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Green Lancaster, the Student Union’s eco-friendly volunteer unit, could be forced to close due to a lack of funding.
Currently, Green Lancaster is funded by the University in conjunction with V, a charity which offers financial support to volunteering programs for young people. V has provided Green Lancaster with over £200,000 over the last two years and since then it has expanded its services and been awarded the Gold Standard in the Green Impact Awards from the National Union of Students (NUS).
V will stop funding Green Lancaster on 31 March 2011. As of yet no plans have been put in place to decide what will happen after that date and how the organization will cope without this money.
“Robbie Pickles [the Students’ Union President] and Director of Facilities Mark Swindlehurst will meet this month to discuss environmental initiatives including the wind turbine project and Green Lancaster, which features in the University’s Carbon Management and Travel Plans,” said Victoria Tyrell, Head of Press Office.
Green Lancaster has been involved in a number of projects around campus and the local area since it was founded in 2006. It encourages students to recycle and use eco-friendly means of transport in addition to educating students about how they can individually make changes to reduce their carbon footprint. There are a number of volunteering opportunities for students to get involved in, from growing organic vegetables to working with the Lancaster Wildlife Trust (LWT) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).
“Green Lancaster has been very successful in the time it has been running, involving nearly 500 students in projects both on campus and with the local community. The Carbon Competition which was a brand new project really engaged students, with nearly 1000 students incentivised to reduce their electricity usage and win cash prizes,” said Sarah Hinton, Deputy Director of LUSU Involve, the volunteering and entrepreneurship development initiative run by Lancaster University Students’ Union (LUSU).
In the event of its closure, Green Lancaster’s presence will be missed as it is incorporated in plans for future projects. According to Hinton: “Green Lancaster has been written into the University’s Carbon Management Plan and University Travel Plan which highlights the importance and recognition of the work that is delivered by students and staff.”
LUSU Involve is hopeful that there is an alternative to closing Green Lancaster, particularly in light of near-future projects. “We submitted a funding proposal to the University Facilities over the summer. Although we cannot confirm all of the details at this point it has been made clear to us that University Facilities are committed to financially supporting Green Lancaster over the period of the Carbon Management Plan. A more detailed announcement relating to the funding of Green Lancaster is expected from Facilities in January 2011,” said Hinton.