Positive Impact by students, in partnership with the NUS

For the last six years, we have been running Positive Impact, a change and engagement programme in partnership with the National Union of Students, aiming to help students adopt lasting sustainable living habits.

Each of our properties meets the minimum requirement for a bronze Positive Impact award under the scheme, by recycling correctly, carrying out health and safety drills and understanding how to signpost to relevant support services. Many of our properties hold silver and gold awards by undertaking sustainability projects which benefit both students and local communities. For example, working with the University of Birmingham and the Canal and River Trust in Selly Oak, as part of the wider community project our volunteers helped to clean a canal and tow path removing shopping trolleys, bicycles, golf trolleys and more, to create a safer and more pleasant environment. The volunteering, combined with a separate charitable donation from Unite Students, invested the value of £21,0000 into improving the local area and helping the community.

Throughout the academic year 2019/20, we saw the highest levels of engagement ever by students with our Positive Impact programme, a significant achievement given activity coincided with Covid-19 disruption. Some activities involving our student communities were put on hold but many focused on providing support. For example, with the NUS, we developed a student workbook, Unite Students Isolation Bingo, to help students through lockdown. The workbook had ideas, resources, and signposts to relevant support services relating to learning, wellbeing, energy, community and food.