International recognition for student engagement with sustainability

The University of Bristol has won the prestigious International Green Gown Award.

The awards recognise exceptional sustainability initiatives undertaken by UK universities.

The Green Capital: Student Capital project is a unique collaboration between the University of Bristol, the University of the West of England, and their students' unions. With funding of £248,000 from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the project saw a wide range of student-community activities flourish, with universities providing a multitude of opportunities to work with local groups and businesses.

Having won an Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) national Green Gown award in 2016, the project has now beaten off stiff competition from universities around the world to become the International Green Gown prize-winner for Student Engagement.

In total, students gave over 140,000 hours of their time back to Bristol. Their activities included helping local NGOs write business plans, volunteering in wildlife conservation groups, delivering lessons on sustainability in primary schools and many others. Over 600 students achieved a Change Maker award, helping over 200 local organisations within the city. 

EAUC judges said: "This is a dynamic city-wide project that has it all; with high levels of student engagement, curricular and extra-curricular activity… It clearly demonstrates a sustainable model for student engagement and is a very worthy winner. Partnership is the new leadership.”

Chris Willmore, Professor of Sustainability and Law, and project co-ordinator, said: "This is a wonderful achievement. This project demonstrates the value of higher education and the student community as a real force for sustainability action. We would like to thank everyone in the city who brought their ideas, energy and resources to this initiative – this is your award too."

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