News stories from across the Facilities Directorate at the University of Leeds.

Residential Services Sustainability Awards won in 2021

Residential Services Annual Sustainability Report (2020-21)

Residential Services manages the residential accommodation portfolio for the University of Leeds, with circa 9,100 bed-spaces in both University and private partner sites. Residential Services also operates according to the University’s Sustainability Strategy, which comprises the following four key themes:

  • Embedding sustainability through collaboration
  • Building knowledge and capacity
  • Being a positive partner in society
  • Making the most of resources

Residential Services started to work on its Blueprint Action Plan in 2018/19, and as required by the plan this annual sustainability report covers the progress made during the third year, September 2020 – August 2021. Actions are also highlighted with icons where they address United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (UN SDGs) – find out more about these on the Sustainability website.

Embedding sustainability through collaboration

Blueprint

Residential Services continued to develop its Blueprint Action Plan during 2020/21, and was awarded with a Blueprint Leader Award in May 2021. In addition, Residential Services also won the University’s ‘Protecting Our Planet’ Award in June 2021, for outstanding work on integrating United Nations Sustainability Development Goals across its service delivery operations. Residential Services has delivered on 13 Blueprint actions out of 15 (87%); and 15 Blueprint Plus actions out of 21 (71%) in the last three years.

Details of the Blueprint Action Plan for Residential Services can be found in the Sustainable Living Guide.

Collaboration with internal stakeholders

Residential Services appointed two Student Sustainability Architects during 2020/21. Caitlin Harris completed surveys of three residential sites, and generated biodiversity action plans and site maps for Ellerslie Hall, Henry Price Residences, and Lyddon Hall. Caitlin was also a member of the Urban Biodiversity Monitoring Programme, working on monitoring areas around campus and its residences.

Milan Thottahil is an international MSc student, who arrived in January 2021. He has worked with fellow student architects to demonstrate the negative impacts of single-use plastics on wildlife; set-up a plastic pen recycling scheme for the Yorkshire Brain Tumour Charity; has produced an online game to help explain what students can do with waste and recycling; and also planned a food donation scheme for helping local foodbanks for Christmas 2021. 

During this period, Residential Services has also worked successfully in collaboration with other internal stakeholders across the University. These included student ambassadors on the Urban Biodiversity Monitoring Programme, which saw them receive an award from the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN) in April 2021, and a Bronze Award for the Hedgehog-Friendly Campus initiative. The latter included Residential Services staff monitoring and recording hedgehog activity around residential sites in Headingley and also on sites closer to campus.

Recording hedgehog activity near residential sites

Recording hedgehog activity near residential sites

Residential Services also worked with a student-led USH Bike Hire Scheme, which will hopefully launch on campus and in certain residential sites in early 2022. Estates and Facilities Services and their consultants in delivering a new accessible ramp for wheelchair users and landscaping next to Charles Morris Hall. Residential Services continues to collaborate with student ambassadors; student sustainability architects; and student volunteers in providing them with opportunities to apply their learning for hedgehog monitoring; food waste; bike leasing; circular resource use; and single-use plastics.

United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 15: Life on Land  

Collaboration with external partners

Residential Services has also worked closely with a number of external partners throughout the year.

One of the key partners was Green Tourism. Residential Services currently has a total of eight conference-facing residential sites that are accredited under the hospitality industry’s Green Tourism accreditation scheme for sustainability. Andrea Nicholas, Chief Executive of Green Tourism, confirmed that they consider that the University of Leeds is now a leading Green Tourism Ambassador, in sharing good practice and leading the way in sustainability management (October 2020). Green Tourism also highlighted our sustainability successes on their blog in December 2020.

Other partners included:

  • Bishops Beds in supplying new longer-life mattresses, and recovering 17.2 tonnes of old mattresses for recycling in summer 2021.
  • Outco Grounds Services, with the introduction of electric-powered tools, and a vehicle on the contract commencing January 2021
  • The British Heart Foundation (BHF), in collecting a total of 3,199 bags of items for re-use, donated by students and staff; diverting the equivalent of 25.6 tonnes of waste away from landfill; and generating £44,786 of revenue in BHF shops in Leeds, to help support research for heart and circulatory diseases, some of which takes place here in Leeds.
  • Northern Consortium UK (NCUK), through links with our International Office, information was provided to NCUK, to help show what we do for sustainability here at the University of Leeds, and this appeared as one of three case studies for international students considering studying at the University of Leeds (April 2021).
  • In addition, Residential Services also collaborates with third sector charities; Estates and Facilities Services; supply chain partners; private sector accommodation providers; and Sustainability Services.
Outco contractors with electric-powered tools

Outco contractors with electric-powered tools

United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 17: Partnerships

Building knowledge and capacity

The Sustainable Living Guide

The previous in-house Living it Green Guide was renamed as the Sustainable Living Guide for 2020/21, and included a new section on ‘Your Leeds Community’. This section outlined how students could get involved with their local community through volunteering, and by supporting local independent businesses, events, and elections. It also encouraged staff to become a Positive Impact Partner, by getting involved with local charities and other volunteer activities in their area.

United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

Communications with students

The Residence Life Team continued to send out communications to students resident in University and private partner accommodation throughout the year, via email and social media. This included hosting online events that provided information, and interesting activities for students to take part during covid-19 restrictions. In addition, Milan Thottahil organised the following:

  • A series of three posters aimed at highlighting the impact of throwing away litter, that then impacts on wildlife, and hedgehogs in particular. The series highlighted: the need to place litter in bins; the alternatives to single-use plastic items; and the impact of discarded rubbish on hedgehogs. The posters also incorporated QR codes that could be scanned to access further information on related themes (May 2021).
  • A collection of used plastic pens, which generates funds for Ellie’s Fund, an initiative for Yorkshire’s Brain Tumour Charity (YBTC) (June 2021).
  • Planning an online waste & recycling game that we help students with improving recycling rates in University residences (2021/22).

