Skip to content

The Seaborne Library and Modern Languages Green Impact teams have won a National Union of Students (NUS) National Green Impact Award. They were announced as the winners of the Innovation for Engagement award for their Big Pawprint event at the NUS Student Sustainability Summit in Manchester. The Big Pawprint encouraged pet owners to consider how they can reduce their pets’ ‘carbon pawprints’. Over 200 people attended the event, which included information stalls, therapy dogs and volunteers from various charities.

The University was one of five award winners, chosen by a panel to celebrate the work of Green Impact teams at universities around the country. Yvonne Ankers, Subject Librarian and Team Leader for the Seaborne Library Green Impact team, and Berni Hunt, Administrator and Team Leader for the Modern Language Green Impact team, both helped to organise The Big Pawprint event.

Berni said: “We are honoured to receive this NUS award. The Big Pawprint was designed to help us all think about real and achievable ways to reduce our pets’ carbon pawprint, as well as looking at the health and wellbeing benefits of pet ownership and interaction. Visitors were encouraged to look at plastic free alternatives to toys, food packaging and waste disposal, vegetarian alternatives to treats and food, as well as discovering more about pet therapy, volunteering and mindfulness. We are so glad that the event was a success and hope it continues to inspire people through this award. If we all continue to make small changes we can collectively make a big difference!”

Tamara Hunt, Sustainability Officer at the University of Chester, added: “The Big Pawprint was such a unique idea and the event itself was such a success, attracting people that had not been involved in sustainability before - I’m sure the dogs played a big part in that! We have also had a lot of interest from other teams at other universities. The Seaborne Library and Modern Languages teams won the Innovation for Engagement award at our annual Green Tie Awards, in the summer and we decided we must put them forward to the national award. For them to win it is such a fantastic achievement for both Yvonne and Berni, their teams and the University.”

At the Awards ceremony, University of Chester staff, Lauren Holmes, LIS Resources Assistant, and Megan McCarthy, Assistant Subject Librarian, also presented the University’s libraries’ sustainability work. They presented a talk about ‘Greening the Libraries’, explaining how the libraries at the University engage with staff, students and the local community through a variety of initiatives, including The Big Pawprint; Caring Cups, where single-use coffee cups were used to collect spare change to be donated to Share Aid; The Big Stitch, which encouraged staff and students to use their sewing skills to fix and repurpose their clothing, and sustainable palm oil workshops.

Lauren and Megan are both part of the Seaborne Library and Riverside Library Green Impact teams. Lauren said: “The talk was very well attended and there were plenty of questions afterwards. People were especially interested in the coffee cup Christmas tree that we had in the Seaborne Library last year. They were also keen to know how we engage students and staff in sustainability initiatives without seeming forceful.  We were able to highlight our impressive footfall of over 700 people at library events over the last two years.”

Share this content