Student Capital is a huge and unique collaborative project aimed at creating, promoting, and celebrating student sustainability engagement at Bristol’s two universities – The University of the West of England, Bristol, and the University of Bristol.
To-date, students in the project have given over 125,000 hours of their time and effort to sustainability engagement in the city – through volunteering, placements, internships, and projects. That amounts to over 72 years’ worth of work, and over £1.2mil of economic contribution to the city.
The project has linked students with over 200 local organisations; our partners include: wildlife conservation groups, local businesses, local community groups, local schools and colleges, student societies, charities and NGOs, healthcare providers, and many more. Over 600 students have been awarded the Green Capital Change Maker Award for their work in Student Capital – this award was specially-created for the project and recognises students’ passion and commitment to taking sustainability action.
1 Working together is essential. Teamwork is paramount – so much more can be achieved collectively than in isolation. In the case of the Student Capital the two universities and the two unions worked closely together, however this message is intended in a much broader sense to encompass all partners in the process of student engagement – from the HEIs through the external organisations and local authorities, to the students themselves.
2 Ongoing engagement is crucial to a successful legacy - Bristol’s Green Capital 2015 year provided a fantastic opportunity to showcase the city’s sustainability credentials, and to act as a catalyst for sustainability action. At the same time there were fears that the year could simply end up as a stylish showcase which created little lasting change. There has been a need therefore to ensure that the positive outcomes of the Green Capital are maintained into the future. To achieve this, right from the outset the Student Capital project was designed with its legacy in mind.
3 Change is possible - The Student Capital is testament to the success of the European Green Capital 2015 year, and demonstrates the value of HE and the student community as a real force for sustainability action.