Award celebrates the social impact of two University projects

The University of Manchester last night won a national award for two of its projects which inform staff and students about sustainability and provide a positive impact on the local community and beyond.

At a national awards ceremony, the Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE) gave Manchester their Whole Institutional Sustainability Engagement award for two projects – 10,000 Actions and the Sustainability Challenge.

The Sustainability Challenge was rolled out across campus last September with around 5,000 new students assembling into probably the largest project team in history. Their mission was to work together to design a new campus for the fictional ‘University of Millchester’.

Working in groups with people they often hadn’t met before, the students had to incorporate costs and energy efficiency, while paying attention to the needs of the local community. Ultimately the aim was to learn more about the issues around energy, community relations and social responsibility, and to develop leadership skills.

The other project, 10,000 Actions, is for University staff and encourages everyone to learn about the key issues of sustainability such as travel, responsible purchasing and energy, and the actions they can take to make a big difference through an innovative online tool. More than 20,000 actions which range from cycling to work to joining local environmental groups have been pledged and many carried out since the scheme launched in November.

Emma Gardner, Head of Environmental Sustainability at the University said: “Socially responsible action is one of the key objectives of the University. These projects are part of how we translate that ideal to real action.

“Through 10,000 Actions and the Sustainability Challenge, our staff and students are learning skills and taking action that makes Manchester and beyond better for everyone. These are two key social responsibility signature programmes focused on sustainability, so it is particularly pleasing to them recognised in this way.”

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