Celebrating the people who make Sustainability happen – a year of FutureProof

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 June 1st Celebration

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.

New features at the Medway campus.

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.

Workshops of 2021/2022.

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
CCL activities.

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!

Maximising our green space at Medway

The Medway campus has a patch of green space that is underused and not particularly relaxing to spend time in (it is next to a busy road). However, the Medway sustainability group
made up predominantly of champions from Student Services know it has great potential to be developed into a space that could provide an alternative to an otherwise urban environment.

We aim to maximise the limited green space at the Medway campus by creating a quiet space for reflection that can be utilised by students, staff and the wellbeing team. As a group we have come up with a series of ideas and designs that utilise the campus’ small patch of woodland as a focal point for a wellbeing and art trail, incorporating music and natural sounds to break up the noise from the road. This will provide a unique space for alternative outdoor therapy for students accessing the University’s mental health services, and a space for all campus users to get away from it all.


We are now at the stage where we want to turn our ideas into a reality and are looking for students and staff to join our group to help us create a space that we can all benefit from.
We are looking for people who will bring new ideas into the group, are resourceful and are happy to volunteer their time on the site. At the moment we are on a break due to the Covid 19 pandemic, however if you would like to join the Medway Sustainability Group please email sustainability@kent.ac.uk and we will add you to our mailing list.

The Gulbenkian: Project Zero

Project Zero – The Gulbenkian have been on a mission to reduce all waste where possible from their café, theatre and cinema operations.  Since the start of Project Zero, headed up by Sustainability Champion Daniel Parsons, they have:

• Removed all single use plastic bottles in the café, saving an estimated 50000 plastic bottles since August 2018

• Switched to reusable plastic pint and half pint cups which has significantly reduced their single use plastic cup buying

• Partnered with ‘Too Good To Go’ and sold 626 magic bags. These are bags of food that would be thrown away and instead offer meals to customers at significantly reduced rates

• Sent all their milk bottle caps to a company that reuse the plastic, that’s about 300 caps a week

• Hosted a family day on climate change with thoughts, ideas and pledges shared on the ‘SustainabiliTree.’

The Sustainability Team at the Gulbenkian will be continuing Project Zero into the next academic year and will continue their focus on waste as well as looking at carbon.