Students increasingly tell us they want to be equipped to make a positive difference to an ever-changing world. Our whole sustainability programme is guided by one simple response: that we need to change how we think and learn if we want to influence future generations.

Our Education for Sustainability projects

An understanding of sustainability brings out personal and professional capabilities that we see as critical to the future of a university education. This means designing the curriculum to develop in people a grasp of the ‘triple bottom line’, of how to innovate and drive change, and a global mindset focused on equity.

We’ve led big international projects and been invited experts in creating national guidance for other universities to help the whole higher education community to move in this direction. 6 of our 8 National Teaching Fellows and 12 of our 34 HE Academy Senior Fellows have sustainability expertise, which has helped to build our reputation as transformative learning experts for sustainability.

Our Learning Innovation for Tomorrow programme supports our academics, and encourages them to actively involve students, to innovate in the curriculum and their teaching methods.

We also offer professional development opportunities for our students and our staff to get involved in while living and learning at the University.

Curriculum examples

Reporting the triple bottom line

Accounting & Finance

Future Accountants need to be able to make business decisions with the planet and people in mind as well as profit.

As part of their Social and Environmental Accounting module, Students reviewed a variety of company sustainability reports (including our own annual sustainability report from the university). Their task was to look critically at how well businesses are performing against the triple bottom line of environment, society and economy and how we assess the true costs of doing business.

Sustainability in your course - Accounting

Festival Experiences for the Global Goals

Events Management

Student teams developed an interactive pop-up family event at Cheltenham Jazz Festival as an assessed part of their Event Design and Production module themed on the United Nations Global Sustainable Development Goals.

The project won ‘Student Event of the Year’ at the National Outdoor Events Association awards, was cited in a UN report and was given a recognition award in 2018 by the global RCE network.

Watch the film here

Read more here

Sustainability in your course - Events Management

The entrepreneurial difference locally

Graphic Design

As part of the national ‘Briefcases’ scheme, led by corporate sustainability movers and shakers at the Heaven Company, students helped high street businesses to consider ways they could improve visual and packaging communications to maximise their sustainability value and business potential in an age of online shopping.

Two students were celebrated at the national Solutions Awards in 2018 for their projects, winning bronze and silver.

Sustainability in your course - Graphic Design

The stories we live by

English Language & Linguistics

Underpinned by ecolinguistics principles, this module and online course accompanies the English curriculum experience, exploring how language, stories and visual images encourage people to protect or destroy the environment. This learning experience is offered online to people across the world to enrich the insights and share dialogue on how we can all reframe our ideas about sustainability and how we can support it.

Find out more here.

Sustainability in your course - English

Clear up the streets of St Pauls

Criminology

Students tested systems thinking in action as they researched the application of criminological theory in practice, in this community learning project working with local residents to collaborate on real change that makes people feel safer, happier and more connected within their local environments.

They worked with local communities to monitor and prevent crime by taking positive action through litter pick events and flower potting with local partners.

Sustainability in your course - Criminology

New Designers Awards

Product Design

Students in the Product Design course are fully focused on designing for a circular economy where resources are kept in use for as a long as possible and products are not designed to be obsolete quickly and contribute to the growing problems of global waste. They are also considering how their designs can contribute to a healthier and more equal society focused on wellbeing.

In 2018 two students won awards for their work at the national New Designers awards:

Luke Lutman – created a 3D printer filament extruder that turns waste produced by 3D printers and household packaging into new 3D printer filament

Tom Jaggs – created the ‘Hydro Hub’, a mains-fed water cooler design that avoids the need for plastic water containers and supports the wellbeing of workers.

Sustainability in your course - Product Design

Changing communities, changing perceptions

Photojournalism & Documentary Photography

Students worked with staff and the local community to engage in an exploratory, reflective journey of understanding the movement of people and its impacts on society, through the lens of photography.

Students also worked with the Course Lead to develop new approaches to their project brief and inform the assessment criteria through ‘co-creation’ processes.

The projects outputs were shared through local exhibitions and an online platform and picture gallery. Watch the film.

Sustainability in your course - Photojournalism

Radical Sustainability

In 2019 we partnered with Interface, corporate sustainability leaders on the global stage, on the Radical Sustainability masterclass.

Students from 8 courses exhibited coursework and projects against the Radical Sustainability competition brief and competed for professional prizes, with the winner joining Interface at Clerkenwell Design Week.

Finalists included:

  • Fashion Design – upcycling military clothing to reduce waste and synthetic fibres going to landfill
  • Geography – proposing natural flood management solutions working with local agencies
  • Interior Design – re-thinking design for sustainability in the reuse of recreational vehicles
  • Landscape Architecture – using forgotten and unused urban spaces to build communities
  • Business Management – methods of reducing water consumption and costs for businesses

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