Lancaster University

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GreenLancaster is awarded £120,000

02/02/2009 14:13:49

Student volunteers are needed for GreenLancaster's organic garden
Student volunteers are needed for GreenLancaster's organic garden

Grants and in-kind contributions totalling £120,000 have been awarded to GreenLancaster to broaden student volunteer opportunities in an array of environmental programmes both on campus and in the wider Lancaster district.

GreenLancaster is a partnership between LUSU, University Estates and accommodation manager UPP, and was set-up in 2006 to work on environmental improvement initiatives. Notable projects so far include their ‘Do it for the Penguins!’ campaign, aimed at reducing student energy consumption, and college recycling competitions, where one college reduced the amount of waste going to landfill by 40%.

Of the £119,400 awarded to the initiative, £59,700 will come from the youth charity v, which offers volunteering opportunities to 16-25 year olds. The Estate Management department at the University is matching this contribution through a combination of cash and in-kind contributions to make up the total project value.

The grant will be used to fund a 24 month project to increase student participation in environmental initiatives. Beginning in April 2009, GreenLancaster will look to provide over 100 student volunteer opportunities per year, as well as a full-time project manager and part-time student employees.

Tom Roberts of GreenLancaster said: “I’m delighted that GreenLancaster has been given this chance to grow. Our hope is that we can raise the profile of social and environmental issues by working closely with and offering our support to local charities and community groups whilst at the same time enabling students to gain invaluable work experience.”

Ben Matthews, Director of Lancaster University Volunteering Unit (LUVU), said: “The main point of the project is to get students involved in things they might not otherwise have done and to get them interested in the things they are doing.”

In addition to this, volunteers will work in partnership with the community, including visits from primary school children to learn about environmental issues from students.

There is also a hope to establish a ‘Hub’ for green activities in a campus retail unit, in a similar way to LUVU and Create. The space will be for students to get involved in campaigns and environmental volunteer programmes. The hub may also sell items that directly support GreenLancaster, such as bike sale and repair, and energy efficient products designed to reduce students’ carbon footprints.

An assessment model will be developed by the project management group to measure the environmental impact of these activities. Key criteria will include the promotion of energy and carbon dioxide reduction measures, facilitating resource saving measures, food waste composting and growing vegetables, as well as recycling and the promotion of sustainable forms of transport. In brief, the initiative hopes to have a positive impact in the district and help Lancaster students to reduce their environmental impact.

It is intended that the project is developed in such a way that it can be sustained from grant income in the long-term in a similar way to LUVU and Create.

The Director of LUVU said: “Sustaining the project past the initial two year investment will be a challenge that is tackled from the outset. The identification of future funders will be a priority although there is a distinct possibility that ‘V’ will provide additional rounds of funding.”