At BU, we believe that everyone has the ability to transform our world. It is core to our sustainability work at BU that we engage with, include and support all our staff and students so we can take action together as a community, in both our professional and personal lives, to help tackle the climate and ecological crisis creatively and collaboratively.
There are a number of opportunities for you to get involved with BU’s sustainability vision while you study or work here. If you're interested in any of these opportunities, you can email our team at [email protected] and find out the latest news by looking at our Sustainability Team's Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages.
For our students
Eco Entrepreneurs Fund
Achieving a net zero emissions future is only achievable through a multi-layered approach of innovation, education and communication. To drive innovation, BU have partnered with Santander to support the next generation of eco-entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to reality or grow their businesses.
- Do you have a business or an idea with an environmental benefit? This could be anything from a product that can help reduce emissions or a business that helps people connect to nature.
- Are you passionate enough to make it a reality or grow it to the next level?
- Are you a BU current student or within 3 years of your graduation from BU?
- Is your idea well thought through, viable and have the potential to make a difference to an environment or climate problem?
If so, you are invited to apply for the Eco Entrepreneur Fund and win up to £5000 towards your business or idea.
Shortlisted entrants will get the opportunity to present their business or idea to judges who have experience of developing ideas which will help address environmental problems. Several of our judges and mentors are part of the Nature Health Network which brings together a wide range of organisations to foster innovation in nature-based learning and health solutions. The Bournemouth University Social Entrepreneurs Forum (BUSEF) will provide you a mentor to develop your idea if you are successful.
The 2023 competition is closed. Applications will open in January 2024.
Competition is open to current students or graduates within 3 years of graduating, who intent to start a business in the UK.
Why should you apply?
Climate change is recognised as the most important issue facing our planet today. In October 2022, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirmed that “climate change is an imminent threat to the health of our planet, our livelihoods, our well-being, and all other species sharing this world with us”, and that we must act rapidly to achieve the Paris Agreement target of keeping increases in average global temperatures below 1.5°C.
BU is ranked 1st in the UK in the THE Impact Awards 2021 for our contribution to UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13: Climate Action, and our Climate and Ecological Crisis Action Plan (CECAP) lays out our commitment to achieving net zero emissions across all of our operations by 2030/31. In order to reduce our carbon emissions and reach net zero emissions we need innovation, creativity and partnership to make progress. The BU Eco Entrepreneurs Fund could help you make a big impact.
The overall competition winners in 2023, who received a £2,500 grant, were Matt Cosier and Nick Cooper from Gaia Card, a membership scheme which connects customers with sustainable businesses while supporting reforestation.
Matt, who completed both his BSc in Business and Management and MSc in Marketing Management at BU before going on to found Gaia Card, said: “It really is an honour to win the Eco Entrepreneurs Award. The businesses we went up against were amazing. It really does give me hope about the future to learn of so many revolutionary ideas and impactful businesses. We are excited to see where the funding can take us. This is just the start for Gaia, so make sure to follow us on our journey for more!"
Three other businesses – searchBOSH, an online rental platform; Four Acre Farm, a no-dig market garden and fruit orchard; and Gro Promo, an eco-printing company – were awarded £1,500 while the remaining four businesses received £500. The funding was provided by Santander and BU.
Training: Carbon Literacy & Climate Fresk
Climate Fresk training on campus
You can join a 3 hour interactive workshop on campus to help you understand the science of climate change and empower you to take action. We offer sessions for students, staff and anyone in the Bournemouth community. If you would like to book please email [email protected]. You can find out more about Climate Fresk by visiting their website.
Become Carbon Literate
Climate change is widely recognised as one of the greatest, and most urgent, challenges facing humankind. This challenge has been recognised internationally, within the UK, and within Bournemouth. Our free Carbon Literacy course will give you an overview of the basic science of climate change as well as an understanding of the actions required by governments, businesses, universities and individuals in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and set us on a path towards a more sustainable future.
