Sustainable UCL


Bentham Conquers Ben Nevis by Katie Raymond & Alex Page

OVPA completed an active travel challenge to help Jeremy Bentham climb the highest peak in the UK!

Mount Everest

30 July 2019

The Sustainable Team in the Office of the Vice-Provost Advancement (OVPA) decided it was time for some mountain climbing – but it being winter at the time, thought it best to keep it within the office. Located on the fourth floor of Bidborough House, the OVPA office is reached either by lift (burning energy L) or by climbing four flights of stairs (burning calories J).

Using a handy Stair-climb challenge resource, the team calculated that steps from the ground to fourth floor, 129 times over, would equate to that of climbing Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the UK.

> download Stair-climb challenge pdf

So, Ben Nevis was relocated to the fourth floor of Bidborough house in the form of a large painting of the mountain, crafted by a member of the team, with 129 points leading to the peak. Jeremy Bentham (in badge form) was fixed to the first step ready to go. All colleagues were encouraged via the all-staff email to work off the Christmas excesses by taking the stairs and moving Jeremy along his way.

Image of Bentham climbing Ben Nevis

These health benefits of taking the stairs helped to encourage climbers along their way: https://www.stepjockey.com/health-benefits-of-stair-climbing

Within a fortnight Jeremy was looking down from the heights of the summit! The challenge was taken up by plenty of people and there were cheers around the office. Feedback was very positive, with many colleagues opting to continue to take the stairs when possible.

Following the success of the initiative, OVPA has decided to take on the challenge of climbing a successively higher mountain (in the office) each January.

Why not encourage your team to take on a step-climbing challenge – it’s very simple! All you need is:

  • A website to work out the step equivalent of mountains (such as the link above);
  • An office mailing list to promote to the rest of your team;
  • A chart/poster/homemade mountain to track progress on;
  • Someone to keep an eye on this so a congratulatory email can be sent around when the peak is reached.