Small changes make a big difference: Defence Academy undergraduates support Army sustainability

Small changes make a big difference: Defence Academy undergraduates support Army sustainability

Officer Cadets (OCdts) from the Defence Training Undergraduate School (DTUS) at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom are helping to reduce soldiers’ environmental impact by working with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME).

Four A group of four OCdts from DTUS TROJAN Squadron were hosted by the 2 Close Support Battalion (2 CS Bn) REME based in Leuchers to support Project GREEN RHINO, which aims to reduce the environmental impact of 1 (UK) Division Army. Through a sustainability study of battalion activity and infrastructure, the OCdts investigated trends and offered well-researched, proactive solutions to becoming more sustainable.

Lieutenant Colonel Jen Lockett RLC, Commanding Officer of Trojan Squadron, DTUS, Defence College for Military Capability Integration (DCMCI), said:

“This is a great example of DCMCI engaging with the Field Force to implement change and impact real world problems, with our DTUS OCdts using knowledge gained on their degree courses to add value across Defence.”

Through a series of questionnaires, surveys, observations and assessments on environmental impacts, the DTUS OCdts analysed data to recommend low-level, realistic improvements; including replacement LED lighting, a bike loan scheme, encouraging use of electric vehicles and incentives for recycling plastic on site.

The team also organised a beach clean-up with Battalion volunteers, removing a sizable amount of waste from the coastline to protect and enhance the local natural environment.

The study provided a valuable insight to achievable, meaningful changes to behaviours that 2 CS Bn REME could adopt to protect the environment, both collectively and as individuals. The efforts of the DTUS team were greatly appreciated by the battalion and the local community.

In fact, the brigade project lead was so impressed by the quality of the work that they have already been in touch with DCMCI to see if future OCdts could complete similar studies at other units. All students were enthused by the project, with one now aiming to conduct a similar study for their degree dissertation.