The course consists of two three-hour sessions and self-study before you become certified Carbon Literate. We run the trainings termly for students and staff. We can also accept alumni and local community members so if you are interested, please email the Sustainability Team.
Climate Action Week
Every year we host a Climate Action Week during March.
In 2023 we rolled out our first Climate Fresk workshops for staff and students, continued our Carbon Literacy training and held a Climate Assembly focusing on food and waste on campus.
In 2021, we ran 10 events and engaged with more than 350 staff, students and community members. Topics ranged from conservation to the Feminist Green New Deal and events we hosted included a panel event, climate cafe and an eco-anxiety workshop. We also hosted our bi-annual Climate Assembly's to ensure that staff and student involvement is at the heart of our sustainability and CECAP action.
Did you know BU is one of only three 3-star Fairtrade University's in the country?
Fairtrade Fortnight is an international campaign, where thousands of people come together to celebrate the work of Fairtrade and campaign on its behalf.
Choosing Fairtrade means standing with farmers for fairness and equality, against some of the biggest challenges the world faces including the climate crisis, food insecurity, poverty and financial insecurity.
We run a range of events during Fairtrade Fortnight including film nights, a Fairtrade Bake Off and a host of competitions.
You can help develop and monitor our approach
We want staff and students to help us develop and montior our approach to carbon management. In our CECAP we committed to offering two Climate Assemblies per year. These are a chance for anyone in our BU community to learn about, feed into and shape our actions.
Anyone can attend the Climate Assemblies. Each one will focus on important topics in the CECAP. Previous topics covered in 2023 included Heat Decarbonisation as we involved students, staff and community in developing our Heat Decarbonisation Plan. This is our approach to moving away from fossil fuel gas to electrically powered heating, which is lower carbon and can be powered by more renewables. We also focused on food on campus and the links with waste production.
In 2022 we explored Biodiversity and nature based solutions, including a talk by our Professor Rick Stafford. Previous topics have explored Active Travel, Offseting and Communications. If you have ideas of topics please let us know by emailing [email protected].
Our Sustainability Council is a group of students committed to attending these Climate Assemblies and providing a more regular stream of feedback. The volunteer opportunity requires around 2 hours of commitment in terms 1 and 2. If you are interested, please email [email protected].
Climate Justice Debate Challenge
The Climate Justice Debate Challenge (CJDC) 2022 has now been completed
It is a national one-day skills building competition. It is a chance for 4 BU students to:
- Work across disciplines and network with other students from different courses and universities from across the country;
- Learn about and be able to critically analyse and holistically review global challenges and solutions;
- Develop transferable career skills in an interdisciplinary, innovative, and fast-paced environment;
- Gain skills in debating, teamwork and communication before taking part in a debate against another university team;
- Win the Challenge for Bournemouth University!
The Challenge took place on Saturday 3rd December, 9:30am - 5:30pm at Middlesex University London.
During this, students attend interactive sessions led by industry and sector experts to learn about key topics relevant to the motion, including Fairtrade and climate resilience, as well as a workshop on debating skills, communication and teamwork. In the afternoon, all participants work within their team, with the support of mentors, to prepare a ‘For’ or ‘Against’ argument on the agreed motion, which is revealed on the day. The day closes with each team competing in a Debate against another University in front of peers and a panel of judges.
The judges will scored each team based on set criteria covering research, delivery and debating competency before awarding their winner.
If you are interested in this opportunity, or getting more involved in climate justice/Fairtrade work, please email [email protected]
Student volunteer opportunities
The BU Sustainability Team host a range of student volunteers across the year. All current opportunities can be found on the SUBU Volunteering Portal.
Be a student representative on our Steering Groups
We really encourage student participation on our Steering Groups. Currently, we have spots for student representatives on the following:
- Fairtrade Steering Group
- Hedgehog Action Group
- Biodiversity Group
- CECAP Group
- Responsible & Ethical Procurement Group
- Sustainable IT Group
If you want to share the student voice, develop your skills and networks and influence decisions of the university, contact us to apply.
