We believe that everyone has the ability to transform our world, both from the BU campus and far beyond. We seek to support our students and staff to become leaders of change by providing opportunities to develop the skills, knowledge and behaviours to feel empowered and able to contribute to a sustainable world.
There are a number of opportunities for you to get involved with BU’s sustainability vision while you study or work here which you can find below. The list doesn't stop there as we are always excited to hear your thoughts and suggestions and to collaborate on any ideas you have.
Students at BU have on numerous occasions raised issues to the University and created change.
One particularly great successful story is the student campaigning that led to BU divesting entirely from fossil fuels. Action by a group of BU students as part of a national People & Planet campaign resulted in the University reviewing our Ethical Investment Policy and choosing to fully divest from all fossil fuels.
During another national campaign, students shared and supported a national petition against Barclays support of the fracking company Third Energy. The campaign gathered wide support within BU and nationwide and led to Barclays withdrawing their financing of the fracking company.
If you're wanting to campaign, follow these tips:
Do your research first: don't spend your time campaigning for something we already do! Find out exactly what the current situation is before you look to change it. If you have any questions, the Sustainability Team, SUBU and all other staff members will be happy to help you find out.
Join national movement: People & Planet and NUS are two examples of the organisations that exist to create campaigns for you to join in on, and that provide the resources for you to improve your skills and contact within and beyond BU.
Be represented at SUBU: if you're looking at a campaign, see if SUBU know of other students interested, and collaborate with them to make your action more fun and more impactful!
Look after your wellbeing: campaigning for change requires a lot of passion and energy. You may face setbacks so make sure to prioritise your wellbeing, celebrate the small wins and remember you're not alone!
Improve BU through your coursework
Do you have a great idea for how you can improve BU through your assignment? Do you want to use the university as a test-bed for research? Whether you want to design a piece of equipment, analyse our data to test a new idea, support the management of an event or even create a new catering menu, Living Labs is an opportunity for you to apply your assignment to improving our university.
Previous Living Labs projects have included a Masters assignment assessing the feasibility of us adopting an electric bus fleet, which was used by the BCP Council. Another student designed and delivered a vegan range of products for our caterers which has been rolled out across the country. What is your idea?
Talk to your course leader or the Sustainability Team to get started.
Join societies and clubs
Student-led societies are a great way to explore your interests, develop your skills and find a fantastic new community to become part of. There are many sustainability-focused societies within SUBU, addressing all areas of the UN Global Goals.
Are you feeling green fingered? Consider Campus Collective - the society has its own allotment to grow, which it meets to tend to each week. Are you wanting some tasty recipes? The Reducetarian Society always has some on hand! If neither is your cup of tea, know that every club and society plays its part in being sustainable. If you feel yours isn't doing enough, start the action!
The Spot the Drop campaign aims to minimise our water wastage by spotting and stopping leaking toilets, urinals and taps across our two campuses. If you find a leak around our sites, email us about what is leaking and where it is in as much detail as possible and the Sustainability Team will arrange for it to be fixed. You may even win a stainless steel water bottle in return!
Volunteer with us and support BU projects
Though the Sustainability Team has no formal volunteer roles, we are open to any keen students collaborating with our action, or even leading a new project! Currently we're working to become a Hedgehog Friendly Campus - if you want to support our spiky friends, get in touch and gain experience with us developing this campaign and our communications.
This isn't the only project to get involved with however, and if you have a particular passion and want to develop your skills, network and gain some CV experience, then get in touch with us and we can create a role for you.
We also have space for student representatives on a range of our groups, including the Fairtrade Steering Group, Hedgehog Action Group, Catering User Group and more! If you want to share the student voice and understand the decisions of the university, contact us to apply.
For staff: Join Green Rewards
Green Rewards is the best way to get involved at BU. With over half of our staff signed up, Green Rewards is a platform to support and reward your physical health, mental wellbeing and environmental behaviours as part of the BU community.
Last year, the positive actions of our staff members though Green Rewards collectively saved 400 tonnes of CO2 emissions as they completed 10,000 hours of exercise, avoided 515kg of disposable coffee cups and even travelled 130,000 sustainably miles – wow! In addition to this amazing impact, by joining in, our staff can win monthly prizes from Fairtrade hampers to book vouchers, and take part in team activities to top our department leaderboard and win £1000 to donate to a charity of their choice at our annual celebration event.
It’s no surprise that Green Rewards was shortlisted for an Edie Sustainability Leaders Award. Join Green Rewards here or contact the Sustainability Team for more information.
What is Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)?
Here at BU, we define sustainable development according to the UN Global Goals, which work to create a better world by ending poverty, fighting inequality and addressing the urgency of climate change. Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is education that provides the knowledge, skills, behaviours and values needed to create a more equal, healthy and environmentally-friendly future. It empowers students to act and lead change to creating this future, and we seek to embed it within all our programmes and disciplines.
The key roles of ESD are to:
• Play a transformative role in society by increasing awareness of global issues and developing personal capacity for change
• Foster the values, beliefs and behaviours that are important to a sustainable future in order to develop active, global citizens
• Enable us to understand how our lives are linked with others throughout the world
• Enable us to make decisions that consider the long-term future of all communities, protecting the natural environment while ensuring social justice and economic success.
How do we lead on ESD at BU?
After holding workshops with all programme leads to discuss the UN Global Goals within courses during summer 2019, we have set up the Sustainability Academic Network. With representatives from every academic department in BU, this group, which reports directly to the Sustainability Committee, leads on embedding sustainable development in all programmes across BU.
In 2019, we also launched the ESD Community of Practice, which is a space for academics to share best practice on introducing and embedding ESD into their teaching. Our fifth Annual Excellence in Education for Sustainable Development Award recognised and rewarded some of this best practice.
How we embed ESD at BU?
At BU we continue to explore new ways to inspire our staff and students to understand sustainable development and its essential role in creating a just and fair society. This work is led by the Centre for Fusion Learning Innovation & Excellence (FLIE) and Sustainability Academic Network. Our work includes:
Recognising and showcasing inspiring ESD practice by our academics through our annual Excellence in ESD Award
Facilitating the ESD Community of Practice, an informal network for staff to share and collaborate on ESD practice
Completing university-wide mapping of the UN Global Goals within all programmes across our Faculties
Delivering a sustainability module as part of the PGCert programme, which is delivered to all staff training to become a lecturer
Actively promoting the NUS SDG Teach-In
Offering lectures from the Sustainability Team for a range of BU courses, from engineering to project management, and a sustainability workshop to student reps
If you are a student, speak to your course leader about how the UN Global Goals are embedded in your course and how to include this in your assignments. You can also collaborate with BU through your assignments if you have an idea on how we could become more sustainable. Speak to your course leader, or email the Sustainability Team to find out more.
If you are a staff member, join the ESD Community of Practice. The network of over 60 staff from across Faculties is welcome to all. In addition, make contact with your Sustainability Academic Network department representative. Get in touch with the Sustainability Team to discuss student assignment opportunities on our campus, to find out who your representative is or to join the ESD Community of Practice.
of programme leads identify their course as aligning to the UN Global Goals. Our target is 100% by 2025.