United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good Health and Wellbeing United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 15: Life on Land

Being a positive partner in society

British Heart Foundation

British Heart Foundation collection banks are located all year round at all University owned residential sites, and students are asked to donate any unwanted items for subsequent reuse. During the period Oct 2020 – Sep 2021, 3,199 bags of items were collected, amounting to 25.6 tonnes. The items went on sale in local BHF retail outlets in Leeds, and raised an estimated income of £44,786 for coronary heart research, making a total of £277,660 raised in the last seven years.

The University of Leeds was subsequently the only university to be shortlisted for the BHF Heart Heroes Awards 2021.

British Heart Foundation collection at Charles Morris

British Heart Foundation collections at Charles Morris

United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Local foodbanks

Surplus non-perishable food items were collected from a number of University-owned residential sites during the year, and they were donated to the Rainbow Junktion Café (Burley); Horsforth Food Hub; and Kirkstall Community Pantry for redistribution to local families and people in need. 181kg of food was collected prior to Christmas 2020, and 601kg during June/July 2021.

Food donations to Rainbow Junktion café

Food donations to Rainbow Junktion café

United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger

Improving access

Residential Services worked collaboratively with Estates and Facilities Services, their consultants and contractors to help improve wheelchair access between the Students’ Union and Cromer Terrace, with a new ramp and landscaping at Charles Morris Hall (2020/21).

United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities

Making the most of resources

Carbon management plan

An energy-efficient Student Hub was constructed at Montague Burton during 2019/20, based on Passivhaus principles for building fabric and mechanical ventilation heat recovery. Passivhaus accredited bi-fold doors were proposed in the design, but these were replaced with less efficient Regulation M accessible doors, as the original threshold would have been too high for potential wheelchair users. An energy performance survey was subsequently completed (December 2020), which rated it as EPC Band B (32).

United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 13: Climate Action

Biodiversity

Caitlin Harris delivered three biodiversity action plans and site maps, for use in planning future improvements to biodiversity on University-owned residential sites at Ellerslie Global Residences, Henry Price Residences, and Lyddon Hall. Residential Services has also worked in collaboration with the Student Biodiversity Ambassadors to identify hedgehog activity on residential sites off campus, which resulted in a Hedgehog-Friendly Campus Bronze Award for 2020/21.

United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 15: Life on Land

Health and wellbeing

The Residence Life Team organised a number of online and in-person events and activities during the year to help residents with their health and wellbeing.

In addition, enabling work also commenced on the Well Wood Project, located to the rear of North Hill Court, with Unite Students as co-funder, and Groundworks Yorkshire as the project delivery partner. The project involves the transformation of two disused overgrown tennis courts into a communal green space for use by students, staff, school parties and local residents, and is due to be completed in 2022.

Well Wood Project site

Well Wood Project site pre-transformation

United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good Health and Wellbeing United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 15: Life on Land

Re-use

Bishops Beds continue to replace old beds and mattresses with new in a planned replacement programme, changing 652 mattresses and 84 bed bases (c 17.2 tonnes) during summer 2021.

In addition, Over2hills also provided a reactive recovery service for old mattresses, and furniture, to offer to third sector charities for either re-use, restoration, or recycling of component materials.

United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Repair

Bin Masters provide an annual repair service for any damaged external waste & recycling bins used on residential sites. This work is carried out in the weeks before Intake Weekend, so that facilities are ready for use, once students arrive in September. The repair work extends the life cycle of the existing bins, and reduces the need to purchase new bins as replacements.

United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Leasing equipment

Forbes Professional continue to supply a number of leased washing machines at Storm Jameson Court and St Marks Residences, but also installed new machines in the Shared Housing properties (April 2021). Leasing equipment maintains continuity of service, whilst repairs or replacement can be arranged more efficiently.

United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Single-use plastics pledge

Both Churchill and Crystal Cleaning Services introduced ‘Zero Waste’ cleaning products to nine of our eleven residences (85% bed-spaces) in 2019/20, where plastic containers have been replaced by starch-wrapped pellets in compostable cardboard boxes. Both service suppliers have produced their first annual report, and the outcome has witnessed a reduction in plastic containers used by between 57 – 88%.

United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 14: Life Below Water

Clean air pledge

Residential Services has a total of five vehicles with two electric (40%). Emphasis is placed on using the electrical vehicles where and whenever possible, and this resulted in the electric vehicles responsible for covering 59% of the mileage during 2020/21. In addition, Outco landscape maintenance team introduced another electric vehicle, plus battery-powered equipment, when their contract commenced in 2021.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy United Nation Sustainable Development Goal 13: Climate Action

 

Catering staff serving customer with face mask on

FD Services celebrate national customer excellence service award

In June, colleagues in the Facilities Directorate (FD) successfully completed the annual surveillance visit for a national customer service excellence accreditation, for the third year running.

Customer Service Excellence® is a Government standard that recognises an organisation’s commitment to putting customers first.

Within the FD, Sport and Physical Activity, Catering, Conferencing and Print, Estates Facilities and Sales, Marketing and Communications Teams have all excelled in maintaining ambitious standards of customer excellence to successfully complete this year’s surveillance visit.

