On the 3rd June 2015, 23 student volunteers from across a range of subjects at Queen Mary became environmental auditors. The volunteers were trained by QMUL Sustainability to verify the work of 27 Green Impact teams across the university.
Why did I decide to take part?
I decided to get involved with Green Impact as I have a great interest in the natural environment and being outdoors, which comes from being a geography student and being raised in Cornwall. I am also aware of the increasing impact we are having on the shape of the planet and the pressure this has put on natural resources. Environmental Auditioning was something I hadn’t come across before at university, until a careers events when I had the opportunity to speak to the team of an auditing company and thought this might be something that interests me. Therefore, when I saw the advert for Green Auditing at QMUL, I thought it was an opportunity to gain a greater insight into what is environmental auditing but also see the work across QMUL of various impact teams and the beneficial impact this is having on sustainability at the university.
How did the day go?
On the actual day of the training, we started early and were given a brief talk into why we conduct environmental audits and how they are beneficial. This gave us to an insight into sustainability at QMUL. We were then divided into our groups and started to look at the audit forms and discuss the kind of questions we should be asking when going around to talk to each Green Impact team. After a light lunch, we then went from the training to actually conduct our own Environmental audits and each team of auditors was responsible for visiting three Green Impact teams. We visited the School of Computer Science and Electronics and the Student Union. The purpose of these visits was to check their submitted impact forms against physical evidence. Each meeting often started off discussing issues around a table and then getting an informal tour around the department/building to see some of these measures and changes that have been implemented.
The skills gained from this opportunity
I have been able to develop various skills the most important being communication as this was key to engaging with the Green Impact teams and getting the most out of the meetings. Organisation was important as well, as we discovered you need to be very organised from the beginning to make sure you knew what you were looking for since many of these teams had spent a lot of time applying for their Green Impact certificate. Finally, this opportunity taught us about professionalism while working, as in this case we were meeting with established members of staff and beyond it being awkward at times, we needed to act professionally to get the job done whilst we were representing Green Impact for the Sustainability team.