Last updated: 29/03/19
Welcome to the overview of SOAS Students' Union's sustainability work!
Awards & Accreditations
Most of the work done by the Union on all things sustainability-related fall under the umbrella of the SOAS Environmental Movement - follow the facebook page to stay up to date with what's going on! The group includes members of the various environmental societies. You can get in touch by emailing: email@example.com
You can also get in touch with the Students' Union environment officer on firstname.lastname@example.org - this is a part-time volunteer role, and the officer sits on the Students' Union executive committee, making sure to represent environmental concerns during the weekly executive committee meetings to determine Union policy & direction. Beyond this, the Union is also trying to integrate environmental concerns into the way it functions in various ways. At present the Union is completing an application to the NUS Green Impact Award, and is following various suggestions to help embed sustainability into the way the Union functions.
At SOAS there is a separate Sustainability Team which is hired by the University, and carries out sustainability-related work at SOAS, London School of Tropical Hygiene & Birkbeck. They work under the brand name 'Bloomsbury Greenthing'. The Union sometimes collaborates with them, for example to support work done to achieve the EcoCampus ISO 14001 accreditation for SOAS Main Building, as well as providing information to write up a pamphlet detailing sustainability-related content about SOAS. However most of the sustainability work the Union does is carried out by students & Union staff.
Carbon savings within the University buildings themselves e.g. energy efficiency & electricity management is mainly co-ordinated by SOAS Estates, and particularly by the Bloomsbury Energy Manager Stephen McKinnell. Estates have published a Carbon Management plan 2010-2020, with ambitious reduction targets that they are on track to meet.
The Union has an 'environmental steering committee', which is made up of the SU General Manager, the SU Governance & Communications coordinator, the SU Environment Officer, three sabbatical officers, and representatives from several SU environmental societies. The group meets roughly once a month to discuss ongoing environmental campaigns, projects & initiatives within the Union and the school more widely. Please get in touch with email@example.com if you'd like to get involved. Meeting minutes: 31/01/18 22/03/18 01/02/19 04/02/19 13/03/19
There are lots of environmental societies here at SOAS - some societies include environment-related work, but here are a few of the explicitly environment-focused societies:
Bike Fixing Society
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND Society)
Common Ground Garden
Environmental Justice Society
Fossil Free SOAS
Vegetarian & Vegan Society
Cycling support - public bike repair stand is coming in Jan 2018, and the Union hosts second-hand bike sales every 3 months on-campus, as well as Dr.Bike bike repair sessions & bike maintenance training sessions.
Coffee cups - the Union is working on a campaign to eradicate disposable coffee cups on-campus (the shop currently goes through 5,000+ per week)
Water bottle reduction - the Union is working on a campaign to reduce them on-campus
Bin trial - the Union, Estates & the Sustainability have teamed up to trial bin units that include recycling, general waste & food waste. Got an opinion on them? Please fill out our bin survey to give feedback.
Sustainability podcast - SOAS Environmental Movement has taken to SOAS Radio to share environmental-related news through the medium of podcast!
Enviromenstrual - the Union currently gives out free pads & tampons, but these are disposable. SOAS S.U. is looking into providing reusable alternatives. There is currently a pilot project selling Mooncups (reusable menstrual cups) at a subsidized cost (ask in room G6 for more info), and is looking into other reusable menstrual products to offer to students.
Past successful campaigns
Water Fountains - water fountains & drinking water points installed on every floor in 2015, partly thanks to work done by the S.U. environment officers at the time - previously there was only one water fountain on the lower ground floor
Divestment of SOAS' endowment - 1st University in England (and 2nd in the UK) to commit to divesting endowment out of fossil fuels (2015), and the 1st University to announce it has successfully done so (2017) - thanks to campaigning by the Fossil Free SOAS society
Solar SOAS - the first University Community Energy Project in the UK, with 114 panels installed on the SOAS Old Building roofs in 2016
Awards & Accreditations
NUS Green Impact Award Excellent, 2017/18
People & Planet Green University League 59th place, 2017 - Slipped from 25th in 2016/17, and 49th in 2015/16)
NUS Green Impact Award Excellent Outstanding, 2015/16 - (didn't apply for it in 2016/17, currently working on an application, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to learn more)
EcoCampus ISO-14001, 2016 - EcoCampus Platinum Award
Brite Green Award, 2015 - For achieving ‘outstanding carbon reductions’, placing third out of 131 higher education institutions in a report conducted by sustainability consultants Brite Green
CO2LONIALISM: Climate Change is a Racist Issue, Jan 15th 2019
Check out the SOAS Environmental Movement facebook page to keep up-to-date with events!
If you are interested in getting involved with any of the above, please contact email@example.com