The last week has been full of exciting activities as a part of Climate Action Week in the run-up to COP26, the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties. The Sustainability Team have hosted a number of events at the University and it was fantastic to see so many people getting involved and voicing their opinions.
The week began with an online session hosted by Sustainability Coordinator Emily Mason, called ‘SDG and a Cup of Tea: Climate Action – a COP26 Discussion’, where staff came together to discuss the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). There was a particular focus on Goal 13, Climate Action, and we discussed the ways that staff can directly support rapid carbon reduction at the University and beyond. Together, we discussed key sustainability topics and came up with lots of new exciting suggestions and ideas.
On Tuesday, we celebrated the launch of the University of Kent’s Sustainability Strategy. The online launch was introduced by Professor Richard Reece, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education and Student Experience, and then Dr Catherine Morris, Environmental Adviser, presented the main four themes that run through the strategy. This was followed by a panel discussion on the future of Sustainability at Kent, chaired by Dr Anthony Manning, Dean for Internationalisation, allowing us to discuss how the strategy will be implemented across the University. This provided the opportunity to share different views and opinions, and to discuss a variety of important topics. We are looking forward to continuing these important conversations, so please contact the Sustainability Team at: firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to talk further.
Dr William Rowlandson, Senior Lecturer in Hispanic Studies, took us on a Sustainability Tour following the SDG trail around the Canterbury campus on Wednesday. The sun was shining as we walked around our beautiful campus, discussing topics such as sustainable innovation, campus biodiversity, and responsible consumption. Our tour ended with an introduction to the Kent Community Oasis Garden (Kent COG) from Emily Mason where we talked about SDG 17 – Partnerships for the Goals, learnt about the work that volunteers are doing in the garden, and signed up to become volunteers ourselves!
COP26@Kent: Co-create your campus of the future, held at the Gulbenkian yesterday, brought the many different areas of sustainability together allowing us the opportunity to talk about the challenges and successes of sustainability at Kent. The areas that were represented included: Waste and Procurement, Energy and Buildings, Curriculum and Research, Sustainable Food, Biodiversity and Grounds, Transport (including representatives from Stagecoach and Bird), and Student Action (including representatives from the SAC Sustainability Working Group, and the ECS Society). The Sustainability Ideas Factory was also launched, giving students the chance to win up to £500 by submitting their best ideas about how we can make the University of Kent more sustainable. We received lots of input from staff, students, and the public at the Gulbenkian on Thursday and we are looking forward to implementing your ideas and working together to make change across the different areas of sustainability within the University.
We want to thank everyone that took part in Climate Action Week this year, and also those that made holding these exciting events possible. With the new Sustainability Strategy published, we are looking forward to connecting and collaborating with others to make the Sustainable University of the Future that we aspire to create a reality.