The campaign was set up by NUSU to encourage students to make changes to their lifestyles and to create University-wide ‘green’ pledges in order to help the university to become more sustainable.
On January 31st, Eleanor Killner, Activities Officer, and Grace Dean, Editor of the Courier, organised a Day of Action to commence the initiative.
Held in Venue, the day included a talk from Newcastle University alumni Connie Hall, founder of Henry and Katherina, a brand which prints inspirational women’s names on clothing. The company donates 20% of all its profits to charities that support women, such as Freedom4girls and Young Women’s Trust.
Also featured on the day were discussions with Newcastle University’s societies, to encourage students to engage in ways to tackle fast fashion and unsustainable diets.
On the same day the initiative was launched, F.U.C.C. announced its ‘Green Pledges’. The pledges cover three main areas; paper, power and plastic, with NUSU promising to adapt its behaviour surrounding these three aspects in order to make the university more sustainable.
Under the category of paper, NUSU has pledged to reduce the amount of paper printed by staff by 25% by the end of 2021. They then to push this down even further, reducing it by 100% by the end of 2023, making all resources used by staff and services ‘fully digital’. These changes are part of an attempt to reduce the university’s carbon footprint, since paper production is the third most energy-intensive of all manufacturing industries.
Alongside this, to reduce power usage, it promises to replace all lights in university buildings with Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). LEDs both last longer than ordinary filament bulbs and waste only 5% of their energy through heat, according to UK Energy Lighting, compared with the 95% of wasted energy caused by using fluorescent lights.
While there are currently food waste bins in most university buildings, NUSU also aims to implement them everywhere around the university by the end of this year.
According to the World Economic Forum, there are currently 150 million tonnes of plastic floating in the ocean, the largest quantity of this being single-use plastic. As reported by the UN Environment, the most common single-use plastics are cigarette butts, plastic bottles and food wrappers.
In order to reduce the university’s usage of single-use plastic, the Students’ Union has announced that it will communicate with the university’s third-party partners to discuss ways of reducing the amount used.
As well as F.U.C.C.’s pledges, NUSU has created a space for students to submit their own suggestions of how the university can become more sustainable. Anyone can present their pledge ideas on the NUSU website.