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Students showcase sustainable thinking to win national awards

Five students at University of Gloucestershire have won a national design competition aimed at promoting sustainability, enhancing entrepreneurship and connecting students with industry.

Siobhan Smith, Ellie Cole, Lizzy Ruck, Celyn Jones and Mia Ryan – all working towards a degree in Graphic Design – took top prizes at the 2023 Brief Cases Awards for university students, led by sustainability specialists The Heaven Company.

In a brief compiled by competition organisers, students from across the UK were invited to consider how their research capability, creativity and design skills could be applied to either create a new business or enhance an existing one.

student Siobhan Smith

Siobhan Smith (pictured left) was awarded first prize for her project entitled Replay (main image), which promotes sustainability by offering a tent rental service for festivalgoers that encourages reuse, recycling, and repurposing.

Ellie Cole achieved second place for her Playpact campaign (pictured below), launched in collaboration with Duckling’s Toy Store in Stroud, that encourages the use of sustainably sourced toys and promotes events where toys can be swapped and shared.

Lizzy Ruck was awarded third place for her business in Pershore that enables customers to donate purchases to local charities for the benefit of the community and promotes events to showcase local produce, such as the Pershore Plum Festival.

Celyn Jones received a Highly Commended award for her campaign Sproute, run in partnership with Caerphilly Garden Centre, to promote sustainable gardening in urban spaces.

Mia Ryan was a Highly Commended award for her project Keen Bean, run in partnership with Cheltenham greengrocers Roots and Fruits, which works with local farms to eliminate food waste and encourage seasonal eating to support UK farms.

Claudia Brewster, Academic Course Leader for Graphic Design, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to see our students showcasing their sustainable thinking and gaining national recognition in the 2023 Brief Cases Awards.

“It’s really inspiring to see our students making connections with local businesses and working within their communities to tackle real-world issues.

“The experience, skills and knowledge they are gaining from these partnerships will be hugely beneficial in enabling them to enjoy rewarding and fulfilling careers in the design industry.”