Specifically, this year due to the covid 19 pandemic, the Services have operated very differently to previous years. However, through a collaborative and innovative approach to their way of working all the FD Services have continued to demonstrate their outstanding ability to maintain an elevated level of customer service excellence.

Not only have all compliance plus criteria been maintained from the last assessment visit in 2019 additionally, this year, all the teams were awarded one further compliance plus. The further compliance plus has been awarded for the organisational culture demonstrated across all teams. It recognises the valuable contribution all staff make to delivering customer focused services, and highlights how leaders, managers and staff all demonstrate these behaviours.

In acknowledgement of awarding this year’s compliance plus, the CSE accreditor said:

“The work carried out to increase the profile and appreciation of all teams has clearly led to high levels of empowerment and motivation and resulted in very high service levels throughout.”

Jo Hynes, Deputy Director Estates and Facilities leads the CSE accreditation programme for the FD, she commented:

“We are delighted that all of our hard work has resulted in the FD Services maintaining previous compliance plus’ and gaining a new one for this year. To know that we are exceeding the standard, demonstrating exceptional practice and delivery and are seen as exemplar to others is incredibly rewarding.

It’s been a very different year for the Services in the FD compared to previous years however, the commitment to deliver excellent service to our community has remained strong despite the many challenges we’ve all faced due to the pandemic.

True to our values and culture across the FD, our teams have continued to collaborate, share their strengths and demonstrate complete commitment to our University and each other during 2020/2021.

We have captured our work in case studies, and I encourage colleagues to read them as they provide an engaging insight into the work carried out by FD Services.”

UoL Big conversation

UoL Big Conversation

On Monday 12 July, all staff, students and postgraduate researchers will be invited to help create our new University values through a series of discussions called The Big Leeds Conversation.

New and clear values will help us to:

  • create a supportive place to study and work;
  • give our students the best experience we can; and
  • decide who we work with outside the University, and how we deliver world-class research.

In this short video Vice-Chancellor, Professor Simone Buitendijk, explains why it’s important for us all to take part in The Big Leeds Conversation:

How it works

The University is working with Clever Together, an independent organisation, who will provide us with an anonymous, secure online space to help us discuss and create our new values.

The Big Leeds Conversation is like a virtual room or discussion forum that can be joined from any internet-connected device, at any time, 24 hours a day.

Staff, students and postgraduate researchers will each have separate, anonymous online spaces to share ideas. You’ll be able to share your views, make comments and ‘up vote’ and ‘down vote’ ideas from others that you agree or disagree with.

In our first conversation, we want to think about the behaviours we should expect of each other, and those we should not accept. We’ll also discuss what we enjoy about working at the University, and our ideas for how our values can lead and guide our work.

In the autumn, we’ll bring together everyone’s thoughts and ideas to build new values and behaviours for the University – and we’ll invite everyone to share what they think about this in our second Big Leeds Conversation.

A safe space to share and challenge ideas

The Big Leeds Conversation is an anonymous online conversation. This is so we can hear your honest views.

Names will not be shared with Clever Together (or the University) and we will not know who has taken part, or how anyone has contributed. No ideas, comments or votes that you share in an online conversation will be shown with your username or personal details.

Joining the Big Leeds Conversation

When The Big Leeds Conversation begins on Monday 12 July, Clever Together will email everyone in our University community their unique username and password.

For members of our community who are not able to access the online conversation, we’ll provide alternative ways to take part. Individuals who have opted into SMS text communications will receive instructions to log in and join the online conversation from FD UniLeeds.

Anonymous, paper-based surveys will also be provided for those who either do not have access to a University email address or access to the internet.

Find out more about why it’s important that we all have our say, in Vice-Chancellor Professor Simone Buitendijk’s Inside Track: Your part in The Big Leeds Conversation.

Henry Price residency

Residential Services Annual Sustainability Report (2019-20)

Residential Services manages the residential accommodation portfolio for The University of Leeds, with circa 9,100 bed-spaces in both University and private partner sites. Residential Services also operates according to the University’s Sustainability Strategy, with the following key themes:

  • Embedding sustainability through collaboration
  • Building knowledge and capacity
  • Being a positive partner in society; and
  • Making the most of resources

Residential Services started to work on its Blueprint Action Plan in 2018/19, and this annual sustainability report (Blueprint Action) covers the progress made during the second year, September 2019 – August 2020.

Embedding sustainability through collaboration

Blueprint

Residential Services implemented its Blueprint Action Plan during 2018/19 and was awarded a Blueprint Explorer Award in June 2019. Due to the work completed in 2019/20, Residential Services has now been awarded a Blueprint Change Maker Award (July 2020). During this period, Residential Services has worked successfully in collaboration with:

  • Both Yorkshire Integrated Catchment Solutions Programme (iCASP) and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust on the Leeds Flood Alleviation Project in the Upper Aire Valley – iCASP won the University’s Outreach Award, and Residential Services was Highly Commended for the work of its student and staff volunteers for the Internationalisation Award, at the University Sustainability Awards 2020.
  • The Campus Pollinator Project around the campus – Winner of the University’s Collaboration Award at the University Sustainability Awards 2020.
  • A PhD student looking at minimising food waste at Devonshire Hall – Highly Commended in the Communication Award at the University Sustainability Awards 2020.
  • Two Student Sustainability Architects, one working on biodiversity action plans, and the other on circular resource use initiatives.Further collaborative work has also taken place with student residents, staff, Estates Services (Grounds & Gardens), FD Marketing & Communications, Sustainability Services, plus a number of supply chain partners and third sector charities. Residential Services has delivered on 13 Blueprint action out of 15 (87%), and 15 Blueprint Plus actions out of 21 (71%).

