by Alexandra Molnar and Claudia Carter
About a year ago one of the BCU Masters in Environmental Sustainability students planted the idea of a BCU EcoHub, inspired by what he saw in Utrecht while completing his placement on the Pioneer into Practice Programme in the Netherlands. During his visit at the University of Utrecht, he came across the concept of the Green Office central HUB, where “fresh minds and hands come together to support Utrecht University’s sustainable development”. He brought this idea home, we developed a Student Academic Partnership (SAP) project idea, received funding, and started to work on this project from February 2017.
About the concept…
We looked around fellow universities around England but could not find many examples of similar initiatives. So we went back to our catalyst and considered the mission of the Green Office Utrecht. Their vision is to work collaboratively in the everyday reality by informing, involving and empowering. They offer support for organising events relating to sustainability. They help to promote and find funding for ideas. They offer activities such as Lunch Lectures, SusTasty, Sustainable Café, Talks and Tours.
The Green Office Utrecht is open to both staff and students to eat their packed lunch there and use the Green Office workspace. They have also an open kitchen facility, providing easy access for making a cup of tea or coffee, and feel more at home in there.
The Green Office (GO) was founded in Maastricht in 2010 and the GO Utrecht got established through the RootAbility movement, which is an organisation that helps GOs to come to life and thrive.
Developing a vision for the BCU EcoHub…
Inspired by what we saw and read about GO Utrecht, we pictured something similar, yet unique / fitting for BCU. Our initial idea was a dedicated space with accessible hot and cold-water tap, with “green” posters and a large table with comfy chairs, where you can spend some time with other environmentally-conscious students and staff, read, work, chill… However, our project faced a temporary barrier – a space issue within the university’s city campus – and so we had to turn the idea upside down and start thinking from scratch without having any fix hub for our little movement. So our primary thinking is now more about what we would like to do / organise rather than where the EcoHub should be and what it should look like as a physical space. Over the coming weeks and months, we will post more updates on what we have found out and done in the Eco-HUB Phase 1 SAP and how the BCU EcoHub visioning is progressing.