The International Green Gown Awards recognise exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges. The Awards cover all aspects of educational institutions – from their teaching and research, leadership, buildings and food to how students can benefit the quality of life in the communities around them.
These awards are delivered on a regional basis in Australasia, the UK and Ireland and French speaking Europe and Canada and globally through the GUPES Green Gown Awards. The winners of each region then go head to head for the coveted International Green Gown Awards.
There are three categories at the International Green Gown Award:
• Continuous Improvement: Institutional Change
• Student Engagement
Back in November 2016, The Students’ Union and UWE won four awards at the national Green Gown Awards.
At the International Green Gown awards we were finalists in two of the three categories: the ‘Continuous Improvement: Intuitional Change’ category, and the ‘Student Engagement’ Category.
Despite there being only three categories, and tough competition in each, UWE triumphed and were the winners of these two categories!
Continuous Improvement: Institutional Change
Through winning this award, we are being recognised for all the positive changes implemented because of our Sustainability Board; a group consisting of UWE Sustainability professionals, Students' Union staff, and elected student representatives.
The Sustainability Board meets 4 to 5 times a year; at each meeting the Board reviews progress with the 11 themes of the Sustainability Plan, undertakes regular reviews of policies including the Environmental Policy and the Ethical Investment Policy, approves action plans arising from the Sustainability Plan, and reviews progress with the commitment to adopt the principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME) across the institution.
The Students’ Union and The University have a strong partnership and are working to provide training and resources for student projects. In exchange, The Green Team challenges UWE to push them to do better in meeting the aims and objectives of the 2020 Sustainability Plan. In 2015 the President of The Student Union made a specific challenge to the University to meet the questions posed by the Whole Earth? Exhibition on campus. On 23 May 2016 the university formally responded to the President’s challenge by documenting how the university was actively engaged in meeting the challenges posed by the Whole Earth? Exhibition. Most recently we have worked together to gain our Responsible Futures accreditation from the NUS, the first university to be accredited under the full scheme.
We now have the pleasure of knowing our partnership has allowed us to achieve the International Green Gown 'Continuous Improvement: Institutional Change' Award. With the continued support of the students and staff at UWE we hope to continue to improve as an institution.
Student Capital is a huge and unique collaborative project between The Students' Union and UWE aimed at creating, promoting, and celebrating student sustainability engagement. To date, UWE Bristol Change Makers have contributed over 60,000 hours of their time to sustainable activities – that’s over 34 years' worth of work! The project has linked students with local organisations including: wildlife conservation groups, local businesses, local community groups, local schools and colleges, student societies, charities and NGOs, healthcare providers, and many more.
The Students' Union and UWE have co-ordinated sustainable volunteer programmes to provide students with the opportunity to create sustainable change and gain hours for their Change Maker Award. Through The Green Team' Green Space and Community Garden projects alone our volunteers have contributed over 320 volunteering hours during terms one and two of the 2016/17 academic year, combine this with other volunteering projects at UWE and you can see how passionate the students at UWE are about sustainability.
We are so proud that we won these amazing awards, it's an honour to be recognised on an International level for our passion and dedication to sustainability. Both of these awards, as well as the national Green Gown Awards, belong to our students who have always been driven and determined to implement change here at UWE, and beyond.
We hope that our students continue to be engaged and passionate about green issues, so we can continue to make UWE (and the world) more sustainable.
For more information and to see the whole list of winners, view the International Green Gown Awards' Winners' Brochure.
Sustainability is something that UWE students are passionate about, as you can see from the video below:
Remember to #thinkgreenbegreat