Celebrating Achievements: Dorton College Students’ Impact on International Day of Persons With Disabilities (IDPD) 2023

A group of six blind and partially sighted college students holding water bottles

This year, the International Day of Persons With Disabilities’ theme is “United in action to rescue and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for, with and by persons with disabilities”. On this occasion, the Royal Society for Blind Children would like to highlight the great achievements of Dorton College students throughout the academic year 2022-2023 on their eco-friendly project. Indeed, Dorton College students worked on ASDAN PSD (Personal and Social Development) qualification, made up of several units. One of these units is “Environmental Awareness”.

Students dived into environmental consciousness, sustainability, and community action

Throughout the academic year 2022-2023, Dorton College students explored the impact of human behaviours on the planet, different environmental groups, global and local issues, and even ULEZ. Their visit to Bromley Environmental Education Centre at High Elms (BEECHE) provided insights into sustainability prompting them to make individual environmental pledges. The students gained knowledge about recycling and learned how a specific coffee chain (Costa) engages with environmental consciousness, actively encouraging customers to bring their own recyclable coffee cups to their shops.

To complete the “Environmental Awareness” unit, students had to implement a college wide initiative that could help improve environmental awareness within the Dorton Community.

Investigating the introduction of branded recyclable water bottles to replace single-use plastics at Dorton College

They extensively researched various bottle options, giving careful thought to sustainability, capacity, design, and quality. Later, they ordered samples, rigorously testing durability and assessing ease of use, particularly for blind and partially sighted people. Additionally, the students conducted market research within their peer group to gather valuable insights.

After selecting a suitable product, the students collaborated with the RSBC marketing department to determine the suitable branding for the college. Once the branding was finalised, the students calculated the costs associated with the bottles and evaluated the potential financial savings for the college in preparation for the upcoming academic year.

What Lee, Dorton College student, said about the process of choosing the bottle design :

“I feel it was important to look at the accessibility of it: How easy is it to use? How flexible is it? Is it easy to carry around for people with other needs as well? So it was all thought about and it was very inclusive to all.”

A young person holding an orange water bottle and looking at it closely.

Pitching and producing the bottles

With all the information in place and a prototype ready, the students submitted a proposal to the college principal to gauge the feasibility of implementing their initiative.

The response was positive, leading to an order for Dorton College recyclable water bottles. At the beginning of the Academic year 2023-24, every student received one of these bottles. The students collectively agree that they have made a positive contribution to the environment.

Hayley, Accreditation Coordinator at RSBC Dorton College, said:

“I was really proud of how the students brought this initiative to fruition,  VI (Visiual Impairment) needs and sustainability two birds with one stone.”

More feedback from Lee:

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