Here at the University of Salford, teaching and learning isn’t all about lectures and seminars. Depending on your course, you’ll benefit from field trips, placements, visits, guest speakers and many other activities to enrich your course. Plus you’ll be encouraged to get involved and make a difference, just like Diana.
Diana Baker, 25, is studying a BSc in Environmental Management. In 2014, she reached the finals of the prestigious Green Gown awards, in recognition of the work she does to raise awareness of environmental sustainability in deprived communities. Her project, Be Keen Go Green, has made such an impact it’s been picked up by Manchester City Council, which has made it part of its agenda to change views on environmental matters.
Having come through the care system and grown up in a deprived area, Diana decided to take on a campaigning role rather than simply looking after her own environmental impact as she thought she would be a positive role model for others.
“I studied public health from the last century when I was at college, and it struck me how poorly people treated the environment in those days. People were getting ill but they didn’t realise the way they were living was having an impact on their health. They weren’t putting it all together.
“Although the situation isn’t as bad as that now, I recognised certain things from my own community. When people are deprived, they’re focused on not being hungry and just thinking about surviving, they’re not worried about their carbon footprint.
“I decided to run environmental awareness sessions when I was in the first year of my degree. I was volunteering as a Green Impact project worker, which involved helping staff to understand the impact of and reduce their carbon footprint. At the same time, I was made aware of an enterprise grant of £250 from the university, so I decided to set up my own project to take into these communities. That’s how Be Keen Go Green started.
“I’d like to use freshers’ week to recruit volunteers to do their own projects and spread the word. I want to do a project specifically aimed at students, I think it’s really important for them to be aware of all this as soon as they leave home and remember to turn off lights and laptops and not leave the TV on standby.
“The university has been really supportive. They gave me a mentor, who has given me some amazing advice and has really guided me with my career progression. I was also given two sessions with a business adviser; that was really helpful because I do want to expand what I’m doing and turn it into a viable business.
“You can link sustainability with a lot of things to make it real for people. One of the things I do is take people to the Biospheric Foundation in Salford. That’s an amazing place; they have a forest garden full of vegetables and medicinal plants, walls of fruit and vegetables and a roof garden with chickens and honey bees. It was started by a PhD student with £50, and now it’s a huge community project and business, which proves what you can achieve if you get people involved.
“That’s why I do this. I feel like I can make a bigger impact than just doing my own thing. It took a collection of people to cause the problems so we need a collection of people to change things.”
Find out more at www.bekeengogreen.co.uk.