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Encouraging our staff and students to help us be more sustainable and to develop our environmental focus.
The Sustainability Advisory Working Group meets quarterly to review environmental issues and drive forward our plans in this area.
We involve staff and students in all areas of the sustainability agenda, and will soon be launching an online sustainability forum for staff and students to discuss and share ideas and suggestions.
If you've noticed something, no matter how big or small, which could help make the University more sustainable, please do get in touch. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to help shape our policies and procedures.
“Provide free drinking water”
We have provided free drinking water stations for a number of years but in a bid to promote our stations and encourage people to use them, we are now part of the refill app and our free water refill stations across campuses are logged with them.
“Reduce single-use plastics”
We are working with Plastic Free Wrecsam to build a plastic free community. To become plastic free, we need to eliminate at least three single use plastic items and work towards eliminating more. So far we have:
- Introduced refill cups and tariffs on disposables.
- Eliminated plastic cups from water fountains.
- Joined the refill scheme to reduce the need for single use bottles.
- Switched to vegware takeaway containers and cutlery.
- We are looking to introduce an Eco-box reusable takeaway container scheme.
"Make University vehicles electric"
New electric vehicles have been rolled out as part of a raft of decarbonisation, green economy and digital learning infrastructure projects at the University. The electric fleet consists of two Vauxhall Vivaro e-life minibuses, two Nissan e-NV200 maintenance vehicles, a pair of Nissan Leaf staff pool cars and a site utility vehicle. We've approved the installation of electric vehicle charging points at Plas Coch visitors car park, charging for minibus/maintenance vehicles next to the Students’ Union building, and another charging point at the Regent Street campus. Also included are fast charging points at Northop and St Asaph campuses.
“Encourage wildlife on campus”
WGU have signed up to become a Hedgehog Friendly Campus. We are working closely with our students and have set up a Hedgehog Friendly Campus group, who are working to encourage hedgehogs and other wildlife on site. We were delighted to hear that in February the University secured Bronze Hedgehog Friendly Campus status. We have set up some hedgehog survey equipment in the Science Garden - a tunnel with some carbon paper that they walk on so you can see their paw prints. When the garden was built it also included a 'hedgehog highway', which is some holes in the fence that they can get through to join up all the green spaces.
Are you interested in joining the Hedgehog Friendly Campus group email us at email@example.com.
“Commit to ethical employment”
The University has made a commitment to implement the Welsh Government’s Code of Practice on Ethical Employment in Supply Chains, which seeks for all public sector organisations and universities in Wales to commit to a range of ethical employment practices, including considering paying all of their staff the Living Wage Foundation’s Living Wage as a minimum, and encouraging their suppliers to do the same.
Wrexham Glyndŵr University has committed to paying the Living Wage Foundation’s Living Wage as a minimum to all of its staff, and this will be implemented during the 18/19 academic year. The University will also ensure that as part of any contracted service arrangements, for example in providing cleaning, catering and security services, that at the point of re-tendering, contractors commit to also pay the Living Wage Foundations Living Wage.
“Increase the number of drinking water fountains”
The Estates department has installed a new tap water drinking fountain, and it is located on the first floor of the B Block at Wrexham Campus.
This fountain brings with it many benefits:
- Reduction of plastic waste from single-use bottles.
- Easier access to drinking water for the B Block and other University users.
- Reducing the risk of litter being dropped around the campus.
“Improve planted areas”
A project led by staff, Claire Doran, Fiona Begg and Kim Johnson, to improve planted areas around campuses and encourage more wildlife, has started on the decking area in the quad at Wrexham campus and outside the main buildings at Northop Campus. The project was partly funded by WGU’s Sustainability Action Working Group and other plants were donated by staff, students and Dan Rose. They applied for the funding through SAWG and received £200, which was spent on a range of plants, pots and compost. They roped in the help of WGU’s Green Champions for a planting morning. Claire commented saying “We hope to inspire other members of staff to start sustainability-related projects that both students and staff can benefit from.”
If you would like to apply for funding from SAWG for a sustainability-related project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Improve the University recycling”
Work to reduce our environmental impact didn’t stop during the lockdown and over the summer we were successful in securing funding from the Welsh Government Circular Economy fund. The fund aims to drive forward the Welsh Government objectives to become a circular economy by taking action to phase out single use plastic, prioritise purchase of sustainable, remanufactured or recycled content materials, make more efficient use of our food and to become the world leader in recycling – its currently #3 in the world!
Grant funding will be used to target increasing recycling rates to at least 50% by:
- Providing standardised segregated bins across all campuses.
- Using food caddy’s to segregate food waste from other waste streams.
- Developing a communication programme to inform people about recycling at the University and the wider circular economy context.
“Encourage more involvement from the higher level staff in promoting sustainable events and campaigns”
For part of Go Green week, VC Professor Maria Hinfelaar led a lunchtime bike ride around campus which was reported on in The Leader. Director of Operations Lynda Powell also helped promote and attended Crispin Lane Clean-Up in March.
“Create new green spaces and improve existing ones. Make them outdoor social learning spaces or places where students and staff can relax and unwind at lunch, etc.”
Techniquest Glyndŵr was successful in obtaining around £34K of funding to transform a derelict and unused area of ground to the rear of the LEIS building used by the popular Science Centre on the Plas Coch Campus of the University. The space will complement the indoor space of Techniquest Glyndŵr that houses over 75 hands-on interactive science exhibits. Once complete, the Science Garden will offer a mixture of planted areas and features such as wheelchair friendly surfacing, raised beds and a pond area, a composting area and a number of working exhibits of equipment that will illustrate the primary scientific themes of biodiversity, renewable energy and recycling.
“Embed sustainability as part of all curriculum activity”
Our Foundation Year students, in all subjects across the University now, are required to complete a module on Contemporary Issues, in which they study and discuss topics such as climate change and genetic modification.
“We want a space to grow our own fruit and veg”
We have built a collaborative with Flintshare, the community led growing group. Staff and students can get involved and learn about planting different seeds, weeding, transplanting and pest control. You will develop a practical understanding of horticultural techniques by understanding how to make compost, dig beds, as well as gain knowledge about different plants, insects and the ecosystem.
“Reduce car parking and actively encourage/incentivise and support the use of local public transport and cycle/walk to work schemes.”
Wrexham Glyndŵr University holds campaigns to promote an active lifestyle, including National Walking Month in May and Bike Week in June.
Find information on how to get to campus using public transport on our Sustainable Travel page. WGU offers transport for use by students and staff to travel between campuses during term time, which you can book onto through email@example.com.
We also provide bicycles for students and staff to hire to get around each campus. There are currently 18 bicycles available for hire and can be hired for up to 7 days at a time.