved with the local community and the difference it makes to local people’s lives”, sustainability manager Pam Reynolds of Blackpool and the Fylde College tells us.  

“He was very inspirational and I received a number of emails from attendees afterwards saying how inspired they were”

Hosting the annual awards ceremony isn’t just about giving out people their certificates and trophies. It’s about engaging senior management, showcasing your organisation’s dedication to sustainability, and connecting teams to the impacts they’re making in the community.

It’s about everything Green Impact does: greening campuses, curriculums and communities, to build a genuinely sustainable society.

Talk to us about student-led sustainability at your union.

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