Sustainability at the Union

2 December 2020

The Union aims to be the most sustainable Students’ Union in the UK and they can only do that with your help.

Carol Paige, Democracy, Operations and Community Officer, Students' Union UCL

There are so many different ways to get involvedin sustainability at the Student's Union, with opportunities for all commitment levels across a wide range of activities. You can:

Become a member of the Student Sustainability Council

This Sustainability Council gives you the opportunity to provide directional guidance on the Sustainability agenda across UCL and the Students’ Union. We will be looking for new members at the beginning of the academic year, but don’t worry we will let you know when applications open in the weekly Union newsletter you get sent every Thursday, so keep an eye out for these. 

Propose policies to shape your Union

Any student can propose policies and ideas for discussion for any one of our Policy Zones, so you can write your ideas for change and easily submit them online for debate at any point next year. Here are several of the ratified policies that we are currently working on: 

Plastic free union: Banning the purchase of single-use plastic in Union venues including bars and cafes

Waste-neural events: Reducing the amount of waste the Union produces at events e.g. no more wasteful glowsticks that only last a couple of hours and are never really remembered as the highlight of the ‘night’ 

Increase digital signage: A commitment to reducing printing and increasing digital signage wherever possible.

Check out our clubs and societies

With over 320 different clubs and societies, the Students’ Union pretty much has a student group for (almost) every interest you might have. From the Vegetarian and Vegan Society and the Climate Action Society, to the Green Economy Society and the Conservation Society, there are a variety of different student groups focused on sustainability - check out our clubs and societies directory for more information.

Browse volunteering opportunities and student-led projects

As well as all of the student societies mentioned above, the Students’ Union also supports students who set up their own volunteering projects: the #Zero Food Waste, an amazing initiative started by UCL students to re-distribute food that would have been thrown away in our cafes to local homeless shelters, the Green Walkers who organise regular litter-picking walks to clean up Bloomsbury and The Climate Collage, who educates students in local schools about the far-reaching impacts of climate change. 

Talk to the Sustainability Officer

Our Sustainability Officer works part-time alongside their studies, volunteering their time to champion sustainability within the Students’ Union and working closely with the Sustainable UCL team to make sure UCL is as sustainable as possible. They work with the Sabbatical Officers and are supported by a team of Sustainability Ambassadors. To get in touch, simply email su-ee.officer@ucl.ac.uk 

As you can see, there are so many different opportunities and ways to get involved! In the only world we have, looking after it and taking care of something that takes care of us is so important. We might not think that little old us can make a difference to such a big problem but there are about 40,000 students at UCL. If we all made a small change in our lives and were able to influence the friends and family around us then the ripple effect would be huge. Here’s some big and small ways from Sustainable UCL that we can make change.

Last revised: 7 September 2021.

Carol Paige, Democracy, Operations and Community Officer, Students' Union UCL