Four prizes as UWE Bristol is star performer at Green Gown Awards 2016

Issue date: 11 November 2016

The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) has further strengthened its green credentials by winning four prizes at a national award ceremony recognising exceptional sustainability initiatives.

UWE Bristol was the top performing UK university at the Green Gown Awards 2016, claiming the top honours in four categories and earning highly commended status in two others.

Representatives from the university – shortlisted for seven awards - were called to the stage to collect accolades in the Continuous Improvement, Learning and Skills, Student Engagement, and Leadership categories in front of an audience of almost 400 sustainability leaders at a ceremony in Leicester's Cultural Quarter last night.

UWE Bristol earned the Continuous Improvement: Institutional Change award for Positive Footprint, its sustainability aims for 2013-2020. Judges praised the university's plan for showing clear evidence of an institution-wide approach, senior leadership, and real and sustained progress over a long period.

In the Leaning and Skills category, the university triumphed with its Our Green City: Global Challenges, Bristol Solutions project. The free six-week online course explored challenges faced by cities in relation to food, nature, transport, resources and energy. Organisers said the entry was 'clear winner on judges' scorecards across the board'.

A joint project with the University of Bristol which saw students donate more than 100,000 hours to sustainable activities as part of Bristol's year as European Green Capital received the award in the Student Engagement category. It was described by judges as a 'beacon' for the potential contribution universities could make to their host cities.

Professor Jim Longhurst, Assistant Vice-Chancellor for Environment & Sustainability at UWE Bristol, was presented with the Leadership award. He was singled out for his work to transform the university's engagement with the environment and sustainability agenda, embed the consideration of sustainability in to the University's business decisions, educational offering and estate management and for his interactions with local communities.

Of Jim's win, UWE Bristol's Vice-Chancellor Steve West, said: “UWE is committed to embedding sustainability in everything we do particularly within the curricula. The award of a Leadership Green Gown will be welcome external recognition of our efforts and, in particular, the excellent leadership role that Jim has played in our journey towards becoming a sustainable university.”

UWE Bristol's Students' Union was highly commended in the Student Engagement category for its #ThinkGreenBeGreat campaign while UWE Bristol earned the same recognition in the Built Environment category for its Soft Landings: Keeping it REAL project, an approach to refurbishing the courtyard at its Bower Ashton campus.

Established in 2004, the awards recognise sustainability excellence by universities, colleges and the learning and skills sectors across the UK and Ireland. This year, there were 21 winners and 26 highly commended entries from 115 finalists representing 1.5 million students and 240,000 staff.

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