Staff Sustainability Student Architect

Mike Leonard is the Staff Sustainability Architect for Residential Services (Blueprint Action), and is responsible for all sustainability aspects across the service, including actions required within the Blueprint Action Plan.

Student Sustainability Architects

Residential Services appointed two Student Sustainability Architects (Blueprint Action) during 2019/20:

  • Ailish Byrne set up a food donation scheme for Holbeck Elderly Aid across Residences; organised a student sustainability survey to gather feedback on circular resource use; planned the collection of several plastic items that would benefit the Yorkshire Brain Tumour Charity; and organised a number of communication events on social media, including during the first Covid emergency period.
  • Karolina Zarzyczny completed surveys of six residential sites and generated biodiversity action plans and site maps for Central Village, Montague Burton Residences, North Hill Court, North Hill Road properties, St Marks Residences, and Sentinel Towers. Karolina was also a member of the Campus Pollinator Group, working in areas around residences on campus.

Green Tourism

Residential Services has a total of eight conference-facing residential sites that are accredited under the hospitality industry’s Green Tourism accreditation scheme for sustainability. Devonshire Hall, Ellerslie Global and Lyddon Hall successfully retained their Green Tourism Gold Award in December 2019. Dobree House, Henry Price Residences, Storm Jameson Court, and Whetton House retained their Green Tourism Gold in August 2020. (Central Village is to be re-assessed next year in May 2021). Andrea Nicholas, Chief Executive of Green Tourism also confirmed that they consider The University of Leeds to be a leading Green Tourism ambassador, in sharing good practice and leading the way in sustainability management.

Green Tourism Devonshire Hall

Building knowledge and capacity

The Living it Green Guide

The Living it Green Guide is an in-house guide on how to live more sustainably in University accommodation. In previous years, 10,500 copies have been printed for students, staff, contractors, and conference delegates. In 2019/20, the Living it Green Guide was accessed via the Accommodation Services web-site, and only 400 copies were printed for display in site office/reception areas.

Communications with students

In addition to normal communications throughout the year from the Residences Life Team, Ailish Byrne organised the following:

  • A student sustainability survey which focussed on circular resource use, and particularly single-use plastics; fast fashion; recycling; and future events. Feedback highlighted the students’ priorities for addressing single-use plastics; improved recycling; and recycling food waste in that order. 48% of the respondents confirmed that they did not know about the University’s single-use plastics pledge. They felt that more information and facilities were required on recycling, particularly in private partner sites. The preferred methods of receiving information was by posters; e-mail; Residences Life Facebook in that order; with other forms of social media thereafter.
  • A number of communication events were also disseminated, covering various topics, e.g. a Sustainable Christmas Checklist; Five single-use plastic swaps; Making the most of your left-over food waste.

Being a positive partner in society

World Mental Health Day

Sixteen student and staff volunteers worked with staff from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, at Kirkstall Valley Nature Reserve on 10th October 2019, World Mental Health Day. The day’s activities sought to improve individuals’ morale and mental health through team building activities; develop communication skills; give something back to the local community; work with like-minded businesses, and enhance the local environment and wildlife in the area. The group worked on clearing some of the hay meadows on the reserve so that the local wildflower species can thrive in the absence of competition from invasive grass and scrub.

National Student Volunteering Week

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Four further events or Wild Work Days (Blueprint Action) were undertaken by student and staff volunteers during the year, generating a total of 96 volunteer days of work for YWT (576 hours). The work took place on sites in the River Aire catchment, at Airton, Great Preston, Ledston Luck (National Student Volunteering Week, Feb 2020), and near Keighley. Students took part from twenty-one different countries, including Colombia, Czech Republic, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, Pakistan, Palestine, and the Philippines. The participation and impact of the work was highlighted with a Highly Commended Award in the Internationalisation category, at The Sustainability Awards in July 2020. In addition, Yorkshire Integrated Catchment Solutions Programme (iCASP) also won the Outreach category, at the same awards, for their partnership work across the region that included the work on the River Aire.

Leaky Dams at Airton Beck

British Heart Foundation

British Heart Foundation collection banks are located all year round at all University-owned residential sites, and students are asked to donate any unwanted items for subsequent reuse (Blueprint Plus Action). During the period Oct 2019 – Sep 2020, 3,116 bags of items were collected, amounting to 24.9 tonnes. The items went on sale in local BHF retail outlets in Leeds, and raised an estimated income of £ 43,624 for coronary heart research, making a total of £ 244,132 raised in the last four year.

Horsforth Food HubFood Collection

Surplus non-perishable food items were collected from a number of University-owned residential sites during the first Covid-19 lockdown and donated to the Horsforth Food Hub for redistribution to local families in need (Blueprint Action). Over 565 kilogrammes of food was subsequently collected and then delivered by Rik Jones, Head Chef at Devonshire Hall.

Academic Venue Awards

MEETinLEEDS won the 2019 Best Accessibility Award for the third year in a row, at the Academic Venues Conference held in London. The award recognised the outstanding efforts in ensuring that its conference, catering, residential and academic venues are inclusive and accessible to all.

Making the most of resources

Carbon Management Plan

A new common room was built at Montague Burton in 2019/20, originally based on Passivhaus standards for insulation, ventilation, and air-tightness. Despite limitations due to budget constraints, the residents at Montague Burton now have a light and airy communal space, in which to study, exercise and relax in a sustainable environment. An energy performance certificate has been produced which rates the building at the high end of Band B, with recommendations for where improvements can be made. In addition to the work at Montague Burton, several new boilers have been installed at Lyddon Hall and 3 Kingston Terrace. A Net Zero Carbon Plan is due out this next year and will identify works required across the campus, including all residential sites to meet the University’s net-zero carbon target by 2030.

