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Durham University

Colleges & wider student experience

Student news

Highly Commended in Green Gown Awards

(25 March 2021)

Durham University has been Highly Commended at the Green Gown Awards in the Student Engagement category, for our innovative Green Move Out campaign.

The Green Gown Awards are run by Sustainability Exchange and recognise exceptional sustainability initiatives in UK Universities and Colleges with the aim of showcasing innovation and best practice and sharing learning across the sector.

Durham’s Green Move Out campaign is one of the original and most successful student belongings re-use initiatives in the UK. Since the beginning of the project at Collingwood College in 2005, we have collected 198 tonnes of donations, giving items a new lease of life rather than going to landfill, saving 65.6 tonnes of CO2e and expanded the scheme across all colleges in the University. GMO is designed to reduce waste and support local charities, whilst leaving Durham tidy.

In 2020, due to staff at our charity partner either self-isolating or being furloughed, we needed to use student volunteers to deliver the scheme in Durham City. We collected 390 bags of donations weighing just over 3 tonnes in total, helping the Council and improving the appearance of Durham for all residents. Our collaboration with Durham County Council, who carry out daily waste collections during the moving out period, ensures students can move home with minimal impact on the local community.

Approximately 30 staff members supported the Green Move Out, including College Operations Staff, Environment Champions, Accommodation and Business Support and Marketing and Communications. Our 20 student volunteers who delivered bags across the City, were managed the Student Volunteering Team, with assistance from the Students’ Union. The Energy and Sustainability Team worked with Durham County Council’s Waste Team to organise daily waste collections. The wider student involvement saw over 1,600 students fill bags with donations.

Our partnership with County Durham Furniture Help Scheme (CDFHS) means that the wider society also benefits from the items donated by students moving out. In 2020, the majority of the 11.8 tonnes of donations were used to support the homeless, those coming out of hospital, and partner organisations of CDFHS.

Durham City residents also benefit from the reduced volume of waste to landfill, and reduced risk of fly-tipped waste, which could occur if the additional waste collections and charity donations did not take place.

The impact of the Green Move Out has been fantastic and we are delighted to have achieved the Highly Commended award in the Green Gown Awards in recognition of this work. Durham also recently achieved Platinum Eco Campus status and the Green Move Out project played a significant role in this success, demonstrating our commitment to improving our environmental sustainability throughout the University.

Read more about the Green Gown Awards

Read more about Durham’s Platinum Eco Campus status