Summer may be over but the legacy lives on!

Posted by hjs23 at Oct 19, 2018 10:45 AM |
This summer, the Social Impact Team, in partnership with Estates and Campus Services (ECS), Mathematics and Leicester Service Partnership (LSP), had three placement students in the team for the first time to study some of the topics that students have told us are most important to them – plastic waste, sustainable food and finding out what goes on here on campus.

SIT 2018

Many students have no idea what goes on behind the scenes in the University so working within the team provides students with opportunities and resources to develop themselves, their skills and their experience and learn more about how large organisations work and, importantly how to make them better. But the impact goes both ways – working with students, provides staff with a fresh new perspective on current operations within the University and how they can be improved. Some departments in the University have no student contact, so these placements provided an opportunity to break the silos and build positive relationships.

The three projects were selected by ECS Leadership Team and three students were recruited to looks at Plastics, Sustainable Food and Digital Campus. The standard of applications was very high, which just shows how good students are here at Leicester! The following three were chosen to take on the task and they all did amazing work.

Osheho Fekarurhobo – Plastics Project Assistant

The issue of plastic waste is big news these days so this project looked at the most effective solutions for Leicester to reduce our plastic use and improve recycling of plastic waste, for example by researching waste reduction schemes, such as providing reusable food and drink containers for students and staff and investigating how to improve recycling through a closed loop approach, such as reverse vending machines.

Oshe provided a full report that included suggestions for University objectives as well as costed short and long term recommendations to achieve them. She also made a plastic reduction campaign concept. Oshe also went above and beyond her role to help our team develop an audit sustainability tool. She used her awesome numerical and IT skills to help quantify the results into a scale so that businesses can receive an overall score and developed the spreadsheet which included a speedometer which will provide a business of a visual of their audit results and will be presented to businesses on their certificate.

“I’ve absolutely loved it. It’s been exciting and I’ve gotten to interact with people from all over the University. I didn’t solely carry out literature review and data analyses like I thought I would (thankfully), instead,  I got to be very hands-on and carried out a lot of primary research (waste audit, consortium, meetings with various departments etc.).”

Uzochi Ihebuzor – Sustainable Food Assistant

Students are always asking us about food waste, packaging and environmentally-friendly options so the second project investigated potential sustainable food catering outlet options. Working with Leicester Services Partnership (LSP/ aka Here4U), Uzo looked at the Food for Life standards and how each level (bronze, silver, gold) can be applied across University outlets and catering menus. She also looked at options to reduce waste, such as removing plastic bottles and introducing soft drink dispensers’ instead so re-useable bottles can be used, bringing or buying re-usable food containers, so food can be served in them. Uzo also researched the potential of using or selling University grown produce from Hungry for Change allotment in an outlet – low carbon, locally grown by students for students. It doesn’t get much greener than that!

Uzo’s final report included suggested University and LSP objectives and recommendations for short and long term measures to achieve them. She also created a project plan to develop a sustainable catering outlet.

“This role has been extremely valuable to my employment prospects as I have goals to work in environmental law and compliance law and aspects of this project strongly tie in with this. Also, the role was set in a way that gave me more autonomy, enabling me to be more independent and have big responsibilities which is what employers want to see.”

Dylan Moles – Digital Campus Assistant

Do you know what goes on in the Uni buildings you don’t have lectures in? Alongside colleagues in Mathematics, Dylan investigated methods to develop an interactive campus that utilises technology such as CCTV, smartphones and others to make using our campus an interesting and more engaged experience.

Find It

Dylan’s report detailed the need for, and approach to adopting novel technologies at Leicester using immersive technologies for improving the campus experience, with a focus on the applications of augmented reality (AR) to engage campus users and visitors. He also created a proof of concept App trialled during induction week called Find it. In a treasure hunt-style concept, posters with QR codes were dotted around buildings on Main Campus. By scanning the QR code, you could learn more about the University and what goes on within the buildings. You could win a prize by finding all 9 and scanning with the App.

The energy, enthusiasm and knowledge they brought to the team meant that it was sad to see them go. Oshe, Uzo and Dylan will be greatly missed (although we hope they’ll come and say hi!). We thank them for all their hard, amazing work, which is shaping future University practice, and wish them luck in the future.

What projects do you think we should do next?

Could you be one of our next placement students? Watch this space for further opportunities!

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