Cranfield runs regular events and activities throughout the year with the aim of raising awareness of green issues and helping to maintain a sustainable environment in and around the University's campuses.
Details about some of our recent activities can be found below.
Wildlife walks and wildlife watching
At Cranfield University we are lucky to be surrounded by beautiful countryside. To engage staff and students in nature, we host regular lunchtime and the occasional evening or early morning walk around or off campus. There is plenty to see as the campus is a hot spot for biodiversity with a variety of plant, fungi and animal species. We also promote the health benefits of walking, including for mental and physical health.
Depending on the season, we also host evening bat walks or walks to nearby villages. In September 2019, we opened our Woodland Trail walk with help from funding from Central Bedfordshire Council – this is a 20-minute long woodchipped path around our woodland, which features bug houses and information on the local wildlife you can spot. This provides staff and students with a peaceful retreat and break from their studies.
We encourage staff and students to submit photos to us and report wildlife on campus via our social media pages, or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Look out for future photography contests with prizes to be won.
We also have active bee hives on campus and organise visits to these, as well as honey harvesting events.
Energy costs are increasing and so are concerns about the climate. Cranfield University is addressing this through its academic work but also in the management of its estate. We have recently invested in expanding our solar farm and other energy infrastructure on campus, including an air source heat pump and improvements to our district heating.
We have also set an ambitious target to become Net Zero by 2030 – a target which can only be achieved with help from our staff and student base. Behaviour change can make a huge impact and is one of the most sustainable ways of saving energy over investment in energy efficiency and renewable/low-emission energy sources.
Fortunately, reducing energy costs is relatively straightforward: we just have to identify where it is being wasted and then take action to stop this. We are working across campus on a building-by-building basis to help address issues with high energy consumptions.
We have also enabled 'Energy Champions' amongst our staff and student base to help identify energy saving opportunities on campus and encourage behaviour change. We also offer incentives for carrying out actions and host contests between buildings or accommodation blocks.
To find out more information about carbon reductions at the University, please go to our carbon and energy management web page.
Fairtrade Fortnight and sustainable food
Every year, we celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight with a series of events, campaigns and promotions on campus. We are committed to following the Fairtrade principles of better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. In aid of this event, we promote a wide range of Fairtrade-related products and items, and host bake sales and related talks and exhibits.
Alongside Fairtrade promotions, we host ‘red meat’-free days and vegan promotions for ‘Veganuary’ and throughout the year. For more information about sustainable food, please go to our food and procurement web page.
Green Weeks have been occurring on an annual basis since 2010, and take place typically during November.
During this event, we showcase key environmental projects from the University, hold inspiration talks, host games, film nights, exhibits from environmental charities, tours of facilities on and off campus and carry out campaigns/promotions.
Examples of events include:
- Talks on our hydrogen project at the University;
- Sustainability Network events;
- Cycling repair and sales events;
- Off-campus tours of our anaerobic digestor or MRF (materials recovery facility);
- Film night screenings of related documentaries;
- Honey harvesting;
- Quizzes and raffles;
- Carbon saving workshops;
- Sustainability Garden tour;
- A talk on our research and Sustainable Development Goals;
- Hedgehog-friendly campus talks or exhibits;
- And more!
The agenda of Green Week changes each year depending on the circumstances and what current research projects are available. To keep up to date please look at our intranet or social media pages or contact email@example.com.
Conservation volunteering and gardening
We actively engage staff and students in hands-on conservation and gardening work on and off campus. Our Sustainability Garden (located behind the CSA) is used for growing wildflowers and edible crops and is managed by keen Gardening Club members. Activities include planting seeds, de-weeding, raking and watering of flower beds – we aim to continuously expand the garden to include more features.
We also partner with charities including the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire and the Forest of Marston Vale to support volunteering events such as scrub clearance and/or tree planting on an annual basis.
Cranfield University has also won several Wildlife Trust at Work awards – you can read more on our biodiversity and grounds web page.
Waste reduction and recycling awareness
The Green Team actively work to encourage staff and students to reduce their total waste and to recycle or reuse. Activities include sharing ideas on how to reduce food waste, upcycling demonstrations, hosting games and exhibits to raise awareness, as well as organising tours off campus to our material recycling facility or anaerobic digestor. We occasionally have second hand pop-up clothes shops on campus and sell second hand bicycles during our bicycle sales shops.
Facility tours and other activities
We host regular tours and talks about our ‘sustainable’ features on campus, particularly for new students. These include tours of our solar farm, biomass boiler, waste and recycling yard, and other features. Look out on the intranet for the next available tour.
As well as the events listed, the Green Team are free to organise their own activities. Examples of other activities organised include film nights followed by discussion sessions, litter picking events, charity fundraising and attending external events and tours.
End of year student move-out donation scheme
At the end of the academic year, students are given the opportunity to donate their unwanted items before they leave their accommodation. We are currently working with the British Heart Foundation and have set up several donation points on campus with some available throughout the year. We also encourage food donation which is handed over to a Bedford-based food bank. For more information, please go to our waste and recycling web page.