Students calling for more on sustainability

Posted by chj6 at Oct 21, 2016 01:20 PM |
86% of Leicester students believe the University should actively incorporate and promote sustainable development.


The results of an NUS Sustainability Skills survey are in, and once again found that 80% of students want their institution to be actively incorporate and promote sustainable development, and that over 60% want to learn more about it.

900 University of Leicester students responded to the survey and overwhelmingly called for more opportunities and education on sustainability. 86% of Leicester students believed that universities should actively incorporate and promote sustainable development. This belief was higher amongst international (non EU) students (92%).

71% of respondents agreed that sustainable development should be actively incorporated and promoted within their degree courses.

Almost a 1/3 of these respondents wanted to learn more about sustainable development because of future generations, whilst others acknowledged their own lack of information.

A lot of students reported wanting to learn more to help, improve their own quality of life, or protect the environment, but having little to no knowledge of where to start.

The results suggest that the large majority of students believe that everyone should have some knowledge of sustainable development.

Students also report desiring sustainability literacy to become more desirable candidates for future employers. However it appears to work both ways, with students preferentially looking for responsible employers. 76% of respondents said they would consider a position with a starting salary of £1000 lower than average (£20,000) in a company with a strong environmental and social record.

How is the University meeting this demand?

The Environment Team at Leicester are working hard to embed sustainability into University core business and student experience.

Teaching & Learning

  • A sustainability competency has been introduced in the Transferable Skills Framework aiming to ensure our taught courses play a role in developing student sustainable skills through all academic content.
  • The Sustainable Futures credit-bearing course is available to students across Science & Engineering and had 17 students last year.
  • From 2017/18 students will also be able to take part in:

- A Sustainability MOOC (Massive Open Online Course)
- Sustainable year abroad (Initially available to students from Biological Sciences, Natural Sciences & Geography and planned to be rolled out to include any degree)
- A Sustainability Minor pathway

Extra-curricular Opportunities

Many volunteering opportunities are on offer for students to learn more about sustainability and actively gain experience and transferable skills.

- Sustainable Development Programme / Leicester Award

- Student Sustainability Working Group

- SEED Projects

All our initiatives are HEAR accredited and contribute positively to student experience as well as providing them with skills that transfer into work-ready employable, sustainably-aware graduates.

Shawana 1

Real-world Experience

The Environment Team is currently developing two initiatives to assist with linking students to internal and external professional organisations, offering opportunities for volunteering or exciting dissertation research.

1. Projects for Purpose – based on the NUS Dissertations for Good database, this project will develop a Leicester specific database matching local organisations’ project requirements with students who want to do real world dissertations or voluntary projects.

2. Living Labs – will formalise the current ad hoc practice of students carrying out their dissertations with Estates staff and develop opportunities throughout Professional Services where students can gain real world project experience whilst also adding value to the University.

To view our new sustainability strategy for 2015-2020, please visit our website.