How to encourage positive changes

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Universities and colleges are embedding sustainability in academic courses and activities to encourage future generations to make a positive change.

From Perth College, which is targeting employability in outdoor activities, to the London Institute of Banking and Finance, which has launched a project aimed at underrepresented student populations to increase diversity within the banking and finance industry, the initiatives being undertaken by institutions to help secure a sustainable future are increasingly varied.

The Green Gown Awards celebrate the best in sustainability initiatives from universities and colleges across the UK and Ireland - and among the winners were institutions that are developing courses to ensure future graduates are able to put sustainability at the heart of their agendas.

Leading the way in this area is the University of Bristol, winner of the Next Generation Learning and Skills Green Gown Award. The University runs the Sustainable Futures online course which has been taken by over 5,700 people, including over 2,000 students at the University of Bristol. It uses video case studies of people making a difference in diverse ways - including homelessness and housing, microplastics and the circular economy, food waste and sewage to energy. Feedback from participants shows that the course has motivated many to change their behaviour, to engage more in communities and volunteer, to consider sustainability related career paths, and to take more care of their own wellbeing. 

Also developing a future skills sustainability course is the University of the Arts London, London College of Fashion, which was highly commended in the Next Generation Learning and Skills Green Gown Award category. It runs Better Lives - a dynamic blended unit (offering a mix of online and face-to-face learning) delivered to 1,826 first year undergraduate students and involving 58 members of staff at London College of Fashion.  

Newly developed for 2018/19, the unit embeds sustainability, diversity, and social responsibility into the thinking and creative practice of its students. They work as a collective to consider how they can become change makers in their respective disciplines which spans across fashion business, design and development and media and communication.  

At a time when institutions are facing mounting pressure to enable and empower young people to better tackle global issues to ensure they have a better tomorrow, it is heartening to see Finalists from the Green Gown Awards embracing schemes and courses that have a positive impact.

You can find out more about our Finalists’ projects by reading the Green Gown Award case studies.

View the blog on Advance HE