12th December 2019

Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) students recently had the chance to devise solutions to the global issue of food waste as part of the ‘Make Your Mark’ challenge. Sponsored and hosted by the Centre for Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT), and supported by BG Futures, the ‘Make Your Mark’ challenge asked the students to think of improvements that could be made at BGU to help limit food waste. While the University’s BG Lincoln Ltd. team have made great strides in this area, they still face the difficulty of balancing these efforts with customer demand for a varied menu as John Hodson, Operations Manager at BG Lincoln Ltd., explains: “Over the past 3 years we have reduced our in-house waste by 28%, resulting in savings of around £14,000 in total. To achieve this, we have focused on an efficient menu, cooking within managed periods of time to meet projected demand, however, we are aware that students desire an expansion to the menu choice.” With this in mind students were asked to think about how about the menu choice could be expanded upon in catering outlets at BGU whilst improving waste control further. They were also asked to reflect on the sustainability of any of these initiatives and whether they could be developed/run as a social enterprise venture. The group of students who took part generated a raft of ideas from different portion sizes and a “lite bites” menu, to generating compost and introducing of ‘doggy bags’ to helping the disadvantaged through food bank donations. Amongst all these fantastic concepts, the winning solution suggested the development of an online app which releases a pre-bookable, weekly food plan. Devised by student Kim Lucia Spielmanns, who won £150 for her idea, the app would allow a higher percentage of food to be pre-booked by staff and students. Speaking at the event she explained her motivation: “Even though our in-house sustainability has greatly improved, I wanted to focus on a solution which could reduce our carbon footprint and better manage the volume control institutionally. My app idea means that more meal tickets can be pre-bought which can better inform buying decisions.” Two runner-up students also won a £20 Amazon voucher for their overall contributions. All the suggestions put forth by the students have been disseminated to the relevant BGU staff and will be built upon further in the New Year. John Hodson is keen to work with students further to ensure their voice is central to the menu offer and their ideas are incorporated into future plans and will be setting up dedicated focus groups in the New Year. Linette Wallace, CELT co-ordinator, led the event and has plans to expand its impact beyond BGU: “I am pleased that this event was so well received by our students and I believe there is a growing need for a pool of social entrepreneurial talent. Next academic year, we hope to be able to run this type of challenge with a group of local secondary schools and will be sending out invitations in the New Year.” For further information on the activities being carried out by the CELT team email CELT@bishopg.ac.uk If you'd like your school to be involved in future Make Your Mark challenges, fill out the below form and a member of our Outreach Team will be in touch with more information.