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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)




We are committed to a better more sustainable world for all

We are committed to reducing the environmental impact of the department




We are a member of Green Impact Universities and Colleges, an accreditation and award scheme run by the NUS. 


We are delighted to share with you the news that the Alison Richard Building Green Team has successfully achieved a Silver Award for the University of Cambridge's 2020-21 Green Impact year.


Green Impact is the University's environmental accreditation scheme. It supports and encourages departments and colleges across the University in reducing their environmental impacts. ARB staff formed a team in 2020 and progressed through Green Impact criteria in an online workbook, meeting targets along the way and attending an online audit in May. As recipients of an award, members of the team will now attend this year's virtual Green Impact Awards Ceremony in July.


We hope you are as pleased as we are to hear that the ARB has been recognised as successfully encouraging best practices, reducing its environmental impact and prioritising sustainability progress, particularly in such a large building, and particularly in this challenging year.


Read about the Green Team during lockdown here>>



Some of our ongoing Green Team projects are:

  • Signs in Alison Richard Building reminding people to switch off lights, reduce water use and recycle wherever possible
  • Tap water provided for departmental meetings
  • Water coolers linked to the mains, not using bottled water
  • Double-sided printing used wherever possible
  • All visitors advised on public transport options
  • Staff encouraged to use environmentally friendly ways to get to work
  • Tele/Videoconferencing promoted for meetings
  • Read the Green Team newsletter>>


Find out more by getting in touch>>

Find out more about the University's Green Impact>>

Find out more about the University's sustainability work>>






Working from home: Houseplants


With more of us working from home we wanted to share our plants.

Houseplants have shown to have psychological benefits:

  • An improved mood

  • Reduced stress levels

  • Increased worker productivity (adding plants to office environments in particular)

  • Increased speed of reaction in a computer task

  • Improved attention span (in some scientific studies, but not all)*



Alice Jondorf 

Undergraduate and Administrative Assistant; Green Team EEC; Wellbeing Advocate and Mental Health Champion

Plant species: Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera

"My plant is a memento from an old lady I was friends with who died at the start of this year. I’m so happy that it is in flower, as I watered it faithfully for months before it suddenly produced a whole bunch of buds."







Livia Harriman

Communications Coordinator

Plant species: Lucky tree or Jade plant (Crassula ovata)

"My plant is a succulent I grew from a leaf of a friends plant and is as old as my four-year-old son Teddy. It's our lucky tree. (He insisted it have fairy lights)"







Dawn Bradley

Administrator, Centre for Development Studies; Green Team EEC

Plant species: Prunus 'Shirofugen' (Japanese Flowering Cherry)

"My plant is a cherry blossom tree we planted in the garden when we moved house when I was a child. Every Spring I still love sitting underneath it and looking up at the beautiful bunches of flowers against the sky."








Annabel Sherwood

PhD Administrator, Centre of Development Studies

Plant species: Common oak tree (Quercus Robur)

“Long daily walks take me past this oak tree, up on a hill with views towards woodland where I have seen spotted fallow deer and looking over fields where lanky grey hares chase each other. It is, in Hesse's words, a ‘beautiful strong tree.’”








Rebecca Leam

Communications Coordinator, Bennett Institute for Public Policy

Plant species: Daffodil, (Narcissus pseudonarcissus)

“Different flowers mean different things to me. The daffodil signifies 'hope' that longer, brighter, warmer days, are on their way."







Green Team Travel Tips

Ways to travel to the Alison Richard Building

Park and Ride

Cambridgeshire County Council runs a 'Park & Ride' service from Madingley Road, just off Junction 13 of the M11 to the West of Cambridge. Take the U bus and alight at the stop called 'West Road University Library', which is opposite the Alison Richard Building.

Find out more on the County Council’s Park and Ride>>

By Bus

The U bus runs between Addenbrooke's Hospital and Eddington, via the railway station, Trumpington Street, Silver Street and the West Cambridge site; and the Citi 4 runs between the bus station and the West Cambridge site. Buses run between about 7 am and 7.30 pm Monday to Friday, with buses between the West Cambridge site and the city centre 8 am to 7.40 pm Saturdays. There are four buses an hour at peak times, and three buses an hour off-peak. 

By Bike

For those wishing to cycle, there is a large covered bike shed alongside the Alison Richard Building, in addition to the numerous bike racks elsewhere on the Sidgwick Site.  

Did you know about the wonderful interactive online cycle map from CycleStreets?

Find a safer, quieter or quicker route for you to cycle today>>

We are also hoping to introduce a Pool Bike, available to borrow from reception, for quick trips around town. 

By Train

Trains run regularly to Cambridge from both London King’s Cross and London Liverpool Street. If you are coming from the North, it is advisable to change at Peterborough. The Universal Bus runs a direct route from the station to West Road.You will need the University Library stop, and the Alison Richard Building is on the opposite side of the road.