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The College Green

Birkbeck staff help Action Aid raise £1600

The Post Room/General Office Green Team guys helped Action Aid raise nearly £1600 through their (and your) toner cartridge recycling last year and the effort was recognised this week by the presentation of the certificate below.  Keep it up everyone.  Your contribution does make a difference.

Library Green Team visit Kingston University

The Library Green Group recently visited Kingston University to share experiences with their Sustainability Team and to generate new ideas to take forward at Birkbeck.

Kingston University aims to not only have a ‘carbon neutral’ effect itself, but a positive impact upon the local environment and the town. The university also only sells Fair Trade food and drinks in its café/restaurants.

There are three main aspects to the work of Kingston’s Sustainability Team: sustainability in the curriculum and research; estates management (energy efficiency, recycling, travel plan); and social issues with the local community. Their courses integrate sustainability in the curriculum such as teaching about ‘eco-buildings’, how to build more energy-efficient cars within Engineering, corporate responsibility, cost savings, marketing etc. within Business.

To harness pressure and carry through sustainability changes within Kingston, the Sustainability Team got their students on board by working with the Students’ Union, and giving students questionnaires and quizzes to complete. The team also produce a booklet for staff about personal ‘green’ tips and one for students about local green shopping and how students can play their part in helping the environment. We agreed that it would be useful for us to also try to encourage more student participation.

The main recent green achievement in Kingston Library has been sending unwanted furniture, computers, CDs/DVDs etc to Green Standards, a company that tries to reuse products rather than send them to landfill.

We all found this visit quite inspirational and it has spurred us all on to continue investigating new ways of being environmentally friendly, both at work and at home.

Emma Blakey/Helen Matthews

Dr Bike on College Green - Yet again!

On May 23rd, Birkbeck's Environmental Awareness Day, while temperatures soared and students revised for exams in the sun on College Green, Dr Bike set out their spanners under one of our large London planes and proceeded to once again put other bike repair services into the shade.  15 staff and students had punctures and assorted mechanical problems attended to in the three hour slot plus received helpful advice on cycle maintenance.

The Dr Bike mechanics this time were the Anglo-French team of Richard Riddle and Bettina Galizzi.  Our thanks and a present of Scottish shortbread went to them.  Also grateful thanks to Ben at the London Cycling Campaign for booking the Dr Bikes and especially to Ida at North Central Travel Plan Network for funding the event.

The Dr Bike team returned to Birkbeck in December, once again turning frowns into smiles as the experienced mechanics helped another seventeen Birkbeck staff and students people with their bicycle problems. With more Birkbeck staff and students cycling to College than ever before, we hope to host more Dr Bike sessions in the Spring and Summer terms 2007.  Contact Health and Safety for details.

Two Dr Bike mechanics paid a three hour visit to Birkbeck on Tuesday 7 November 2006 and managed to service the bicycles of 20 members of staff and students in that time.  Cyclists who brought along their bikes to the 'College Green' area of Torrington Square were thrilled with the idea of this service and they and those who could not be fitted into this session are naturally keen to find out when the next one will be.   Thanks once again to the North Central Travel Plan Network and the London Cycling Campaign for their support for this initiative.

The session was arranged by Birkbeck's Health and Safety Services, provided by the London Cycling Campaign and funded by the North Central Travel Plan Network.  Many thanks to the two latter organisations.

Message to Birkbeck's cycling community - to ensure you get prior notification of the next Dr Bike session at Birkbeck - register your interest with Birkbeck's Health and Safety services now! 

Environmental Management Standard Team Established

Birkbeck has begun formally working towards gaining ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard - one of the major aims of Birkbeck's sustainability policy. We are doing this through the Acorn BS 8555 phased implementation approach which allows us to break the standard down into manageable sections. Find out more about BS 8555 at and ISO14001 on Wikipedia here.

To drive forward our commitment, an EMS team led by Martin Gummer, Operational Estates Manager, has been set up.  Read the minutes of the 11 May meeting of the group here

The next meetings of the group will take place on Monday 11 June, Friday 6 July and Monday 30 July 2007.  Do join in - all interested staff are most welcome!  

Successful Environmental Awareness Day

For this year's 'Learning at Work Day', Birkbeck's Staff Development Team held an event packed Environmental Awareness Day' on 23 May 2007.  The full program of events that took place can be seen by clicking on here.

The day was kicked off with an introduction by Keith Harrison, College Secretary and ended with drinks after the screening of Al Gore's 'An Uncomfortable Truth' in our brand new and spectacularly designed Gordon Square cinema.  In between, over 100 staff attended the talks and workshops.  Also available were goodie bags filled with stationary, cuddly toys, prizes of  fair trade chocolate and a free 'green-ish' lunch -well M&S does have a 5 year environmental plan.

Outside on this splendidly sunny day there was an opportunity to have an eco-friendly tour of Gordon Square gardens and pick up tips for one's own, doubtless smaller, plot at home.  Dr Bike also made a welcome return mending punctures and fixing brakes on the bikes and bicyclettes of staff and students. 

Congratulations and thanks to Staff development for all their efforts in making this an incredibly successful day.  Now they've got to top that next year!

College Green wins Environmental Award

College Green - as an initiative - has won the public sector Green Light Award 2007.  The award, sponsored by Kyocera Mita (UK) Ltd, recognises Birkbeck's determination to improve its environmental performance and the part College Green plays in its efforts.

The judging panel consisted of the Policy Advisor at the Environment Agency, the Environmental Manager at Barclays Bank, the Editor of Business Info magazine and the Commercial Director of Reading FC. 

The award was presented by the Gary Meades, Global Environmental Affairs Manager at British Airways and Pat Pascoe of Kyocera at the Green Card conference at Earls Court One on 12 June 2007.  It was accepted on behalf of Birkbeck by Tom McCartney, College Health and Safety Officer and Coordinator for 'The College Green'.