A senior figure in university sustainability in Australasia has visited the University of Worcester to learn more about its highly rated approach.
Corey Peterson, who is University Sustainability Manager at the University of Tasmania, but is also President of Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability, came to the UK as part of an eight-week tour he is doing of universities highly rated for their sustainability.
He chose to come to the University of Worcester after he ranked it in the top three most sustainable through his own research into UK universities’ commitment to the issue, in which he examined both institutions’ curriculum and campus operations.
Mr Peterson was keen to discuss the University’s approach to both aspects. He also wanted to understand more about why and how the University fully embedded sustainability into all staff roles to make it intrinsic to its approach, rather than a larger sustainability department taking sole responsibility.
He said: “I chose to visit Worcester as it is a clear leader in the sustainability space within higher education as recognised with various Green Gown Award accolades as a finalist and winner. Also making Worcester a stand-out are the perfect scores in various People and Planet League Table categories. Some University staff in particular have had a tremendous influence on these successes so getting to spend some time with them exploring the story behind the successes was quite useful.
“Also I was very impressed to find the electric powered University fleet vehicles and charging points, the bike hubs and other visible signs of the commitment of the University to sustainability outcomes and demonstrating this to students, staff and visitors.”
His tour included 15 UK universities, and was made possible through a travel bursary from the Tertiary Education Facilities Management Association (TEFMA). He also attended the EAUC (The Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education) conference, at which the University of Worcester presented its work both within the University and the student community towards fulfilling the internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals, set by the United Nations in 2016.
The University of Worcester recently came top in the UK, and 26th globally, for Quality Education, in the Times Higher Education’s (THE) new rankings on the contribution made by universities around the world to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Worcester was ranked 33rd overall globally, out of more than 500 universities from 80 countries.
Factors assessed include: promoting good health and wellbeing; quality education; gender equality and economic growth; reducing inequalities; building sustainable cities and communities; and achieving responsible consumption and production.
The University was ranked the fourth most sustainable university in the country in the latest People and Planet’s University League, which measures sustainability performance at higher education institutions.
The University’s Director of Sustainability, Katy Boom, said: “It was a delight to share strategic approaches to embedding sustainability in both teaching and research and campus operations with Corey. Our approaches were similar and learning from his role in representing the sector in Australasia was interesting and informative. Students from across the globe are expecting their universities to give them ‘real life’ opportunities to work collaboratively solving sustainability problems and it’s something both our organisations create so our graduates can enter the workplace with these new skills which employers are asking for.”