A poster made by a student hanging over the piazza. Photo: Sian Elvin

Warwick close to bottom in Green League

The University of Warwick had scored a ‘third’ and finished 113th out 143 universities in the People and Planet Green League 2013.

While the score of a third mirrors last year’s score, Warwick has dropped nine places from 104th in 2012.

Topping the league table was Manchester Metropolitan University, followed by the University of Plymouth and the University of Gloucestershire.

Commenting on Warwick’s position, Anna Chowcat, Warwick’s Students’ Union (SU) postgraduate officer said: “Warwick’s place in the Green League is extremely disappointing and environment should be a much higher priority for the University, especially when carbon reduction targets are not being met year on year.”

However Ms Chowcat was positive about the efforts being made to make the University more green, saying:

“On the other hand, the SU has done a lot of green initiatives this year – we have been awarded the NUS Green Excellence Gold award, created an Ethics & Environment part-time officer and have a student conducting an energy audit of the organisation as part of the Green Steps programme!”

For the league table universities are scored on their attitudes and actions towards green living following Freedom of Information requests submitted by People and Planet.

Those universities which did not provide sufficient information or provided it only in an incomplete form where given a ‘fail’ and ranked as ‘did not sit exam’.

Thomas Chamberlain, studying Games Software Development at Sheffield Hallam University, commented:

“I was very pleased to hear that Sheffield Hallam had placed 14th in the Green University League: it is important for the University to set a good example on these matters and shows that if they care about the environment then they are more likely to care about education as well.

“Being green is vital to protecting the planet and it is very important that we do as much as we can.”

He added: ”Also we beat the University of Sheffield, which is probably the most important thing of all.”

Warwick’s own neighbour, Coventry University, finished equal 43rd – 70 places above Warwick, with a low first-class score.

Claire Winstanley, a second-year Fine Art student from the University of Cumbria, commented on her University finishing 81st with a lower second-class score:

“It is a little disappointing,” she said. “Being green is more important than ever, so it would be nice to see the University push to do more.”

The University of Warwick wasn’t convinced that the findings accurately represented each university’s commitment to green living.

The Warwick communications officer, Peter Dunn, commented: “It’s interesting to note that we are in good company with Imperial, Cambridge and Oxford. Other than that we pay no attention to this table.”

Dominic Huntley, third-year MORSE student at Warwick, shared the University’s sentiments.

“As far as university league tables go, I would consider this one in particular to be of lesser importance,” he said.

“I think the research Warwick is doing into creating a greener future is more important than their current carbon footprint.”

Mr Dunn added: “Prospective students will make up their own minds. They may choose to come to thriving, leading universities like Warwick, Cambridge, Oxford and Imperial who are at the leading edge of solving global energy and other environmental problems, or they may choose to go to institutions who are not as successful in expanding their research and teaching and therefore might have a smaller carbon footprint – but who may employ lots more folk to fill drawers full of the right policy paperwork that this table likes to hand out points for.”

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