Montague Burton Common Room

Biodiversity

A new native species hedge was planted on Mount Preston Street near Charles Morris Hall, comprising blackthorn, hawthorn, hazel and holly plants. In addition, more shrubs and spring-flowering bulbs have been added to the long linear bed of the Sensory Garden on the site. Work has been progressed on our off-campus sites, where Karolina Zarzyczny delivered six biodiversity action plans and site maps, for use in planning future improvements to biodiversity on University-owned residential sites (Blueprint Action). Residential Services has also worked in collaboration with the Campus Pollinator Group, which identified pollinator hotspots on campus, which included St George’s Field (Henry Price Residences), and the Charles Morris Hall/Lyddon Hall area. This project won the award in the Collaboration category, at The Sustainability Awards in July 2020.

Re-use

Bishops Beds continued to replace old beds and mattresses with new, changing 429 mattresses and beds at Christmas 2019. In addition, Over2hills provide a reactive recovery service for old mattresses, and furniture (Blueprint Plus Action), to offer to third sector charities for either Re-use, Restoration, or Recycling of component materials. 394 individual items of furniture have been delivered to Over2hills during 2019/20, including mattresses, bed bases, sofas, tables, chairs, wardrobes, and bedside cabinets. In addition, Residential Services have refurbished a number of sofas and chairs, and these items have now been reintroduced for use in several residences.

Leasing Equipment

Forbes Professional continue to supply a number of leased washing machines (Blueprint Plus Action) at Storm Jameson Court and St Marks Residences.

Single-Use Plastics Pledge

In addition to the work undertaken at Devonshire Hall last year (Blueprint Action), both Churchill and Crystal Cleaning Services have subsequently introduced ‘Zero Waste’ cleaning products in nine of our eleven residences (85% of bed-spaces), thereby helping to reduce the use of plastic containers on sites. The cleaning chemicals come in starch-wrapped pellets, in compostable cardboard boxes of up to 150 pellets. The pellets dissolve on contact with water, producing the same volume of cleaning fluid previously provided by three x 5-litre plastic containers. In addition to removing these plastic containers from the waste stream, the boxes are lighter and save on storage space, and also have a lower carbon emissions content for transportation.

Clean Air Pledge

Residential Services has a total of 5 vehicles, with 2 electric (40%). Emphasis is placed on using the electrical vehicles where and whenever possible (Blueprint Action), and this resulted in the electric vehicles responsible for covering 58% of the mileage during 2019/20.

Food Waste

Nicholas Davison, a PhD student from Chemical and Process Engineering, worked with catering staff at Devonshire Hall, to optimise food waste management on-site (Blueprint Plus Action), thereby reducing food waste generated through communication and education of the residents. Various measures were instigated, and surveys conducted pre & post-intervention. Feedback on awareness highlighted a 30% improvement, primarily through the use of table cards. Further data also indicated a reduction in food waste generated by 10 – 15%. Comparisons made with another case study carried out in Mumbai University also highlighted the benefit of portion control undertaken at Devonshire Hall, which was absent in India. The work of both Nick and the staff at Devonshire Hall was highlighted with a Highly Commended in the Communication Award, for outstanding contribution to sustainability 2020.

N.B. Details of the Blueprint Action Plan for Residential Services can be found in the Living it Green Guide: https://accommodation.leeds.ac.uk/livingitgreen

The Edge Testing centre

Setting up Asymptomatic Testing Centres on Campus

In the last few weeks, colleagues from across the University along with our FD services have yet again come together with impressive speed in response to establishing the asymptomatic testing centres on campus.

The collaboration between the FD, Business Change, IT, HR, Health and Safety, Sustainability, Student Education Services and the University Communications team has been phenomenal, and huge thanks go to everyone involved. This type of testing will form a strategy to break the transmission of the Covid virus. Although it places a lot of pressure on our facilities and staff, we as a University community continue to demonstrate the importance of keeping our students and staff safe whilst also making a large contribution to beat the virus regionally and nationally.

Teams from across the FD work together

In establishing the two testing sites, colleagues in Estates Operations including the DLO and the Handy Gang, Development, Health and Safety, PCB, Procurement, Estates Planning and the Project Management Office, ensured the safe set up of sites. In this time, plans were created to show all areas of the site including reception desks, testing booths, showers and changing facilities for staff. Various items of equipment including booths, special flooring, furniture, hand sanitisers and signage were procured and installed to create a Covid safe environment. Whilst colleagues from Residential Service played a key role in initially devising a testing booking system with the Project Management Office.

In order to fully support the testing sites, many SPA staff were deployed into one of the following critical delivery roles; operational managers, registration assistants and/or test result recorders. All staff deployed into these roles received full training and full PPE. Cleaning Services were involved in supporting the test centre facilities in providing clinical-level cleaning and sanitising services over a 14-hour day. This placed the team in a demanding environment requiring a lot of training and planning of logistics and rotas. However, the Cleaners, Cleaning Supervisors, Environmental Team and Senior Supervisors all pulled together in a very tight time frame to make this happen!

