Last year, the University of Northampton Students' Union proudly received an Excellent Green Impact Award at the annual National Union of Students' (NUS) Awards, hosted at Birmingham's NEC. Further to this, Northampton was also awarded Most Improved Union.
Green Impact is NUS's environmental and sustainability accreditation scheme that brings together campus communities, students and staff to play an active role in improving sustainable practices.
The Award is handed out at four levels: Working Towards, Good, Very Good and Excellent. To receive an Excellent Award, students' unions must achieve over 300 points according to an audit of their sustainable activities and actions across the academic year. Northampton received a total of 361 points.
NUS particularly highlighted the Students' Union's work in eliminating plastics. For example, the removal of all disposable plastic cups from the Platform saved over 30,000 cups in just four months. The scrapping of plastic straws across all Union venues is expected to lead to similar, great savings in the future.
Northampton STAR's work in securing five, fully-funded University places for refugees was also applauded.
Katie Ferneyhough, Sustainability Project Officer at NUS, said at the time: “The Northampton team should be incredibly proud of their achievements – from getting rid of plastic straws (and all plastic completely) in their SU bar and shops, through to driving education for sustainable development work with their University, they have delivered some impressive achievements this year. To see the ongoing work and time commitment they are putting in to driving this is fantastic.”
Former Vice President: Union Development, David Lewis, was the project lead. He added: “It is fantastic to see the Students' Union recognised for its work in embedding positive sustainable practices and in continuing to make improvements in the way we operate. Going forward, the Union will integrate sustainability alongside its heritage and community engagement activities, and ensure that it remains a priority on campus.”
The Union has entered the Green Impact Awards each year since 2010, previously receiving both a Bronze and Gold Award.