Thinking green: one society’s journey to change.

Posted by cc576 at Oct 28, 2020 03:55 PM |
Meggie Eloy and Carla Field’s nomination at the Green Gown Awards.

Sustainability has become a hot topic, with many companies and institutions implementing measures to do their bit to enact positive change. From a student perspective, many get involved in initiatives, help in their local community, or go a step further, by creating their own groups and hosting their own activities, which is exactly what Meggie Eloy and Carla Field did as President and Secretary of the Plan-it Change society. Through this, they have been shortlisted as finalists for the 2020 Green Gown Awards under the category of Student Sustainability Champion of the Year.

Established in 2004, the Green Gown Awards recognise the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges. With sustainability moving up the agenda, the Awards have become established as the most prestigious recognition of best practice within the further and higher education sector.

Meggie and Carla initially began their journey to improving Leicester’s environmental conscience as two students, studying different disciplines (Geography and Law). Upon feeling that the University could enhance their approach to sustainability, they decided to act. By taking up leading roles in the University’s only sustainability-focused student society, they focused their efforts on hosting an array of activities and campaigns with one goal – making a difference. They commented: “One of our proudest achievements was creating a zero-waste shop for students and staff on campus. After consistently running pop up shops across campus, we built an evidence-based business case to pitch to the University of what students want. Fast forward a year and there is now a dedicated space for zero waste goods on campus”.

Achievements like the above, alongside making sustainability more accessible to students across the university, helped earn them their shortlisting for Student Sustainability Champion of the Year. They have also successfully impacted the advancement of the University’s ethical investment policy, and through their tireless efforts, Meggie and Carla ensured that every investment made by the University considered the social and environmental impacts. This was enacted through various meetings with the University’s Finance Director and Goldman-Sachs, coupled with their thorough research and persuasive argument. Meggie added, we were able to encourage the University to directly divest from fossil fuels and influence a new highly acclaimed Ethical Investment Policy. A grand achievement.

The University has a rich history in providing a space for development and change, having worked with students to shape University policy and practice, whilst supporting their projects and ideas, some of which can be found by clicking here.

The last 2 years have taught us that most people want to live more sustainably, but they don’t have the tools and knowledge to do so. Sometimes people have a perception of what it means to live this way and are therefore discouraged by it. However, with the work we have done, we have shown that the average student can do their bit for the environment and have it fit within their daily lives.

As a student society with big goals and dreams from the ground up, Meggie and Carla were able to both positively impact their university and those around them, thus gaining a wealth of skills they can utilise. Meggie commented: “Carla and I massively developed our time management skills. Running this society and these major projects took up a lot of our time. As full-time students we had to delegate our time wisely so that we could be successful at both – and we did. Additionally, our confidence improved through the various meetings we undertook with people from varying professions and backgrounds.

Meggie and Carla embody the University of Leicester motto, “So that they may have life” through their values. Meggie commented:To do justice to the hopes and the expectations of those on whose shoulders we now stand, we strive to make a difference in everything that we do. Students and staff are at the heart of our ambition and it is they that will help us deliver it. Our shared values both inspire and permeate everything we do.

We are amazed at the zealousness of both Meggie and Carla regarding their attitudes towards the environment and becoming more sustainable. We congratulate you both and Plan-it Change society for your nomination and look forward to hearing more successes to come.

If you would like to get involved in a range of sustainability volunteering and learning opportunities, join the Student Sustainability Partnership Group, by attending their event on Thursday 29 October, 4.30pm and, or by heading over to their Instagram for upcoming meetings and opportunities.

You can also find Plan-It Change on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

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