Green Gown Awards 2015 Student Engagement - University of Edinburgh - Finalist

Tags: sustainability | green gown awards | Scotland | Student Engagement | University of Edinburgh | collaboration | volunteering | social responsibility

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Inspiring student-led action in social responsibility and sustainability

By working in partnership with the Edinburgh University Students’ Association, the University wanted to achieve its vision of creating a culture and environment at the University where students are inspired and supported to contribute to social responsibility and sustainability at the University and beyond through the formal curriculum and extra-curricular activities.

The launch of the student forum in 2014 has encouraged collaboration between student societies and local community groups, and has established a link for students into the governance of socially responsibility and sustainability (SRS) issues at the University. Student-led projects have been supported through the SRS Project Grant which aims to encourage student leadership, innovation on campus and community outreach.

Students have worked with the University to deliver a wide range of opportunities to develop their knowledge and skills in a practical setting, with 107 students undertaking volunteer roles and work based placements around SRS issues during the 2013-14 academic year. Staff and students have collaboratively delivered a diverse range of events to inspire critical thinking and practical action.

Top 3 learnings

1 With our student engagement activities we have learned not to be too prescriptive and have allowed space for students to influence what events, activities or support they wish to see. Generating this buy or sense of ownership has contributed to an increase in students being involved with the forum

2 We are still trying to address the issue of momentum with student-led projects, however with the introduction of a supported forum and the Sustainability Awards, we have seen an increase in the longevity of student-led projects 

3 We have found that student-led projects have delivered brilliant creative and innovative approaches to encourage learning of social responsibility and sustainability issues for students.