A team of entrepreneurial students from The University of Nottingham has scooped a prestigious Green Gown Award 2015 for their efforts to tackle social and environmental issues.
Enactus Nottingham, which is run by more than 100 student volunteers, won the Employment and Enterprise category for successfully setting up ethical businesses both here in Nottingham and around the world.
Their social enterprises galvanise local people to solve sustainability issues affecting their communities and are creating additional jobs, volunteer opportunities and educational programmes.
Enactus’ portfolio includes saving more than 400 tonnes of CO2 by recovering and recycling 4,000 pieces of furniture in Nottingham and setting up water filtration systems in Cameroon, Africa.
Sustainable funding is also crucial for Enactus Nottingham. With team revenue per year for project funding (including grants) on average just over £100,000, their strategy is to strengthen their commercial business arm.
By the end of 2016 Enactus hopes to generate more than £50,000 year on year from commercial companies which can be reinvested in social enterprises. Recent activity includes taking on the University’s own Ucycle service operating out of new premises in partnership with Estate Services.
“It's fantastic for Enactus Nottingham to be awarded winners amongst such prestigious company. We're thrilled with the recognition and delighted to be part of the Nottingham delegation at the Green Gown Awards. As a team we are now preparing for five international expeditions in January to implement and scale our projects as well as launching a new social enterprise focused around child care based in Nottingham,” said Andy Stride, President of Enactus Nottingham.
The University was shortlisted in three other categories - more than any other higher education institution that entered the annual awards for exceptional sustainability initiatives - and went on to be highly commended in two of those.
Andy Nolan, Director of Sustainability at The University of Nottingham, said: “To be finalists in four categories is fantastic – to win and be highly commended in three is testimony to the great work happening across the University. I am delighted that our student, academic and professional services teams continue to be recognised as one of the leading universities with regards to sustainability and social responsibility.”
NOTT Carbon - the University’s carbon management programme - was shortlisted in the Carbon Reduction category. The programme delivers real reductions in carbon emissions and reduces energy consumption across our UK campuses and costs by improving the performance of existing infrastructure where possible or replacing it with more energy efficient technology and equipment.
Since 2010, overall carbon emissions have reduced by 10,679 tonnes. Income to the tune of £71,000 has also been generated by exporting electricity produced by a number of renewable energy installations, including the solar panel array, on the Veterinary School at the Sutton Bonnington Campus.
The measures, including investment in energy-efficient boilers, have made facilities more comfortable to live and work in with more reliable heating, cooling and ventilation in student residences and energy-intensive laboratory spaces, for example.
Helium – Lost in Space was Highly Commended in the Facilities and Services category. Helium is a non-renewable resource and is essential in supporting research into drug discovery to cure diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The University has successfully managed to capture this gas from various Schools, re-liquefy and reuse it. This protects and futureproofs the University from dramatic fluctuations in availability, cost and in turn creates a more sustainable market.
Creative Energy Homes was commended in the Research and Development category. A long-term development of seven “Creative Energy Homes” (CEH) on the main campus provides a living test-site for leading firms, including E.ON, David Wilson Homes, and Tarmac to work with The University of Nottingham to investigate the integration of energy efficient technologies into houses.
The research findings have help inform the UK Government’s “Green Deal” strategy and the Nottingham Community Climate Change Strategy and have received widespread acclaim through a number of public engagement activities reaching out to over 5 million people.
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham has 43,000 students and is ‘the nearest Britain has to a truly global university, with a “distinct” approach to internationalisation, which rests on those full-scale campuses in China and Malaysia, as well as a large presence in its home city.’ (Times Good University Guide 2016). It is also one of the most popular universities in the UK among graduate employers and the winner of ‘Research Project of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2014. It is ranked in the world’s top 75 by the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, and 8th in the UK by research power according to the Research Excellence Framework 2014. It has been voted the world’s greenest campus for three years running, according to Greenmetrics Ranking of World Universities.
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