This September 2016, the Green Community will be welcoming students to its first accommodation complex under the slogan “mindful living”. The University of Birmingham has facilitated this sustainable living option that is affordable and unique, featuring solar panels on the roofs, bike racks, living walls and recycling points which lead to a zero waste approach. The Green Community thinks that “sustainability is about taking responsibility for the total impact of all of our activities” and therefore wants to promote and trial new methods of sustainable living by taking on board a group of like-minded students who share a passion for sustainability. The Green Community aims to raise environmental awareness, promote behavioural change and empower residents to be more community minded.
The complex offers rooms to 184 students and boasts its own social area. The latter has been designed with upcycled furniture, and can be used as a show room for projects of the same nature. The residence is a gated edifice with a courtyard, benches and greenery which spills out onto the front, where you will find a dedicated BBQ area, a mini orchard with apple trees and a bark pathway. Students will also benefit from grassy areas, which have been added to encourage interaction among residents, whereas bird boxes and bug hotels have been scattered around to encourage wildlife.
The Green Community also aims to prepare students for independent living by teaching skills that compliment aspects of sustainability. Project UP, who put together most of the furniture in the social area, will carry out workshops on chalk paint or carpentry. To further promote awareness and social interaction, there will be social activities; last year, students led events such as a recycled fashion show, Bottle Amnesty and Junkbusters with proceeds going to British Heart Foundation.
This is a unique and exciting opportunity for students to learn about their place in the world and how they can help improve it with simple actions and changes. Living on this planet is not a right, it is a privilege, and as such we have to pull our weight.