Create and lead campaigns
Students at BU have on numerous occasions raised issues to the University and created change.
One particularly great success 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 the 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 contacts 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!
Complete a Living Labs project
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?
Take a look at the project options on our Academic Opportunities page to get started.
Volunteer to plant trees on campus
We are always looking for students to volunteer to help plant trees on campus. In Novemeber 2023 we will be planting hedgerow saplings which have been kindly donated to BU by the Woodland Trust. These trees will support the natural development of our Chapel Gate Sports campus.
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! Every club and society plays its part in being sustainable. If you feel yours isn't doing enough, start the action!
Get involved in induction and your halls
Any new students living in halls can also get involved with the wide range of sustainable events and activities delivered by ResLife, including halls-led community gardens, bike rides to local nature reserves and eco-crafting. Check out the ResLifeBU page to find out more.
All new students at BU complete an online induction workbook which includes a section on sustainability and policies at BU and are given a Little Green Guide. Our Sustainability Team and societies also attend Freshers Fair and love to hear from new students on their sustainability ideas.
Protecting nature + hedgehogs!
BU have worked to become a Hedgehog Friendly Campus.
Throughout the year, we run campaigns and surveys to identify and protect hedgehogs on campus. If you're keen to get involved or find out more, email BU Sustainability Team at [email protected]
SUBUs Green Week
Every year, in November, SUBU host a Green Week on campus.
In 2022, we kicked off the week with our 'Bin It to Win It' competition, where students could win a prize for recycling right. On the Tuesday, students had the opportunity to meet local wildlife and conservation charities. On Wednesday, our 'Pot-a-Plant' event helped students to become 'plant-parents' by teaching them how to plant and nuture different herbs and spices. Cooking was the theme for Thursday. Our 'Cook Once, Eat Twice' event involved a useful cooking demonstration full of guidance on student-friendly meal prepping. We wrapped up Green Week with the Beryl Sustainable Travel Challenge, where students could learn about the benefits of active travel and have some fun with the Beryl Bikes!
In 2023, Green Week began with a 'Recycling Roadshow' hosted by the SUBU community wardens, who gave information and advice to students about how to deal with waste within thier accomodation. On the same day, the lovely Linda from Mindful Life Bournemouth delivered an Environmental Mindfulness session, with a focus on nature appreciation and gratitude. On the Tuesday, a variety of Wildlife & Heritage Conservation charities shared opportunities and spoke about the benefits of volunteering, including National Trust, Talbot Village Trust, and the Parks Foundation, among many others!
On Wednesday, BU's waste contractor SUEZ came to visit to inform and engage students about how to deal with waste on campus using a bin-waste match up game. SUBU Advice also ran theirr Advice Supper Club, where students could get a free hot meal, and some knowledge on how to cook inexpensive meals to beat the cost-of-living crisis! On Thursday, Matt from Gaia Card came to talk about sustainable consumption, and to tell students all about the great discounts available with Gaia Card, including zero waste store - Almond & Co. We also had Francesca from the charity Love The Oceans deliver a talk about their incredible work being undertaken in Mozambique, and about opportunties for students in marine conservation!
SustainaWHAT?! for Postgrad Research Students
SustainaWHAT?! is an innovative series of events for Postgraduate Research Students to collaborate and identify opportunities for connecting their research with the sustainability agenda. Bournemouth University co-hosted SustainaWHAT?! with University of Newcastle and Cardiff throughout 2022/23.
Our aim was to bring a sustainability lens, through the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) to Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs) projects. We sought to develop a range of competencies applicable to PGRs’ own research, their personal and professional contexts. These competencies included skills of interdisciplinary collaboration. We developed a network of PGRs at the three universities who could continue to connect and pursue their interests in sustainability going forward.