The Sustainability team worked closely with the Central Communications team in the lead up to the student travel window. This work was to reassure local residents of the measures put in place to allow students to visit the asymptomatic testing centres safely, and travel during the travel window. The Conference team supported the operation of a call centre to support the students who were booking an asymptomatic test and responding to any questions. Throughout the testing period, the Mailroom provided a critical service delivering test kits and other materials between the testing sites. Colleagues from Health and Safety and Estates Operations Maintenance team were also on call to manage any matters that arose.

What a fantastic team effort!!


Christmas trees on campus

Keeping campus running over the holiday period

Each year, teams in the FD play a critical role in keeping campus operational during the Christmas period. Despite the disruptions brought about by the pandemic, Christmas operations on campus will continue to run like those in previous years.
Our Estates Operations staff will ensure campus buildings are maintained, heating will be switched off and all buildings will be flushed regularly to ensure water hygiene safety. Colleagues will also be on call to handle any emergencies during this period. The Security Services team will be present and on patrol around campus and accommodation 24/7 to support those students remaining in Leeds. If at any time you need to contact Security, all the key details you need can be found here.

Throughout the Christmas break Great Food at Leeds will continue to maintain a service to students in University-managed accommodation and to those students who are moving into their accommodation ahead of starting University in the second semester, working in partnership with the International Office. Catering teams will also continue to deliver isolation boxes to any student that might need it and will remain the first port of call for emergency food boxes.

For much of the break it will be business as usual for our residential sites, as staff continue to look after students staying in their accommodation. As ever, across our residences periodic cleans are being organised throughout communal areas such as flat kitchens. This is more important than ever this year as the team strive to give students an environment which is safe, pleasant and clean. There has been plenty of preparation by site staff to make sure that everything is ready for those students arriving over the break ahead of their courses starting in January. Residence staff have liaised with the International Student Office to ensure that all their rooms will be ready for them when they arrive, and to ensure that those who have to self-isolate on arrival in the UK will be able to receive food deliveries to make this period as easy as possible for them. The Residence Life team have been planning a series of events, both in person and virtual, including the Treat Yo’ Elf  Christmas stockings for residents who will be here after the end of term, and a series of virtual mixers to help residents stay in touch.

The Sustainability team have collated their favourite walks, climbs and cycling routes. These are all easy to follow with advice for students to encourage them to get outdoors and enjoy exploring the city and surrounding areas safely. If you’d like to try any of the routes yourself then take a look at the sustainability website. 

Our facilities at the Edge and the Refectory will remain open. The Edge will re-open from the 14 December on restricted opening hours and will offer members a full time table of activities including swim sessions, climbing sessions, online fitness classes and walks. The 12 days of Winter Wellbeing Christmas Advent calendar has also been launched. The calendar offers some great daily ideas to provide a boost to physical and mental health.The Refectory will also remain open on 21,22,23rd 10am-2pm to ensure fresh hot food is available to students still on campus, as well as this, Caffe Nero at Laidlaw will also be open over the break apart from 25th,26th dec and 1st January.

All of our services have joined up with the Christmas in Leeds programme – a resource for all students and postgraduate researchers and their partners and families. Wherever you are you can get involved in an eclectic mix of virtual and offline events hosted over several channels.

Embedding sustainability across Residential Services

Residential Services has been working hard over the last 18 months to embed sustainability across the University’s portfolio of nearly 9,000 beds. This has been done across four key themes:

  • Embedding sustainability through collaboration
  • Building knowledge and capacity
  • Being a positive partner in society; and
  • Making the most of resources

Within each of these themes Residential Services has made a lot of progress across a wide variety of projects and initiatives.

EMBEDDING SUSTAINABILITY THROUGH COLLABORATION

  • Blueprint: Residential Services implemented its Blueprint Action Plan during 2018/19, and was awarded with a Blueprint Explorer Award, at the University Sustainability Awards in June 2019. During this period, Residential Services has worked in collaboration with its students, staff, Estates Services (Grounds & Gardens), FD Marketing & Communications, Sustainability Services, plus a number of supply chain partners and third sector charities. Residential Services has delivered on 8 Blueprint actions out of 15 (53%); and 10 Blueprint Plus actions out of 21 (48%).
  • Staff Sustainability Student Architect: Mike Leonard is the Staff Sustainability Architect for Residential Services and is responsible for all sustainability aspects across the service, including actions required within the Blueprint Action Plan.
  • Student Sustainability Architects: Residential Services appointed two Student Sustainability Architects during 2018/19:
    • Chloe Badge, who was tasked with surveying eight residential sites, and generated a biodiversity action plan for Devonshire Hall, and Lupton Residences; and
    • Nicola Wood, who set up a student food waste collection scheme at Devonshire Hall; two pop-up shops with the British Heart Foundation; and assisted FD Marketing & Communications by encouraging students when moving out; and to bring less, as part of the Move In campaign in September.
  • Green Tourism: Residential Services has a total of ten conference-facing sites that are accredited under the hospitality industry’s Green Tourism accreditation scheme for sustainability. Central Village was assessed for its performance as a sustainable accommodation provider in May 2019. In keeping with the other sites, Central Village achieved a Green Tourism Gold Award, and a number of examples of ‘best practice’ were identified, establishing it as “. . . an example for other universities and accommodation providers to follow.” (Green Tourism Report).

Residential Services accepting the Green Tourism Award

BUILDING KNOWLEDGE AND CAPACITY

  • The Living it Green Guide: The Living it Green Guide is an in-house guide on how to live more sustainably in University accommodation. The Guide was distributed to over 4,900 students, 100 staff, and various contractors working on the residential portfolio during 2018/19.
  • Devonshire Hall Chickens: Students at Devonshire Hall have the opportunity to look after some ex-battery hens, during their time on site. The hens are collected from the British Hen Welfare Trust, and settle in to their new academic life, with students recruited and trained to look after their welfare. The condition of the hens improves significantly over the time, and the volunteers also get the additional benefit of any freshly laid eggs.

