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UCA students beat national average for ‘green living'

Go Green Week (Monday 8 – Saturday 13 February 2016) is an annual national week of action organised by People and Planet and supported by the National Union of Students to promote sustainability within the university experience, our lives and around the world. This year over 50 universities across the country participated in Go Green Week, including UCA. 

At UCA, we're committed to reducing the environmental impact of our activities to become a more sustainable organisation, and we're actively working to promote sustainability through our teaching, research and operations. Our Student’s Union and The Centre for Sustainable Design, based at our Farnham campus, have been enthusiastically promoting Go Green Week across all of our campus communities. 

As part of Go Green Week, Scott Keiller from The Centre for Sustainable Design delivered a presentation on the findings of a recent UCA-wide survey which looked at our students’ and staff’s attitudes toward sustainability. The survey found that the number of students and staff at UCA who take an active interest in sustainability and consider themselves to live a ‘green’ lifestyle far exceeds the national average (as reported in a 2014 HEA NUS survey). According to this survey, only 58% of students in the UK consider themselves to lead ‘green’ lifestyles, the UCA-wide survey found that an impressive 80% of our students believe they do.

It was also found that our students and staff are more likely to want to do more to help the environment than students studying elsewhere in the UK – with 75% of our students wanting to do more compared to 58% of non-UCA students. Respondents from UCA also surpassed the national average in terms of their desire to learn more about sustainability, with 72% claiming they wanted to increase their knowledge, compared to 62% of students from other universities across the UK.

“We're seeing a growing interest in sustainability issues amongst young people. We now need to create new solutions to tackle the global challenges of climate change, waste and pollution. The creative industries sector and its students have a key role to play in developing a more sustainable future,” says Professor Martin Charter, Director of The Centre for Sustainable Design and Chair of our Environmental and Social Sustainability Working Group. 

Our Students’ Union also works hard to promote sustainability at UCA and has hosted a number of environmentally friendly activities throughout Go Green Week.

“We encourage students to think about sustainable development – which is development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs," says Vanessa Silva, Clubs and Societies Co-ordinator. "The Students’ Union is committed to engaging students in different areas and highlight the importance of issues such as climate change, fossil fuels and healthy living. 

“Sustainability is incredibly extensive and can be applied to every topic, so we tried to put on a range of events which touch on the three main aspects of sustainability which are economic, environmental and social. Students have had the chance to get involved in a great project run by a UCA PhD student based at The Centre for Sustainable Design that is focused creating art from ocean waste, or even learn how to grow their own food on campus by joining the Secret Gardeners Society.”

To find out more about The Centre for Sustainable Design and to access a range of free resources built up over its 20 years of operation, visit its website.