BU recruited two PGR leads, Jack Olley and Michael George. Jack and Michael worked with the academic lead Dr Fiona Cownie to co-create a series of SustainaWHAT?! events with peers from Newcastle and Cardiff.
Our first event ‘The Gathering’ was on campus at the three universities with hybrid connections so that we could share our experiences. We looked at the UNSDGs and considered how understanding sustainability could enhance research bids and PGR employability. Professor Adrian Newton and Professor Lee Ann Fenge shared their thoughts about how sustainability awareness can enhance the quality of research bids. Matt Desmier took the PGR audience through ways in which an understanding of sustainability can make graduates more employable.
Our second event ‘The Challenge’ saw multi-disciplinary teams each with PGRs from the three universities working on a country based sustainability challenge, presenting their ideas to a panel of judges, working on feedback to create and submit a final research proposal which addressed the brief.
Our final event ‘The Celebration’ announced the winning teams and shared evaluations of the event to inform our future plans. Reflecting on how SustainaWHAT had impacted their personal intentions, one participant commented “I will more environmentally friendly, study and speak with groups more about climate issues and the effects on society.” (The Challenge, April).
Climate Justice and Free Screening - 'Thank You For The Rain'
Leading up to the COP28 conference at the end of November, come and join us for a free screening of 'Thank You For The Rain', followed by an interactive discussion on the topic of climate justice with some of the filmmakers and other climate activists. Ranked as one of the top 15 climate films in the world by the Guardian, 'Thank You For the Rain' is an extraordinary documentary about a Kenyan man who brings the struggles of his rural community to the international stage.
Don't miss out! Come along to Wednesday 22nd November 17:00-20:30 in the Marconi Lecture Theatre, Talbot Campus.
For our staff
Carbon Literacy and Climate Fresk
Climate change is widely recognised as one of the greatest, and most urgent, challenges facing humankind. This challenge has been recognised internationally, within the UK, and within Bournemouth. Our Carbon Literacy course is free for staff and students will give you an overview of the basic science of climate change as well as an understanding of the actions required by governments, businesses, universities and individuals in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and set us on a path towards a more sustainable future.
The course consists of two three-hour sessions and self-study before you become certified Carbon Literate. We run the trainings termly, so if you are interested, please email the Sustainability Team.
In 2023 we are introducing a new workshop style course called Climate Fresk. This is a fun, collaborative way to learn about the causes and consequences of climate change and is science based. If you would like to offer this to your students please get in touch with the Sustainability Team and we can support you to deliver this workshop and explore becoming a Climate Fresk facilitator.
Join the Education for Sustainable Development Community of Practice
The Community of Practice is a network of over 60 staff from across the four Faculties and is welcome to all. It is a space for academics to share best practice on introducing and embedding ESD into their teaching. Our Annual Excellence in Education for Sustainable Development Award recognises and rewards academic colleagues for this best practice and in 2022 we expanded this to include an Excellence in Education for Climate and Ecological Action Award.
In addition, you can contact your Sustainability Academic Network department representative, or 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.
Be a Sustainability Champion!
We can all take action for sustainability, but sometimes we need a little support. If you have knowledge, passion or just want to see more happening, become a Sustainability Champion in your team, department or Faculty. If you want some support or resources, get in touch with our team at [email protected], or join the collaborative MS Teams area with other like-minded staff.
Spot the Drop
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 the Estates Helpdesk about what is leaking and where it is in as much detail as possible so they can arrange for it to be fixed.
Find us at your induction
All new staff at BU attend an induction event which the Sustainability Team attends to explain about the importance of sustainability both at BU and in the wider community, what we do at BU to improve our environmental performance and, most importantly, how you can get involved! More information can be found on the staff induction checklist but come say hi and share your ideas.
'Inspired by Nature' art competition
In 2021, we launched our first 'Inspired by Nature' art competition. Open to staff, students and their families, we received fantastic entries that showed and encouraged a connection to nature. Our winner, Natalie Dear, took inspiration from a safari trip and her feelings around poaching.
