SRUC Student Sustainability Programme ‘Highly Commended’ at National Awards Ceremony

2nd December 2015

Scotland’s Rural College’s (SRUC) Environment team was recognised as highly commended in the ‘Sustainability’ award category at the prestigious College Development Network Annual Awards last week.

The team has developed a very successful programme which runs across all six SRUC campuses and is open to all students. Placing students firmly in the driving seat the ‘All Campus Sustainability programme’ (ACSP) is based on a very simple outline - students are invited to design practical projects that will make the campuses more environmentally sustainable.

SRUC’s Elmwood Golf course in Fife, which is used by our Green Keeping and Professional Golf students, attracted several student applications, and has been labelled a real Sustainability Success Story. One strong example was the building of a Sand Martin Wall by the National Certificate Green keeping students. Their idea to create a habitat for sand martins was one of the largest projects undertaken and led to a dramatic change on the course.

The national awards were hosted by BBC’s Reporting Scotland News presenter Sally Magnusson at Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel. The event was a celebration of the outstanding projects and initiatives taking place in colleges across Scotland and recognised the talent, skills and achievements of the staff and learners.

SRUC came in a very close second, from a shortlist of three colleges for the ‘Sustainability Award’ which recognises having taken an imaginative approach to tackling sustainability issues and improving green credentials.

SRUC’s Assistant Principal of Further Education David James attended the awards ceremony and commented: “It has been an absolute pleasure to attend the Awards Ceremony. It is a fantastic achievement to reach the finals of a national competition which is open to all colleges across Scotland.

“SRUC is very proud of the team that created the ACSP programme and all the students who then submitted applications and have made very real tangible benefits to the environment on our campuses.

“SRUC prides itself not just on the provision of our vocational education which equips our students with the skills, experience and knowledge they need for to achieve success in the workplace, but also on developing and fostering an environment within which sustainability learning can thrive in both the formal and informal curriculum.”

SRUC’s Environment Officer Kate Thornback developed the ACSP and commented: “I am delighted that the All Campus Sustainability Programme has been recognised as ‘Highly Commended’ under the ‘Sustainability Award’ category. Developing this brand new initiative was a great opportunity for SRUC and I designed the programme with our students in mind. During the last academic year (2014/15) over 80 students took part in 15 projects across Scotland.

“The students were challenged to execute their projects from conception through to final execution, which involved gaining real life experience in project development, costing/ budgeting, completing funding applications if necessary, and then project delivery. Some of the successful projects have ranged from the creation of bird boxes, increasing the number of recycling bins through to increasing the promotion of biodiversity through planting and a wildflower bank, and developing a wormery system to make better use of left over foods.

“The ACSP programme promotes innovative thinking and taking the initiative to enhance both the natural and built environments at our campuses, and I believe it illustrates a natural intersection of environment, society and economy.”

At the Awards ceremony SRUC received a second acknowledgment as Highly Commended under the category of the ‘Learning and Teaching Award’ which recognises the implementation of creative ideas to improve the quality and effectiveness of learning, teaching and assessment.

More information on SRUC’s Further and Higher Education, delivered at locations across Scotland can be found here
SRUC Acting Chief Executive Janet Swadling, SRUC Environment Officer Kate Thornback, SRUC Elmwood Deputy Manager, Students’ Research and Environment Greg Kilgour and SRUC Assistant Principal FE David James