Rescue chickens at Devonshire Hall

  • Moving In & Moving Out Campaigns: Both the Moving In & Moving Out campaigns were established with FD Communications, to influence what students bring to University; what they purchase during their tenancy; and how they can minimise waste in their first year in University Residences:
    • During the move in period, Residence Life Facebook pages provided videos that reached 1229 ‘people’, backed up with posters displayed in high footfall areas, for the ‘Enough with all that stuff’ campaign.
    • The move out campaign at year end used e-mail, Residence Life Facebook, Twitter, and University Instagram channels of communication, with the latter receiving the highest levels of engagement. During the week in which Nicola Wood ‘took over’ the University Instagram account as Student Sustainability Architect, her posts reached 7,485 people.

BEING A POSITIVE PARTNER IN SOCIETY

  • National Inclusion Week: The Sensory Garden at Charles Morris Hall was officially opened in September 2018, as part of the series of events held on campus for National Inclusion Week. The Garden provides raised beds for wheelchair access and engagement; braille and large font guides for the blind and visually impaired; and is designed to provide interest to visitors registered on the autism spectrum. Positive feedback has been received from Visit England, Green Tourism, and Yorkshire in Bloom, as well as students, staff and visitors.

Stakeholders getting a tour of the Sensory Garden

  • Yorkshire Wildlife Trust: Six Wild Work Days were undertaken by student and staff volunteers during the year, generating 97 volunteer days of work for YWT (582 hours). The work took place on sites along both the upper, middle, and lower sections of the River Aire catchment, with students taking part from nineteen different countries. The involvement of the student volunteers in the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme, was highlighted by a Leeds City Council press release in August. In addition, the activities provide students and staff with an opportunity to work in the outdoors away from the University, and can help to reduce stress and anxiety, thereby improving the health, well-being, and self-esteem of those involved.

Volunteers working with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

  • British Heart Foundation: British Heart Foundation collection banks are located all year round at all University owned residential sites, and students are asked to donate any unwanted items for subsequent reuse. During the period Oct 2018 – Sep 2019, 5,075 bags of items were collected, amounting to 40.6 tonnes. The items went on sale in local BHF retail outlets in Leeds, and raised an estimated income of £ 71,050 for coronary heart research.

MAKING THE MOST OF RESOURCES

  • Carbon Management Plan: A number of new boilers were installed at Devonshire, Ellerslie, and on Cromer Terrace, together with double and secondary glazing at Devonshire and Lyddon Terrace. The carbon reduction target for The University of Leeds is currently 35% by 2020/21. By the end of 2018/19, energy consumption in University managed residences had been reduced by 48%, providing a carbon reduction figure of 59% on its original 2005/06 benchmark. A new carbon neutral/zero plan is due to be disseminated in March 2020, and Residential Services will be working to support and contribute to its delivery.
  • Biodiversity: Residential Services co-funded a new planting scheme for the area between Leeds University Union, and The School of Earth and Environment, bordered by Charles Morris Hall and Lyddon Hall. The project enhanced existing trees and lawns, with the addition of shrubs, grasses, ferns, and herbaceous planting, providing structure, colour, scent, texture, and movement. The new plants provide both cover and food sources for invertebrates and wildlife in the area. The scheme also provides students, staff and visitors with a space that has year-round interest which benefits mental health and well-being. Further work was also carried out on Back Cromer Terrace, with the planting of a shrubs, climbing plants, spring bulbs, and a British native species hedge, comprising blackthorn, hawthorn, hazel and holly.
  • Bishops Beds: A circular resource scheme was implemented, with the planned delivery of 248 new bed bases and 810 mattresses to a number of residences including Sentinel Towers, Henry Price, and Lupton in the summer. The mattresses have been designed specifically for a longer life cycle, and with an 80% recycled content. The old mattresses @ 23.6 kgs each, and bed bases @ 21.5 kgs each were also recovered on the return trip, for recycling of the component materials for subsequent re-use. The combined weight of mattresses and bed bases recovered by Bishops Beds amounted to 24.4 tonnes during the year.
  • Over2hills: Over2hills provide a reactive recovery service for old mattresses, and furniture, to offer to third sector charities for either Re-use, Restoration, or Recycling of component materials. At least 156 individual items have been recovered this way, and include mattresses, bed bases, fridge/freezers, tables and chairs.
  • Buglife Urban Buzz Project: Student and staff volunteers helped to plant 1,000 spring bulbs and 500 plug plants in the area between Charles Morris Hall and Lyddon Hall, plus on Back Cromer Terrace during the year. This location has now been identified as a pollinator hotspot on the national Buglife web-site, and is part of the ongoing Campus Pollinator Project.

Volunteers planting bulbs near Charles Morris

  • Leasing Equipment: Forbes Professional were appointed to supply a number of leased washing machines at Storm Jameson Court during 2018/19, as opposed to direct purchase of the same equipment.
  • Sustainable Purchasing: Churchill Cleaning Services installed a Purex chemical-free cleaning system at Charles Morris Hall in 2018, which won the Purchasing Award at the University’s annual Sustainability Awards in June 2019.
  • Single-Use Plastics Pledge: Devonshire Hall reduced their single-use plastics, with the removal of over 86,000 plastic items, including plastic sauce sachets, water bottles, and plastic cups. This work has been highlighted as one of the key achievements so far in the University’s #2023 PlasticFree Pledge.
  • Clean Air Pledge: Residential Services has a total of 5 vehicles, with 2 electric (40%). Emphasis is placed on using the electrical vehicles where and whenever possible, and this resulted in the electric vehicles responsible for covering 53% of the mileage during 2018/19.

