Earlier this year, we asked students and staff to pitch their ideas for a project, initiative or activity that would promote an even more sustainable campus and university community. We had £1,000 collected through the new 5p charge on disposable cups on campus to fund the best ideas (and are delighted to announce that this project has just been short-listed for the ‘Money for good’ category in the Green Gown Awards 2019!)
Last month, a group of representatives from the Students' Union and relevant University staff came together to select the most impactful and creative of the ideas.
Two of the winners – Ana Coquet and Adam Edwards tell us a bit more about their ideas and what plans they have for the future to ensure their idea becomes a force for change in the MDX community.
Ana Coquet – Minimising waste that ends up in landfill by raising awareness of different waste facilities on campus
My idea is to highlight specific bin facilities across campus to ensure the rubbish being produced at MDX ends up in the correct place to minimise waste going into landfill.
I was inspired by the idea when I first noticed that people on campus were throwing the wrong waste into the wrong bins (eg. orange peel into recycling). When recycling waste is contaminated with non-recyclable waste it, for example, it makes it very difficult to sort once it is taken off campus and this increases the waste being sent to landfill – something we need to tackle if we’re to continue calling ourselves a sustainable community and more importantly, if we want to save the planet from this climate emergency.
My plan is to launch various maps for the different buildings across campus to show staff and students what specialist bins can be found where. For example, confidential waste, compost, coffee cups, batteries, etc. I hope to raise awareness to both students and staff through various different channels – both online and off.
Evidence shows that, thanks to human activity, global temperatures are rising at a level which isn’t sustainable for the environment to be able to survive (BBC, 2019). As a university we have the opportunity to lead by example, inspire the local community as well as our students and staff to make sustainable changes at home which they will hopefully take away and use to influence their friends and families to live more sustainable lifestyles. This initiative is only small and one of many I suggested, but we have to start somewhere as it is every individual’s responsibility to take action and make changes starting today if we’re to save the planet.
Adam Edwards - Local travel map displaying safe routes for cycling and walking
My idea is to work with staff and students to create a local active travel map so people can contribute their safe and efficient walking and cycling routes to the University. I’m currently looking at how we might be able to produce electronic journey planners which might then be integrated with MDXapp.
I cycle to work and my route up Station Road from Hendon station is quite hostile, with regular close passes by cars and vans. The perceived risk and danger to pedestrians and cyclists from cars and lorries is known to put people off active travel. My hope is to bring together information from students, staff as well as Transport for London and Barnet Council to display safer travel routes or our community.
We can’t go on in the UK assuming everyone has a car as there simply isn’t the space to do so. As the University draws a large number of people to Hendon each day it’s vital we set a good active travel example to the local and wider community, especially as we have so many commuter students. Setting a good example might also help push Barnet Council into doing more too.
Have an idea about how the University community could live more sustainable? We'll be opening another round of bids in the new academic year – look out for the announcement on UniHub!