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Green awards success for the University of Gloucestershire

Winning entry: A Rounder Sense of Purpose

A project aimed at putting sustainability at the heart of the curriculum, that reached thousands of teachers throughout Europe, secured award success for the University of Gloucestershire last night (24 March) at the ‘Green Gown Awards, UK & Ireland’. The awards celebrate sustainability excellence in Higher Education and are sponsored by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Green Gown Awards Winner

This year’s Green Gown Awards had the theme ‘Awarding Sustainability Excellence in Extraordinary Times’. And with the UK and Ireland again in lockdown, understandably the award ceremony was held online. There were 74 finalists across 11 categories, representing a Higher Education student population of over 860,000 and a staff population of over 130,000.

The University of Gloucestershire’s ‘A Rounder Sense of Purpose’ took the ‘Next Generation Learning and Skills’award and will now progress to the International Green Gown Awards.

Dr Paul Vare, Senior Lecturer − Research Development, said:

“A Rounder Sense of Purpose’ is a project coordinated from the School of Education and Humanities at the University of Gloucestershire. Through rigorous trialling and research, the project developed a set of 12 competences for educators (working at any level) who wish to facilitate learning for sustainability. The project name is a response to the tendency of education systems to focus on ever-narrower curricula and measures of success; instead the project challenges us to embrace a wider range of concerns, social, economic, environmental, and not least the health and wellbeing of our learners.

“The project has involved nine partner institutions from across Europe, has reached thousands of teachers, and is currently being adopted well beyond the EU. Recent developments include linking the project competences to the UN Global Sustainable Development Goals and embedding the competences in accredited learning, including within our own Education degree programme.” 

The University was Finalist for the second year running in the hotly contested ‘Sustainability Institution of the Year’ award, recognising its achievements in sustainability right across the University, from campus operations and curriculum change, to student leadership and external collaboration.

The University was also short-listed as Finalist in the ‘Next Generation Learning and Skills’ category for its ‘Radical Sustainability’ partnership between education and industry, driven by the need to accelerate learning for sustainability through collaboration between the professionals of today and tomorrow.

Alex Ryan, Director of Sustainability, said:

“We are delighted by our success at this year’s Green Gown Awards. The University of Gloucestershire has pioneered change for sustainability with its whole-institutional strategy. Adopted as a corporate priority over ten years ago, sustainability is now one of our proudest successes.

“This is the second Green Gown win in the past two years, for the University’s research activities. It demonstrates how our sustainability researchers are delivering high impact projects that bring significant benefit to societies and the life systems we all depend upon. This is not green spray paint: ours is a true sustainability strategy for a Higher Education provider − properly rooted in our academic activities.”