My NUS Green Champion experience

I know that most of you are familiar with the Green Impact Scheme run by National Union of Students; it`s probably one of the biggest behaviour change programmes out there and it does have the potential of being successful.

I was a Green Champion for a year while working at Portsmouth University. I had a great time really! It was my very first time interacting with these “green workbooks”, running “green events”, carrying out audits for your department, attending meetings with other Green Champs (lovely bunch of people as expected!) and many others. Being such a newbie and having bags of enthusiasm, I aimed for the Gold award straight away (as you do!). Although very supportive and helpful, my department didn`t really give it much credit and believed it was almost impossible for us to get Gold.

I eagerly started off straight after the launch of the 2015/2016 workbook and in a few weeks I have completed all the tasks for the Bronze workbook. Filled with energy and motivation, I wanted to get the Silver one done before Christmas, so I can finally crack on with the Gold workbook. Why? Well simply because it was the most exciting of them all! To give you a taste of it, actions included:

1 “The Everest Challenge takes place in January totalling how far team members climb when walking up the stairs every day. This distance is added together to see if members of staff have climbed Everest or not.” — this was just brilliant! Colleagues soon got excited about the challenge and started recorded their flights of stairs daily! We ALMOST climbed Everest ❤

Everest Challange Tally Charts

2 “The department has a dedicated area where staff can donate unwanted items for re­use by other staff.” Yup, Swap Box was a hit!

3 “The team has run its own water- saving campaign with the last 12 months.” -nice and cheerful.

4 “Either the team has less than one printer per 5 members of staff, or it has a plan to reduce the number of printers within the next year.” -this was such a fun task and my team took it very seriously! :) we secretly took away our new director`s desk printer before his first day in the office. He will never know, and believes that the norm is to use the big printer in the hallway. WIN!

It goes without saying that I had the time of my life being a Green Champion and have successfully complete all 3 workbooks! We were awarded the Gold Award for the first time ever and our director was so impressed that he had offered the team a budget for the next year`s workbook!! So unexpected…but very pleased that my work was appreciated ❤

Conclusions : Although Green Impact can be a bit tedious and not so much user friendly, it can also be good fun if you have enthusiastic people around you. I think that from a Green Champion`s perspective it can be difficult to maintain interest and enthusiasm year after year, doing the same tasks again and again. NUS should definitely come up with new challenges for the Green Impact workbooks . Departments should experiment with their own (very targeted) activities. Looking for their greatest impact and finding innovative solutions to mitigate.