10,000 actions, 8,000 students and one environmental award

Two projects on a massive scale designed to increase knowledge of sustainability issues among staff and students at The University of Manchester have won an award.

The University won a Green Gown award last night (15 November) for 10,000 Actions and The Sustainability Challenge – two of the University’s social responsibility signature programmes – in the learning and skills category.

The Sustainability Challenge is offered to all 8,000+ 1st year students and immerses them in a highly interactive simulation activity, based on building a new campus for a fictitious university. A closing plenary session links the Challenge to the real world, explaining its grounding in current University research and highlights the myriad of other ways in which students can engage with sustainability.

10,000 Actions is the UK’s biggest sustainability initiative launched to higher education staff. It encourages learning and action around key sustainability issues. A learning platform educates staff on key sustainability issues, leading to the creation of a bespoke individual action plan, listing actions that they can take as a University member of staff.

Emma Gardner, Head of Environmental Sustainability at The University of Manchester, said: “10,000 Actions took our staff engagement on sustainability from around 3% to more than 40% over the course of the campaign. It’s great to see our impact recognised at a national level through this award.”

Professor James Thompson, Vice-President for Social Responsibility, said: “Three years ago we developed new social responsibility signature programmes with the ambition of reaching all students and all staff. It is therefore particularly pleasing to see both the Ethical Grand Challenges programme and 10,000 Actions recognised by experts outside the University as leading the way in the UK”.

Established in 2004, the Green Gown Awards recognise the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges. With sustainability moving up the agenda, the Awards have become established as the most prestigious recognition of best practice within the further and higher education sector.

The Green Gown Awards are administered by the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC).

Speaking at the event, University of Manchester Chancellor, Lemn Sissay, said: “The leadership and innovation that we have seen tonight is truly awe inspiring. If all education institutions created individuals and initiatives like these, we would have a much brighter future full of leading lights.”

Find out more about programmes in this short film.