UWE Bristol and its Students' Union to raise funds to plant forest size of Frenchay campus

Issue date: 28 November 2019

The University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) and The Students' Union at UWE have teamed up with Bristol charity The Converging World (TCW) with the aim of planting a forest that covers an area the size of its Frenchay campus.

UWE Bristol is asking its 30,000 students and 4,000 staff to make a donation that will enable the charity to plant the trees in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

This project aims to educate, empower and enable UWE Bristol students, staff and alumni to contribute to a movement that will help restore our planet to avoid the worst effects of climate change by planting trees the size of the campus.

For every £3.27 donated, the charity is able to plant a tree in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. TCW has estimated that if all 30,000 students and 4,000 staff donated enough to plant two trees, the campaign will have been a success.

The Wallscourt Foundation, an independent charitable foundation that supports education and learning at UWE Bristol, has also pledged to match fund donations raised up to £22,500.

Professor of Environmental Science and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Environment and Sustainability at UWE Bristol, James Longhurst, said: "I am delighted that we and The Converging World are collaborating on this important initiative that raises awareness about the impact of climate change whilst providing a very practical contribution to help minimise the effects.

"Trees provide a vitally important carbon sequestration role but equally offer many other biodiversity, cultural and spiritual benefits.

"UWE Bristol has set itself an ambitious target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030 - initiatives like this will help the university community as it undertakes the challenging journey to carbon neutrality."

Evan Botwood, the Students' Union at UWE's Vice-President for Societies and Communication, said: "UWE Bristol students are really engaged in sustainability and keen to take action in reducing our carbon footprint. Partnering with The Converging World is an easy choice, because they stand for both ecological and social justice."

TCW helps local communities by developing renewable energy in India, using the funds from the sale of electricity to restore forests as well as other social and environmental initiatives in India and the UK.

Molly Byrne, a UWE Bristol alumni, who studied geography and environmental management and graduated in 2016, now works for TCW. Molly has been a key liaison between TCW and the Students' Union in the development and launch of this campaign. Molly serves as a key contact for students engaging with TCW's The Forest the Size of Anywhere campaign.

Wendy Stephenson, CEO of TCW, said: "Nature based solutions are not high tech, yet they are the most cost effective way to address climate change and wellbeing. We believe that this project will give UWE Bristol students and staff the opportunity to demonstrate to the world how to engage in positive action through planting a forest the size of the Frenchay campus."

The Students' Union at UWE is recognised as the number one SU in the UK for sustainability, with the highest score in the NUS National Green Impact awards in 2017, 2018 and 2019, demonstrating how committed UWE Bristol students are to actively improving sustainability.

UWE Bristol students have made it known that environmental responsibility is a huge factor in their educational experience, and will pursue this campaign in the hope of creating a greener future. Donate here

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