And the winners of the Green Gown Awards UK & Ireland are…

Cathy Parnham takes a trip to York to celebrate the best sustainability initiatives of 2018

Set in the stunning National Railway Museum in York, the home of iconic locomotives and engineering brilliance, the Green Gown Awards Ceremony promised to be a memorable evening!

Eighty-seven finalist institutions, spanning 12 different categories, gathered together at the 14th edition of the prestigious event, which was organised by the EAUC, in conjunction with the University of York and York St John University to recognise outstanding achievements and initiatives in sustainability. For the second year running, finalists mapped their entry against the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the most popular being ‘sustainable cities and communities’, ‘responsible consumption and production’ and ‘quality education’.

Representing over one million students, 172,000 staff and a combined annual turnover of £15bn, these awards demonstrate that these institutions are proving their value to the economy and society.

Co-hosted by Iain Patton, CEO of the EAUC, and Helen Browning OBE, CEO of the Soil Association, the highlight of the evening were the presentations by three finalists for the ‘Outstanding Leadership Team of the Year’ award, with live voting by the audience.

Double award winners

We believe it is our responsibility as a university to use fashion for building better lives for all through research, education and collaboration

Keele University stole the show, picking up not only the coveted Outstanding Leadership Team of the Year award, but Enterprise, too. Professor Mark Ormerod, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Provost, and Strategic Lead for Sustainability, comments: “I am absolutely delighted by these awards. Key to this success is a model of distributed leadership and a genuine empowering of staff and students to lead sustainability transformations in their own areas of the institution.

Outstanding Leadership Team Of The Year – Keele University

“Sustainability is one of our core strategic aims and our key message to all staff and students is to embed sustainability in everything we do. As such, our Root and Branch campaign delivers constant and creative messaging of our ambitious sustainability vision. The roots reflect our core values, with the branches extending into all aspects of our activities both here, throughout the UK, and overseas.”

Dr Zoe Robinson, Director of Education for Sustainability, affirms: “At Keele, our whole community is our team, helping us to embed sustainability in everything we do, and this for us is what it means to be the UK’s Outstanding Leadership Team, not just this year but every year.”

Meanwhile, the University of the Arts, London College of Fashion also celebrated a double win, taking awards for both Benefitting Society (large institution) and Next Generation Learning and Skills.

Nina Stevenson, Education for Sustainability Manager, Centre for Sustainable Fashion comments: “We at London College of Fashion are proud to have been recognised by Green Gown Awards for our work in ensuring our institution and education systems are respectful of human equity and honour nature. We believe it is our responsibility as a university to use fashion for building better lives for all through research, education and collaboration.”

A special mention has to go to Stockport Continuing Education Service, who scooped the top award for Benefitting Society (small institution). Sean Burke, Service Manager, Continuing Education Service, comments: “The Green Gown Award was the culmination of a successful year for the Service with Ofsted also recognising the work of the Service and its third-sector partner. The nomination in itself was sufficient, so we’re really pleased to have received such a prestigious award. We are very proud of the partnership we have developed with ACORN Recovery Projects and the benefits that work has achieved to support individuals in their recovery from addiction dependency.”

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