 

Do what moves you: new University strategy

New strategy from Sport and Physical Activity

Sport and Physical Activity have launched a new strategy for the University aimed to get people moving. Do What Moves You builds upon the success of the previous strategy; Climbing Higher, which saw the University ranked 5th for sports provision in the Times Higher Education Experience Survey 2018.

The vision of the new strategy is to be ‘Leeds – the Best University for Being Active’. Sport & Physical Activity want to be as inclusive as possible and create an inspiring environment through facilities, services and partnerships where the choice for students, staff and local communities to be active is easy, accessible and rewarding. There are five main goals;

• Improved wellbeing for students and staff

• Students ready for their future

• Enriching the student experience

• Creating a positive impact on the city

• Demonstrable commitment to sustainability

Suzanne Glavin, Head of Sport, said: “It is pleasing to be building from a position of strength. ‘Do What Moves You’, sets exciting but realistic goals that when realised will provide a healthier and happier University for students and staff alike. We look forward to working with all our partners in realising these ambitions.”

Find out more and share what can be done to get you, your colleagues and students active on campus!

Communication Matters event organised by MEETinLEEDS

Communication Matters & Conference Legacy

Following the annual Communication Matters conference, MEETinLEEDS were thrilled to follow up with Laith Ritchie, a 16-year-old augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) user who attended the conference last year and has been making incredible contributions to the sector over the last 12 months, demonstrating the lasting impact and legacy of conferences.

Communication Matters is the UK’s leading AAC event and a unique forum with an array of representatives across multiple disciplines, including AAC users, parents, personal assistants and professionals. Laith first attended the conference in 2018, and just one year later, achieved the Rising Star Award at Communication Matters’ very first awards ceremony, highlighting his huge achievements over the last year. Inspired by his time at the conference, Laith applied for a job as an AAC mentor and was thrilled to have been offered a permanent position in April this year. Laith now delivers training to parents, carers and schools who are new to supporting an AAC user, and his involvement in the AAC sector has generated invaluable support in a sector that relies heavily on volunteers.

A successful conference is crucial in creating a space for like-minded people to network and build new relationships, enabling individuals and industries to make huge advances. Laith’s contribution to the AAC community is the result of a successful conference, but it doesn’t end there. MEETinLEEDS will continue to capture the lasting impact and continuing value of these events on organisers and attendees, sharing the stories of those who’ve been inspired at events like the Communication Matters conference.

The team at MEETinLEEDS have also been recognised for their outstanding efforts in ensuring that venues are inclusive and accessible for all. At the Academic Venue Awards this year MEETinLEEDS were the proud winners of the Best Accessibility Award for the third year in a row. Communication Matters is an event that perfectly demonstrates the performance and versatility of the spaces operated by MEETinLEEDS.

Harriet Boatwright, Sales and Marketing Manager at MEETinLEEDS, commented: “We are absolutely thrilled to have been recognised for the hard work and dedication of our teams over the last 12 months with the Best Accessibility award. Our customers are our inspiration and they closely work with us, and with our wider teams, to ensure that we deliver facilities and services that enhance their delegates’ experience. The Academic Venues Awards provides a great opportunity to highlight the fantastic work taking place across academic venues, and we’re extremely proud to sit alongside our friends from across the sector.”

GFaL update in their Plastic Free pledge

Great Food at Leeds sustainability update 2019

As the University of Leeds catering department, Great Food at Leeds recognises the importance of operating in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. GFaL’s goal is to become number one in the higher education sector for sustainability, reaching ambitious goals such as zero single-use plastics by 2023. Aside from the plastic pledge, there are also a number of other sustainable initiatives being worked on.

GFaL is also committed to continually improving the nutritional content of its meals, and will provide a diverse offer that meets current health guidance. GFaL will work to be a positive partner in society, sharing skills and knowledge, supporting local initiatives and building the capacity of existing and future staff to deliver sustainable catering.

So far a number of initiatives have already been undertaken:

• Partnering with Too Good To Go, an innovative app and social enterprise that aims to put an end to food waste in the hospitality industry: toogoodtogo.co.uk

• Opened a new Green and Go counter at The Refectory and increased the number of plant-based meals and options across all The Refectory counters to encourage customers to eat more plant-based and plant-focused meals.

• Increased the volume of plant-based options in delivered catering, with 70% of the menu being either vegan or vegetarian.

• Continued to support Fairtrade products and ethically sourced ingredients.

• Worked with local suppliers to reduce waste including fruit and vegetables supplier H&P Fine Foods on a solution that has enabled the re-use of boxes that are used in their deliveries.

• Made sustainable fish swaps including replacing cod with pollock in The Refectory with over 15,000 pieces of cod per year replaced.

In the next 12 months GFaL will…

• Continue to monitor and reduce the use of single use items across catering operations to ensure meet the goal of becoming single-use plastic free by 2023.

• Continue to work in collaboration with the School of Food Science and Nutrition to increase the availability of healthier food and improve nutritional content.

• Reduce the overall meat content across meals and increase the amount of meat free/ vegan meals available.

• Increase the offer of locally and seasonally produced food.

• Reduce food waste and increase the use of the Too Good to Go app.

• Work with the Sustainability team and procurement to ensure catering outlets have accessible and easy to use recycling infrastructure.