Ravensbourne Students’ Union has been awarded a 'Gold Standard' in the NUS Green Impact Award for the second year running.
The NUS Green Impact Award is the first of two acknowledgements recently achieved by Ravensbourne. This week, Best Master’s Degree seeded Ravensbourne #8 in the Top 50 most environmentally friendly university buildings.
"Achieving Gold in the NUS Impact Awards for two consecutive years allows Ravensbourne to go for the Excellence Standard in the Green Impact Awards. It's the crème de la crème of the eco-conscious!" says Emily Cook who was championing Sustainability for Ravensbourne in 2013/14.
"We need to make sound decisions at present in order to avoid limiting the choices of generations to come."
Emily Cook, 21, has now passed the Vice President for Sustainability crown over to Bryan Ruiz. She kindly took some time out of her busy eco-schedule to talk to the News Room about the Award.
Tell us a little bit about you...
I'm from Hartley; a small village in Kent and I lived there until three years ago when I moved to London to study at Ravensbourne.
I’ve been studying here since the new building opened four years ago as before the BA (Hons) Digital Film Production course I took the Foundation Diploma in Art, Design and Media.
Are you eco-conscious outside of Ravensbourne?
I'm definitely eco-conscious. I make a lot of effort with things like recycling, energy usage and monitoring my carbon footprint. I'm forever nagging my housemates to turn the lights off or use the right bins – it's really important to me!
I also try to ensure that any films I'm heavily involved with are eco-friendly. For example, for my final graduate film I was the Producer, so I was able to closely monitor the productions carbon footprint. We used almost all natural and LED lighting, even on the night shoots!
What made you want to run for Vice President for Sustainability?
I've always been passionate about sustainability; it’s how I've been raised. The work of the previous Sustainability Officers, Tom Riglar and Rumil Shah, really inspired me. It was great to see a small university doing so much. I've always believed that sustainability is very important because all the choices we pursue and all the actions that we make today will affect everything in the future. We need to make sound decisions at present in order to avoid limiting the choices of generations to come.
When did you find out you had won this award?
I found out shortly after the Student Union had our Green Impact audit, in April 2014. This is where I was interviewed by a member of NUS about all the things that Ravensbourne does eco-consciously. There will be an award ceremony hosted by the NUS later this summer.
What does winning this award mean to you?
It means a great deal to me personally as when I was elected I saw the award as essentially a measurement of my success as Sustainability Officer. I put in a lot of work to achieve it; from running events such as Go Green Week, to providing other Officers on the Student Union with one-to-one inductions on how sustainability could be incorporated into their roles.
Did you actively set out to win this award?
Yes, I did. When I stood to be elected it was one of the main goals detailed in my manifesto. I wanted to continue the great work of the previous Sustainability Officers and show that despite being a small institution we could achieve just as much as a university that has ten times the amount of students.
How did you win this award?
I completed quite a substantial workbook for NUS made up of hundreds of targets that needed to be met for different criteria e.g. energy saving, recycling, transport. Ravensbourne do a surprisingly large amount for a small institution - a lot of the staff here are very eco-conscious- which helps extensively! The building itself is great for sustainability: It’s very well-insulated and all the lights are turned on by motion sensors and turn off automatically. Ravensbourne also runs exciting events that encourage students to get involved with sustainability, such as the 48 Hour Green Film Festival.
Will you be continuing your work here?
I won't be continuing my work directly, as I'm graduating at the end of July this year. However, I plan to give the next Sustainability Officer a thorough 'handover' to ensure he's prepared for his year ahead- and of course I'd love to visit the Student Union to see their progress!
What advice do you have for the next Sustainability Officer?
To keep doing things that get the students involved. The staff are completely on side here, it’s the students I'd love to see won over. Sustainability is becoming mandatory in the creative industries that Ravensbourne students hope to enter into, so the more prepared they are, the better.
** photo provided courtesy or Sean Wakefield - www.sean-wakefield.co.uk