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Grants and projects totalling £120,000 have been awarded to GreenLancaster to broaden student involvement in its environmental campaigns around campus and in the wider Lancaster district.
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 Estates Management office 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 take on more than 100 student volunteer opportunities per year, as well as a full-time project manager and part-time student employees, to bring about further reductions in the University’s environmental impact.
Tom Roberts a founder 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 the Lancaster University Volunteering Unit, told SCAN: “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.”
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. It will sell items that directly support GreenLancaster, such as bike rental, sale and repair, energy efficient products and GreenLancaster clothing. In addition to this, volunteers will work in partnership with the community, including visits from primary school children to learn about environmental issues from our students.
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, recycling and the promotion of sustainable forms of transport. In brief, the initiative hopes to make Lancaster a better place for everyone to live.
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 the Lancaster University Volunteering Unit said that “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.”
GreenLancaster is a partnership between the Student’s Union, University Estates and accommodation manager UPP, and was set-up in 2006 to work on environmental 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%.