RAU celebrates carbon reduction with Climate Challenge
The Royal Agricultural University (RAU) has been holding a series of Climate Challenge events to celebrate its latest carbon reductions, and to inspire students from across Cirencester to get creative with their own sustainability initiatives.
In 2013-14, the RAU reduced its direct carbon emissions by 4.5% more than the previous year, and by a momentous 5% more than the original reduction target. Initiatives included awareness raising campaigns, LED lighting installations, and new renewable technologies at the University’s new Rural Innovation Centre at Harnhill Farm.
The Royal Agricultural University aims to put students at the heart of the institution, and its environmental sustainability is no exception. The Climate Challenge saw three teams of University students compete to win a crate of Muddy Wellies ale, a social enterprise run by students at the RAU, and a pizza voucher. Students came up with a multitude of fascinating ideas, ranging from advanced water metering systems to awareness campaigns in student accommodation.
Lorna Evans, part of the winning ‘Environmentally Challenged’ team, said: “Myself, and my team all believe in a sustainable future for the University and the UK, so when I heard about the Climate Challenge we decided to give it a go. We proposed solar panels for the library and the labs, a zero carbon allotment providing seasonal vegetables for the canteen all year round, more on-site recycling facilities for plastic cups, and a mobile app for the RAU shuttle bus to let the driver know when it’s was needed at University – reducing the amount of miles being used. We had a great evening; it was nice to do something different. The other teams involved also had fantastic ideas.”
The RAU sustainability team also ran a Climate Challenge at Kingshill School, with which the University has been partnered with as part of the Cirencester Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Educators Ecosystem (E4) group. More than 30 year seven and year eight pupils from Kingshill’s Eco Council competed to come up with environmental ideas for the school, with expert advice being given by Pearl Costello, Environmental Graduate Trainee at the RAU, and Mark Hill, Kingshill’s Eco Council co-ordinator.
Pearl Costello, Environmental Graduate Trainee at the RAU, said: “It was really exciting to be able to broaden this initiative to students outside of the University. The standard of ideas was extremely high and pupils had a very enjoyable afternoon. We’re looking forward to doing more work within the E4 partnership, with a Climate Challenge already being planned for Deer Park School in April.”