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University recognised in national sustainability awards

University of Gloucestershire has been recognised in prestigious national awards celebrating sustainability excellence within Further and Higher Education.

Established in 2004, the annual UK and Ireland Green Gown Awards – delivered in association with UK Research and Innovation – honour the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges.

The University’s Sustainability Team, trailblazers in Education for Sustainability, won the 2023 Highly Commended Award in the Next Generation Learning and Skills category for their collaborative sector innovation project, funded by the UK Quality Assurance Agency, to drive standards and support transparency to students in their core curriculum sustainability learning.

Led by Dr Alex Ryan and Miriam Webb, with a team of student co-creators and partners at University of the Arts London and King’s College London, the project trained over 130 students as quality assessors, and created an online ‘anti-greenwash education’ toolkit to empower any student to influence change in the education system.

The University was also a finalist at this year’s awards in the Reporting with Influence category in recognition of its online Annual Sustainability Report engaging all stakeholders with accessible communication of its strategy, performance and achievements, including progress data on curriculum change and net zero carbon reduction targets.

logo for 2023 Green Gown Awards - white writing on blue background

The University has a proud heritage of successes at the UK and International Green Gown Awards, with four Winner and 13 Highly Commended awards, plus 26 finalist places, in a range of achievements from institutional performance and corporate reporting, conservation and educational research, to carbon reduction.

Dr Alex Ryan, Director of Sustainability, said: “We are so proud to be recognised for breaking new ground and tackling the need for our sector to be ambitious and authentic in claims to change the curriculum for sustainability. Collaborating with students and partners has been the key to this unique project and its dynamic legacy resources.”

Bea Hughes, Student Team Lead, said: “This project was so important as we needed to shift sustainability education into concepts that made sense to students and tools they could use – so as to involve them powerfully in leading this change and countering the potential for greenwash in education.”

Main image: Sustainability Engagement Manager, Miriam Webb, and Director of Sustainability, Dr Alex Ryan, at the 2023 UK and Ireland Green Gown Awards