Green on the outside
While a university’s indoor teaching and learning spaces might appear to be the most important part of their campus, outdoor spaces also have a key role to play. Not only do they provide students with a place to have a break and get some fresh air, they also offer an opportunity to socialise and support key green initiatives too.
UniCycle is a scheme that has been created by the NUS, Love to Ride and the EAUC to
encourage more students and staff to cycle in higher education. A survey of over 2,000 students showed six per cent cycle to university, while a third have access to a bike. Having a safe place to leave bikes on campus was seen as likely to encourage more students to put foot to pedal.
Cyclehoop, providers of bike storage facilities, worked with the University of Cambridge to install nearly 700 two-tier bicycle racks in order to provide secure cycle parking for over 150 departments and faculties in the bike-friendly city. Two-tier bicycle racks provide an ideal solution where space is limited; the university planned to install 2,000 cycle parking spaces over two years.
Nicky Teegan, marketing manager at Cyclehoop says: “We want the outdoor spaces to reflect the vision of the university which is a space of learning and innovation.
“Sustainable thinking is a crucial topic at the moment and with this in mind we need to encourage our students to think in a greener and more environmentally focused way. Providing spaces that enable students to be outdoors and engage with their environment is a great way to facilitate this thinking.
“Whether it be outdoor sheltered areas, cycle parking, repair stations or community gardens – we need our students to start actively engaging with their environment and think in more sustainable ways.”
Fordingbridge was also asked to design an enclosed timber canopy bike shelter for the University of the West of England (UWE), in order to help them achieve a 20% increase in Bristol city cycling by 2020.
Stephen Toone says: “The cycling solution not only endorses sustainability through the promotion of cycling, by offering a safe and secure place to store bikes, but also through the structure itself. Timber is becoming an increasingly popular construction material because it is one of the most environmentally friendly materials available.
“The bike shelter, providing a safe and secure home for bikes while adding an aesthetically
pleasing addition to the environment, is only going to help in achieving student satisfaction.”
Bin there, done that, recycled the t-shirt
Oxford Direct Services (ODS) is a social enterprise that is owned by Oxford City Council. As well as cleaning the city’s streets and collecting and recycling waste, it also uses its certified CIWM Waste Audit Training to help local universities increase their recycling rates and green credentials.
ODS has installed 32 mixed recycling and general waste compactors across Oxford Brookes
University’s campuses in order to minimise the number of on-site bins. When the bins fill up, the university’s facilities management staff take the waste to the compactor so that it can be compressed and then collected centrally, resulting in 45% of waste and 22% of food waste being recycled overall.
ODS has also helped Oxford Brookes University introduce a range of incentives to encourage students to recycle, such as setting up pop-up charity banks on campus to help students moving in and out of accommodation to recycle old clothes.
Students can also take tours of Oxford City’s disposal outlets, which shows them first-hand what happens to their waste.
Michele Morley, environmental specialist, says: “We work closely with our projects team ensuring waste segregation is designed in at the concept stage and considered all the way through the design, development, construction and the operational phase of our redevelopment programme.
“We design our outside spaces to enhance the student experience and we recognise that providing consistent messaging and waste provision is key to the success of our recycling programmes.”
This article was contributed by University Business.