The University of Worcester has been shortlisted for three national sustainability awards, including Sustainability Institution of the Year.
The Green Gown Awards recognise exceptional sustainability initiatives by universities and colleges and best practice within the further and higher education sector.
As well as Sustainability Institution of the Year the University is also shortlisted in the Campus of the Future and Reporting categories. The judges said they were particularly impressed by the University’s breadth of activity, impact in the community and willingness to collaborate and share with the sector.
The University’s Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, Professor David Green CBE, said: “Worcester is well-known for its deep commitment to promoting and practising sustainability. We are absolutely delighted to have been shortlisted in the Green Gown award for Institution of the Year. Earlier this year we were named number one in the UK for Quality Education in the Times Higher Education’s University Impact Awards based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. This new shortlisting, combined with coming in the top 10 for student satisfaction amongst all of England’s non-specialist universities, has made 2019 into a true vintage year for the University.”
The University, in close partnership with the Students’ Union, has pioneered many initiatives to promote sustainability over the last 15 years, including much improved recycling, promoting walking and cycling wherever possible, and practical changes such as introducing less energy intensive lighting and solar heated hot water. The University has built up an enviable record of sustainability and has been 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.
Professor Green continued: “Climate Change is becoming a reality and it is urgent that action is taken now to protect the future of human civilisation and the planet we all call home.”
The Campus of the Future category focused on the University’s latest successful development of the new Art House, which was opened by the University’s Chancellor, His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester, in February 2019. This highly inclusive, visually stunning facility, on Castle Street, Worcester, was created through a sympathetic renovation of the listed, former Austin House Garage building, transforming the interior into a high quality creative art and exhibition working, teaching and learning space. It is one of very few buildings to achieve the RICS SKA Higher Education sustainability assessment Gold award, with features including intelligent lighting and user controlled real-time energy management, heating, ventilation and cooling. External spaces incorporated increased biodiversity, surface water strategies as well as minimal parking alongside significant cycling infrastructure and electric vehicle charging points.
Other projects the University has recently been engaged in include piloting a community electric bike share scheme and working with Worcester Bosch to improve heating decisions in shared student housing. A ‘white bag’ scheme sees the University working with a number of local partners to encourage recycling, by providing student landlords with free recycling receptacles, information and support, and training student volunteers to mentor their peers. The University also holds an annual on-campus and city-based Go Green Week, offering a number of sustainability activities.
Last year, the University, along with Worcester City Council and local businesses and organisations, were recognised with two international silver Green Apple Awards, for their work together on sustainability projects.