Learn from the best

The Green Gown Awards, hosted by the EAUC, may be over for another year, but their impact definitely lives on

These projects have all been rewarded for their innovation and impact. With the majority of them fairly easy to replicate – OK we admit not everyone may have a wind turbine project on the horizon or is able to create a nano-toilet – but for the majority of us, many of the elements can be re-used and tailored more specifically towards current and potential new projects.

The ethos of the Awards is to ensure these lessons and examples of good practice are shared within the tertiary education sector and beyond and we are delighted to announce that more than 320+ inspirational case studies and short videos on finalists, highly commended and winning projects are available and we thank HEFCE for supporting the dissemination. Packed with ideas and offering top three project learnings, the case studies and videos demonstrate a plethora of sustainability good practice. 

The number one resource for sustainability in UK education

As always, the bank of excellence has been uploaded to the Sustainability Exchange to join the rest of the knowledge already hosted on the site. But, a visit to the site this year will be very different. Now, over two years from the launch, with 1,100+ sustainability resources available we’ve really seen how this innovative, collaborative information portal has been utilised by the sector and how we can further develop it for years to come.

As we are no longer funded by HEFCE, this opens the door to a whole range of potential partners who have extensive sustainability resource banks under lock and key. This has allowed us to welcome partners from Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland as well as internationally and allows us to focus on much needed support for further education.

To bring in experience and insight from sustainable business, we have six sponsors from some of the leading businesses with strong sustainability strategies and offerings. These are: Interface, Schneider Electric, SITA UK, Tusker, TUCO and The Energy Consortium.

The site has had a bit of a makeover and is now even easier to find and share the knowledge and insight you need with intuitive searching. You can search by region, resource type, by Framework (as established by Learning in Future Environments) and many more. We’re also planning more ‘exchanges’ – lunchtime webinars available for all on a range of sustainability topics.

Taking inspiration

Take for example the University of Worcester’s bike loan project offering an affordable and easy to administer scheme which is designed to promote cycling through minimising the barriers to staff and students. Partnering with a social enterprise where young people with learning disabilities can develop practical skills and manage the campus bike shop – which in-turn increases self-esteem, it identified a gap in the cycling provision and now operates a very successful scheme.

Being able to sell organic produce with ‘zero food miles’ to students, staff and the local community is the essence of Roehampton’s ‘Growhampton’ project. From its edible campus, to its bee hives and The Hive sustainability café, this project offers opportunities to engage with sustainability as volunteers, ethical consumers, and through research, coursework and work experience. The Hive sources only local, organic and ethical produce, runs a weekly farmers’ market and generates an income.

These are just a few shining examples of sustainability best practice. Do take time out to delve into these aspirational projects and if you do replicate any, please let us know. 

Visit the Sustainability Exchange at www.sustainabilityexchange.ac.uk. Next year’s Green Gown Awards open on 1 May 2015. For more information about the Awards, visit www.greengownawards.org.uk

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