A panel of distinguished guests, including the Chair of Social Enterprise UK and the NHS Confederation, will come together virtually at the University of Worcester for a special debate on sustainability.
Chaired by the University’s Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, Professor David Green CBE, the debate, on Thursday, will consider the question: ‘What Does Leadership for Sustainability in the Higher Education Sector Mean?’.
Speakers include Lord Victor Adebowale CBE, Chair of Social Enterprise UK and the NHS Confederation, and a visiting Professor and Chancellor at the University of Lincoln, and Dr Antonius Raghubansie, Director of Learning Services at the British Council, who has been an advocate and leader for sustainability education for many years in the UK.
Representing the student point of view on the panel will be Meg Baker, Director of Education for Students Organizing for Sustainability (SOS-UK), an educational charity created by students and staff at the National Union for Students supporting students to learn, act and lead for sustainability, and Meg Price, President of Worcester Students’ Union. The University is represented by its Director of Sustainability, Katy Boom, who has led the development of many sustainability initiatives.
The debate is open to the public and will run from 1pm-2pm.
The event is part of the University’s annual Go Green Week, held in partnership with Worcester Students’ Union.
The event, running all this week, would usually feature a variety of in-person events and activities on campus, followed by an event in the City later in the year. However, this year’s week has been re-worked for an online audience due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Alongside the debate there are a host of activities for staff and students, and also the public, to get involved in throughout the week. This includes the launch of a new accredited course on carbon literacy training, a talk on sustainable packaging, sessions on eating more sustainably, including a live cook-along, and activities focused on health and wellbeing. There are also sessions dedicated to the environment, including a biodiversity quiz for local scouts and an online workshop on how to make a wildflower seed bomb and a chance for participants to find out about how to reduce food waste and to reduce the amount that they discard that ends up in landfill.
Director of Sustainability, Katy Boom, said: “As a University we are committed to making a difference both as an institution leading the way on sustainability, but also by ensuring our students go out into the world with an awareness and skills about such issues. Though this year’s Go Green Week will be markedly different from previous years, we were determined to take advantage of doing things online and being able to reach a broader audience. We have been working closely with the Students’ Union to find fun and innovative ways to get the message about sustainable living out there and hope everyone will log on and get involved.
“We have witnessed the frightening impact of climate change over the last few years and the declared climate emergency means we must act before it’s too late. Hopefully the week will provide an opportunity for people to re-assess the way they live: what they buy, what they eat, how they travel, and where possible find sustainable alternatives. Even small changes by many can have a sizeable impact.”
The University of Worcester won Sustainability Institution of the Year at last year’s Green Gown Awards and is consistently ranked in the top five most sustainable universities in the country.
It was ranked in the top three UK universities for Quality Education, and the top 10 in the UK overall, in the prestigious Times Higher Education’s global University Impact Rankings last year. The rankings highlight the contribution made by universities around the world to achieving the internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which the United Nations adopted in 2016.
The University, in close partnership with the Students’ Union, has pioneered many initiatives to promote sustainability over the last 15 years, including student led projects in local schools to increase families recycling, piloting an e-bike share scheme, and practical changes such as introducing less energy intensive lighting and solar heated hot water.