On June 1st we held a celebration BBQ at the Kent Community Oasis Garden in celebration of our staff Sustainability Champions Network and sustainability volunteers that are making sustainability happen across the University as part of the FutureProof project.
The BBQ was an opportunity to say thank you to everyone for their continued engagement in sustainability projects in what has been a year of having to adapt to a new normal. FutureProof relies on the continued commitment of our staff volunteers who are delivering sustainability projects within their teams and departments.
We had some continuing projects from previous years including the annual lecture on Computing and Climate Change; KBS’ Stage 2 Market Research Project; Anthropology and Conservation’s Sustainability Working Groups including the annual BioBlitz; embedding sustainability into the Global Officers Programme; and the Medway Green Spaces Project which saw new accessible pathways, beds and green gym equipment installed.
We held three formal online workshops for champions this academic year. In autumn term we marked COP26 with a special addition to our SDG and a Cup of Tea series: The Road to Net Zero: The Role of Staff. In Spring Term we welcomed our new champions into FutureProof with a two part guide to the project and a focus on the six Sustainable Development Goals that feature in our new Sustainability Strategy.
We also had new projects and some exciting collaborations:
Our first external champion, Debi Adams, who runs the Kent Community Oasis Garden (a partnership project between the University and East Kent Mind) is collaborating with Silvio Caputo, our KSAP champion on a Horizon Research Proposal looking at the delivery of ecotherapy in our garden
New champion Lori Fisher from Biosciences will be collaborating with champions from across catering on delivering Love Food Hate Waste engagement materials
New champion Margarita Prieto-Acosta has been on a mission to reduce waste and ensure the proper segregation of waste at Kent Law School during office moves
Champions from the Division of Human and Social Sciences Operations; Knowledge Exchange and Innovation; and Internationalisation have been collaborating on a Sustainable Events guide to support staff in making easy sustainable decisions when planning and delivering events across campus. The website for this will be launching soon
Champions from College and Community Life have been collaborating with the Kent Community Oasis Garden and Landscape and Grounds Champions Chris Wright to deliver Plant a Seed sessions, mindfulness session and bushcraft workshops
And finally, our monthly newsletter was relaunched featuring campus sustainability updates; positive national and international news; Champion book reviews and blogs; and the much loved sustainability wordsearch.
It has been a difficult year as we navigate living with covid; adapt to hybrid working; and seek to build back the sustainability momentum we had pre-pandemic. However, it has been wonderful to get FutureProof going again and see staff reengage and build upon their projects or start new ventures despite a challenging backdrop.
A massive thank you to everyone that has been involved from the Sustainability Team. We could not do it without you!
Kick start environmental conversations with your family this Plastic Free July with our family film screenings of Moana and Ponyo!
In Moana, the daughter of a Polynesian Chief undertakes an oceanic odyssey to save her endangered isle from environmental devastation enlisting the aid of the legendary demigod Maui along the way. Moana and Maui’s quest to restore ecological balance and preserve traditional culture highlights how indigenous peoples are among those most impacted by global warming.
Talking Points: Protecting our land and indigenous tribes, climate change, and natural resources.
Fantastic for younger children, Ponyo is a colourful story of a little boy who befriends a magical fish, who evolves into a young girl. An environmentalist twist on the little mermaid tale from Studio Ghibli, touching on themes of pollution, global warming, personal responsibility and rising sea levels.
Talking Points: Rising sea levels, climate change and pollution.
Last week, sustainability champions from across the University celebrated the first year anniversary of the FutureProof project at a garden party held at the Kent Community Oasis Garden.
FutureProof is the University of Kent’s response to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and provides a framework, challenging and supporting each University department to review their impacts against the SDGs and working to create positive change.
FutureProof, which launched in June 2018, aims to inspire individuals, departments and the whole University community to take action in ensuring that our estate, our curriculum and our students are ready for the future.
The Sustainability Champions are key to the project’s success as they act as catalysts for change in their departments and conduits for sustainability information across the University. As part of their role as champions they lead on their own projects and the celebration event was the sustainability’s team way of saying thank you to them for all their hard work.
The event highlighted case studies from the year, which can be read in full in the Futureproof report
Projects have included a tripling of recycling rates in Biosciences, education for sustainable development projects at the Business School and a wellbeing project at the Medway campus.
To celebrate, the sun came out for a delicious vegan BBQ prepared by chef Ben Elsbury (from Kent Hospitality), games with prizes to be won, and a refreshing mocktail bar with fresh herbs from the garden.
In its first year FutureProof has held 6 workshops at both the Canterbury and Medway campuses with an overall attendance across them of 124, recruited 65 sustainability champions from 43 different departments, and supported 20 sustainability projects from across the University.