Student Leadership Award winners announced for Green Impact Students’ Unions 2021-22
As part of Green Impact Students’ Unions (GISU), participating SUs can nominate their students and student groups for recognition of their sustainability efforts from SOS-UK.
16 students’ unions submitted their nominations for this award in 2021-22, and the nominations were of a very high level, therefore the SOS-UK team decided to split the nominations into two categories: individual and group.
Group Student Leadership Award winners are Strath Union Climate Emergency Action Group!
The group was established in 2020, and is currently the largest of Strath Union’s action groups. They encouraged student participation in the climate march at COP26, led climate activism workshops throughout the year, wrote a Union policy stating Strath Union’s area of focus on combatting climate change (passed unanimously at Student Parliament), and lobbied the university to secure ownership of the Strathclyde community gardens (CEAG will now revitalise this garden as a project).
The other finalists in this category were:
- Sustainable Fashion Society at The SU, University of Bath, who organised various events throughout the year, from embroidery workshops, to collaboration with local start-ups, to shirt screen printing workshops. They also organized a second hand clothing sale with benefits going to charities supporting UNICEF's effort in Ukraine – and all this in a university with no art degree, and in their very first year as a society!
- Secret Garden Society at Aberdeen University Students' Association, who this year introduced permaculture practices to their garden, carried out a Bugtropolis project making the garden more pollinator-friendly, and organised various other activities, for example tree planting, a beeswax wrap workshop, and a seasonal vegan cooking challenge. They also collaborated on organising Fridays For Future protests on campus.
Individual Student Leadership Award winner is Lorena Russo from Roehampton Students’ Union!
Lorena was elected as the student Environmental Officer in March 2021, and has campaigned for a variety of sustainability issues. Her conversations with the University Estates team resulted in a new outdoor compost area being set up on campus, and she took part in Growhampton sessions to set up a new allotment area outside student accommodation. Lorena has also organised several events promoting slow fashion, ran a digital campaign to share advice and empower students on how to lower energy consumption and save money, engaged academics in ways to promote sustainability research on campus, and supported the SU President in their campaign promoting plant-based lifestyles – and this is only what we know about!
The other finalists in this category were:
- Sebastian Stroud from Leeds University Union, who is a founding member of the new Plant Society that organises a number of sustainability-oriented events. Seb has championed the take-over and re-invigoration of LUU's greenhouse, and together with Plant Soc, he is currently collaborating with the Deputy Chief Exec on the 'Living the Union' project, which aims to provide more greenery in the entrance hall to LUU. He has also led workshops during LUU's Climate Week, bringing attention to sustainability issues in the house plant industry, and recently submitted a proposal for a project that seeks to stimulate action among students for sustainable gardening.
- Georgia Allen from Ulster University Students' Union, who is involved in running Youth Climate Action NI, and spoke about divesting from fossil fuels at the BelfastCOP26 Climate Rally. She founded a Climate Society at the Union, with whom she supported running Green Week, engaging a number of student societies who otherwise wouldn’t have taken part. She organised political profiling of political parties and their green promises and green track record ahead of the Northern Ireland Assembly elections, a tree planting event, and a debate on whether single-use plastics were the single biggest threat to the environment.
- Sofia Hadjisof from The Union at MMU, who is the founder of the Hope For The Planet art exhibition (part of the Terra Movement), a project set to inspire action for the planet and give people hope for a greener and fairer future, by spreading awareness of climate change and the planet through artivism. Sofia organised a great launch event for the exhibition, with the money raised from ticket sales donated to City of Trees, and successfully engaged a vast amount of students and event staff, including the Deputy PVC Sustainability and even the Department of Education!
Congratulations to all our finalists and especially to the winners! Your passion and enthusiasm are very inspiring, you have already achieved so much for sustainability and climate action! We look forward to seeing where you go next!