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Universities scoop International Green Gown Awards!

Can students solve our problems?

A new Award for university students solving the world big problems has just found winners in the UK and Fiji.

The winners of the International Green Gown Awards were announced on 30th March 2017 at the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges’ (EAUC) Annual Conference which took place at Lancaster University, United Kingdom. Winning tertiary education institutions from the regional awards in the: United Kingdom and Ireland; Australasia; French speaking regions
in Europe and Canada; and the Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability (GUPES) Green Gown Awards supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), went head-to-head to win these coveted International Green Gown Awards.

University of the West of England, Bristol (UK & Ireland) won the Continuous Improvement: Institutional Change Award with “Positive Footprint: Phase 2” and their inspiring project detailing their sustainability action plan from 2013-2020; Fiji National University, Fiji (Pacific) was awarded the Community Award for their “Our Climate-Smart Landscapes” project outlining watershed protection using agroforestry systems and soil conservation; and the Student Engagement Award went to a joint venture between the University of the West of England, Bristol and the University of Bristol (UK & Ireland) with their powerful cross university and cross sector partnership programme “Green Capital: Student Capital – Unleashing the power of Bristol’s Students”.

The bilingual Ceremony, hosted by Pauline Pingusson, Chef de projet Campus Responsables and delivery partner for Les Trophées des campus responsables, and Leanne Denby, President of ACTS and delivery partner for the Green Gown Awards Australasia, crowned the International Green Gown Awards winners with a video recording of the event available to the non-attending worldwide finalists.

A snapshot of what the judges thought about the International Green Gown Award Winners: University of the West of England, Bristol (UK & Ireland), Continuous Improvement: Institutional Change Award with “Positive Footprint: Phase 2”. Judges liked this application for its three strong facets: structure, scope and students! With its scale of impact it epitomised a whole institutional-wide approach, embracing all aspects and making it a very worthy winner. With strong methodologies and best practice across the sector, testing new approaches and activities, it offered an array of elements for global replication.”

Fiji National University, Fiji (Pacific), Community Award with “Our climate-smart landscapes: watershed protection using agroforestry systems and soil conservation to enhance community resilience to climate change in six upper watershed communities in Ba (Viti Levu) Fiji Islands”. Judges thought this was a superb example of empowering a community and respecting and making use of traditional knowledge, innovations and practices. Intelligent, local-based action promoted in the local community.

University of the West of England, Bristol and the University of Bristol (UK & Ireland), Student Engagement Award with “Green Capital: Student Capital – Unleashing the power of Bristol’s Students”. Judges thought this a dynamic city-wide project that had it all with high levels of student engagement, curricular and extra-curricular activity, and a direct impact on graduate employability. It clearly demonstrates a sustainable model for student engagement and is a very worthy winner. Partnership is the new leadership.”

More details on each of these remarkable projects, together with the full judges’ comments are to be found in the International Green Gown Awards Winners’ Brochure at www.greengownawards.org.

The International Green Gown Awards and UK and Ireland Green Gown Awards are delivered by the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) and its Chief Executive, Iain Patton, describes the importance of the International Green Gown Awards, “We have to find new ways of showing the world the power of education as a solution to our social and economic problems. These Awards tell the story of how young people are not only wanting to make the world a better place but rolling their sleeves up and doing it.”

The French-speaking Green Gown Awards is open to all French speaking universities and colleges, schools and specialised institutes in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Frenchspeaking Canada. Pauline Pingusson from Campus Responsables, delivery partner for the Frenchspeaking Green Gown Awards, says “Since 2014, Campus Responsables has been delivering the French-Speaking edition of the Green Gown Awards. French-speaking campuses are proud to be part of the Green Gown Awards community and to share their actions within this global movement. Thanks to the Awards, their ongoing efforts and meaningful impacts are widely known, shared and recognised.”

The Australasia Green Gown Awards, delivered by Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS) since 2010, President Leanne Denby says “ACTS is delighted to be a part of the International Green Gown Awards; a truly fabulous mechanism for recognising and rewarding the excellent work of institutions from across the globe. The Awards highlight the amazing efforts of the sector, demonstrating that tertiary education is committed to sustainability and plays an important role in changing unsustainable paradigms and thinking.”

Building on this momentum, and the signing of a unique agreement with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), this expanded the International Green Gown Awards further across the globe with an emphasis on profiling and learning from the Southern Hemisphere. The Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability (GUPES) Green Gown Awards were launched in 2016 and this exciting partnership has put universities and colleges as leaders in sustainability as well as being able to continue their learning from global leaders. Jaime Alexandra Webbe, Chief, Environmental Education and Training Unit, UN Environment says ”The UN Environment Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability (GUPES) network of over 800 universities and colleges is excited to recognise exceptional higher education institutions as leaders in sustainability. The GUPES Green Gown Awards provide an opportunity to learn from global leaders in higher education sustainability while inspiring others in the sector to promote innovation, commitment and passion for a sustainable future.”

The International Green Gown Awards recognise exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by further and higher education institutions. The Awards are judged by an esteemed panel of sector representatives and experts in their own field. The judging criteria is based on the sustainability projects as a whole with the deciding factor being the project with the largest scale of impact.

An overview of International Winners and Finalists:

Continuous Improvement: Institutional Change
University of the West of England, Bristol (United Kingdom) – International Winner
Finalists
INP Ensat (France)
University of Technology Sydney (Australasia)

Community
Fiji National University, Fiji (Pacific) – International Winner
Finalists
Burgundy School of Business (France)
The University of Queensland (Australasia)
Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador (Latin America)
University of Salford (United Kingdom)

Student Engagement
University of the West of England, UWE and University of Bristol (United Kingdom) – International
Winner
Finalists
Aix Marseille University (France)
Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden (Europe)
Glasgow School of Art (Small Institution) (United Kingdom)
University of British Columbia, Canada (North America)
University of Waikato, New Zealand (Australasia)

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