You can see all the amazing entries in this virtual gallery.
Trade Union Members on Sustainability Committees
Trade Union representatives are members on our committees overseeing sustainability and are mentioned on the terms of reference for these groups. This includes:
Travel Plan Group
We would like to thank all our trade union members for their valued input into our committee meetings. If other members would like to find out more and how to get involved please email: [email protected]. We have opportunities to join other groups including the Sustainable IT group, Fairtrade group and the CECAP group.
Time for action
Can I make a difference?
We encourage our community to use the circle of control model to keep track of how your actions can make a difference. Focus on what you control – such as what you buy, what you eat, how you choose to travel and local groups you can be part of. Then focus on who and what you can influence - your circle of friends, family, petitions to sign – simply by raising your voice.
With sustainability, it can be easy to fall into the trap of the circle of concern – which includes the things we worry about, such as the climate and ecological crisis, but that are too big, and often overwhelming, for us to solve single-handedly.
When you think about how to act, remember that you have two tools: your choice and your voice. It’s also important to remember that we are all in this together and you are supported: you can contact the Sustainability Team at [email protected] to talk about what we can do together, or if your concern is impacting your health and wellbeing, find information on support offered by BU.
Moving forward to net zero
We seek to listen to the views of all members of the BU community to ensure that our action in this global challenge is collaborative, catering for and supporting everyone. At the same time, we will continue to collaborate with both internal and external stakeholders, in particular with BCP and Dorset Councils who have declared Climate Emergencies. We will also seek opportunities to work in partnership with other groups, such as the EAUC, AUDE, Dorset LEP, Aldersgate Group and COP26 Universities group.
Within our Climate and Ecological Crisis Action Plan, we have the following recommendations to guide our engagement work:
- Implement a staff and student charter
- Implement an annual CECAP communication plan
- Reward staff and students for taking positive action for the environment
- Engage with suppliers on their net-zero aspirations
- Continue to use technology to support new ways of working remotely
- Introduce staff and student development programmes, such as carbon literacy and climate resilience
- Continue staff and student engagement programmes
We are currently developing our student and staff sustainability communications strategy for the next academic year. For next year, our engagement targets will include:
- Training a proportion of the BU community to become Carbon Literate
- Hosting at least one event per month to support and empower students and staff to take climate action
- Running a student volunteer scheme to champion sustainability
- Achieving impactful action through staff schemes
For our community
Designs For Your Future Schools Competition
The Designs For Your Future Challenge is giving secondary school students the opportunity to solve real-world problems with their ideas. Our Challenge combines sustainability with design to create a product that will have a lasting positive impact on our planet and people.
Careers in Sustainability Insight Day
In June 2021, our Sustainability Team ran a Speakers for Schools virtual Careers Insight Day for over 35 students from local schools.
During the day, students heard from and asked questions to sustainability staff from across BU and SUBU, and learnt about a range of environmental topics including energy, water, biodiversity and campaigning. They then identified their skillset for a sustainability career through a workshop delivered by the BU Careers Team.
During the afternoon, the students worked in teams to identify an opportunity for their schools to become more environmentally-sustainable. Ideas ranged from installing rainwater harvesting systems to creating a vegetable patch and were presented to BU staff who were thoroughly impressed with the students teamwork, innovation and presentation skills.
The BU Sustainability Team are working with the Schools Liaison team and academics from across the university to develop outreach opportunities for the next academic year.
As a university, we are fortunate to have a lot of resources and expertise, so we hope to support and collaborate with local organisations as much as possible to share best practice and good work.
Some of the collaborations we're currently working on include:
- Working closely with the sustainability team at University Hospitals Dorset
- Meeting regularly with BCP Council
- Supporting Bournemouth & Poole College's sustainability strategy and action
- Establishing a Local Climate Partnership to support our region to reach net zero
- Research collaborations with business through our research centres