All students | USW Update | Friday 16 October

Keeping people safe, keeping learning going 

Journey to decarbonisation | Simon Chiffi, Director of Estates and Facilities 

We’ve been working hard to improve our environmental and sustainability commitment at USW over the last year and we have made good progress. We are now working towards reducing all of our carbon emissions, and are looking more widely at our impact on local communities and the environment.

To help us on our way to achieving net zero for carbon, we have introduced electric vehicle charging stations at Cardiff, Treforest and the Sport Park. We have also added more green spaces into Treforest where some of our buildings have been removed. Grass areas, plants, cherry laurel and field maples have improved the biodiversity on this campus and we are looking at what we can do on our other campuses as well.

We have also been working to reduce what we send to landfill. We’ve done this by changing the bins on our campuses so that we can separate out recycling and waste. Food waste recycling will also be introduced into our halls of residence shortly.

In some of our buildings, we have changed the lights to LEDs, which has helped to reduce our carbon emissions and are more efficient. We have also added more solar panels to our buildings in Treforest, helping to create green electricity. They are now on our Sports Centre, Students’ Union, Sports Park and one of our halls of residence.

There have also been changes in our catering facilities, where we have switched to using wooden cutlery, rather than plastic, and biodegradable boxes. Starbucks introduced paper straws and glasses were introduced at water stations. We also moved to a local sandwich supplier, saving 47,000 road miles a year.

Not all of our changes have been so visible. We have also altered how the University’s money is invested. We have transferred a portion of the University’s funds into an environmentally aware investment product and plan to transfer the remaining funds when they mature. This means that the money can’t be invested in any products that derive some of their income from the supply of things like fossil fuels.

These are good first steps, but we’ve still got much to do over the coming years to achieve decarbonisation. A staff and student Environmental Champions Group has been established to help share and develop ideas to improve and promote sustainability. This is a new and exciting area of work where each of us will be able to individually make a difference to the impact we have while at the University and the wider impact we cause on the planet.   

For more information, please visit our sustainability pages where you can learn about all of the initiatives we have put in place, find the latest sustainability updates and volunteer as a Sustainability Champion.

Addendum to Student Code of Conduct for Covid-19
An addendum to the Student Code of Conduct has been published covering conduct related to Covid-19. You can find a copy on the Academic Registry website. The document should be read in conjunction with the existing Student Code of Conduct and sets out the expectations of students to take personal responsibility for complying with both Government and University guidelines to protect their own health and safety as well as that of others.

Feedback on your modules
We value your feedback in helping us to make informed decisions, as we consider students to be our partners. Please provide feedback on your modules by completing four quick questions in Blackboard so that we can continue to enhance and improve your learning experience here at the University. Find out more on UniLife.

Enhancing Student Wellbeing through Social Prescribing
Enhancing student wellbeing through social prescribing’ is a HEFCW funded project, which is being run in partnership with Wrexham Glyndwr University and lead by Prof Carolyn Wallace. We have received funding to create a model of support which enhances student wellbeing at the university. Alongside the project, we will be carrying out an evaluation exercise to get a better understanding of students’ wellbeing needs and need volunteers to take part take part.  Find out more about the project and how to sign up on UniLife.

Wellbeing and Disability Service Webinar
The Wellbeing and Disability Service are running weekly webinars, Wednesday 4-5pm via Microsoft Teams.  The session on 21 Oct focuses on the Disability Service and participants will have an opportunity to learn more about the service and ask questions about support available to disabled students at USW. Details on how to join the event are on the Disability Service website:

USW Careers - Experience Works 
From 19-23 October, USW Careers are holding their flagship volunteering fair, Experience Works, and this year it's going virtual. Find out how volunteering can help you gain valuable and practical work experience on the USW Careers website.

Please note, off-campus students who are studying with a partner college should check guidance and communication from their college, about local attendance, assessment and teaching arrangements.