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    Small card: big difference! How a redesigned lanyard card is boosting sustainability at Harper Adams

    13 March 2024

    A new way of sharing information with prospective students at Harper Adams University is set to make a big difference for the planet, save hundreds of trees – and is already proving a hit at events.

    Instead of printing off hundreds of pages of prospectus for each student, for 2024, the University has introduced a series of lanyard cards.

    These cards detail campus life, student support – and each of the University’s specialist courses. They have been driven forward by the Harper Adams Global Impact team, who estimate they could save more than 700 trees in the coming decade.

    Campaigns Specialist Tasha Bodger said: “Prospectuses across the sector can be anywhere between 90 and 200 pages long, with a lot of information that students aren’t interested in or could easily be found on the website.

    “In 2023, our University mini-guide resulted in the use of approximately 15 felled trees. In 2022, this number was closer to 50.

    “Although these quantities might not seem vast, we are already embracing sustainable practices and have taken steps to minimise the impact of our prospectus on the environment.  Over the next five years, the decision to not print a huge prospectus will save six million pages from landfill - and approximately 720 trees in the process.

    “Small changes can lead to significant outcomes, and we hope to inspire not only our students and applicants but also other sector-leading universities.”

    Graphic Designer Joe Williams – who shaped the look of the cards – tailored one for each of the subject areas in the University’s Undergraduate portfolio, meaning prospective students only need to choose the card or cards relevant to the courses they wish to study.

    These then link back to the University website through the use of QR codes –sending students straight to the page they need.

    Joe said: “Sustainability lies at the core of this decision, although it also yields various other advantages, both for our university and our audience.

    “By using QR codes, each scan directs users to a specific page on our website, guaranteeing access to the most current information at all times. In contrast, the information in a printed prospectus remains static from the moment of printing.

    “The cards also last so much longer due to the QR process, so there’s much less need for reprinting.

    “And even if a student is interested in more than one particular course area, they will only pick up an additional one or two cards to add to their lanyard.

    “Assuming in most cases they pick up one extra card – that’s roughly a 98.5% reduction in printing.”

    The cards were launched at this month’s Manchester UCAS fair and then at the first Harper Adams Open Day of the year, and were well received at both.

    Joe added: “After attending UCAS Discovery in Manchester, where we unveiled the Lanyards, I was pleased to see that we’re one of the first Universities making a change like this.

    “Several universities were also developing sustainable approaches to prospectuses, but being a specialist university gave us the advantage of producing cards that encompassed our entire range of course areas, unlike others with a larger number of courses.

    “This proved to be a significant advantage for prospective students visiting our stand, as they could readily select a card tailored to their academic interests, sparking conversations about our courses and campus life at Harper.

    And Tasha added: “We’re hoping this move becomes more of what students are looking for. Students typically aren’t marketed to print first.

    “They don’t usually circle ads in newspapers, shop via catalogues or subscribe to postal advertising, so why is a university’s sacred marketing tool a huge printed book?

    “This approach also allows us to be more personalised, students can choose which lanyard cards are relevant to them and create their own personalised ‘prospectus.’

    “We hope this gives our enquirers the ‘name, not number’ experience they feel once they get onto campus. “

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