Cambridge University Environmental Consulting Society (CUECS) is a long standing society set up by students at Cambridge University with a passion for environmental sustainability. The fundamental aim of CUECS is to make both the University and the city of Cambridge more environmentally responsible and energy efficient, by considering the sustainability of buildings, food services and large scale events, such as the infamous May Balls.
Summary of projects:
Changing Sites is a brand-new project still in its development stages. Our ultimate aim is to reduce the environmental impact of construction and renovation works within the University of Cambridge.
As a student organisation we have limited influence. Our first goal, therefore, is to establish a dialogue between students and the University as well as increasing the transparency of institutional procedures. By gathering and assembling all the dispersed and technical information about estate development in Cambridge we hope to then communicate it clearly and concisely to the student body. It is in this first stage that we are looking to train our members in environmental assessment procedures and methods.
From here, the project will seek to provide advice and alternatives to current construction and development practices. This consulting service would include suggestions such as, but not limited to, changing service provider sourcing to a more flexible model encouraging innovation in sustainability, sourcing materials in shorter circuits, or enforcing stricter environmental standards rather than advisory targets. This second stage would also benefit from our earlier work. Students would be better informed, and their opinion taken into consideration to pre-empt potential tensions and problems which would otherwise arise later down the line of development projects.
The Sustain-a-Ball Project aims to centre sustainability as a core principle of May Balls in Cambridge by advising organising committees on how they can take direct action to minimise the environmental impact of their events. We offer an accreditation scheme to all events that provides a framework within which committee members can plan more sustainably and encourage events to commit to our ‘Sustainability Pledge’. This year, we launched ‘The ’25 Drive’, a five-year plan that situates annual planning within a longer-term context to help events become more ambitious in their efforts to improve sustainable practice.
The Food Sustainability project has three main segments, which are varyingly contingent on the severity of the COVID-19 situation. Firstly, for the “progress-tracking” segment, we aim to conduct a university-wide survey to assess and grade each college’s current food sustainability efforts against specified metrics, as well as to take stock of the existing food sustainability initiatives within Cambridge. Secondly, “content creation” involves creating resources that can raise awareness of food sustainability issues and practical steps that students can take, as well as insights from leading experts in this field. Lastly, the “external partnership” segment focuses on collaboration with Cambridge Sustainable Food on their projects, which will allow CUECS to become more involved with the local community in Cambridge.
In addition to actively participating in environmental consulting projects, we strive to equip our members with valuable consulting experience for job applications, a strong ethical outlook, and intellectual fulfillment from our societal activities. We also host both consulting and environmental careers events for our members to attend.
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