University and Winchester Student Union win award for embedding sustainability and social responsibility into curriculum

25 Jan 2022

The University of Winchester and Winchester Student Union have been awarded the National Union of Students (NUS) Responsible Futures accreditation for the second time. The accreditation reflects their shared commitment to embedding sustainability and social responsibility in teaching and other activities.

The award recognises the partnership between the University and Winchester Student Union to promote education for sustainable development, to equip students with the knowledge, skills and values to challenge the world around them and tackle social, economic and environmental issues.

The audit report highlighted areas of strength, including developing partnerships and relationships with key stakeholders; proactively engaging with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, and making sufficient resources available to students and staff. It also identified areas for improvement to continue developing as a sustainable institution.

Professor Sarah Greer, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Winchester, said: "Shaping education is fundamental to shaping society and, in partnership with Winchester Student Union, we are committed to fostering an environment where education for sustainability and social justice forms part of every Winchester student's experience while they are studying here. Gaining re-accreditation for Responsible Futures highlights our strong partnership with the Student Union in ensuring sustainability is embedded across the institution."

Responsible Futures offers a framework and certification of a whole institution's commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. The accreditation followed an audit led by students trained by the NUS.

"The University of Winchester is delighted to be able to renew this vital accreditation," said Dr Simon Boxley, Head of the University's Centre for Climate Change Action and Education. "We have been enthusiastic advocates for the Responsible Futures change programme since its inception. In 2022, as we hopefully move beyond the pandemic, it is the right time to use the spur of this re-accreditation to redouble our efforts to embed sustainability within all aspects of the staff and student experience here at Winchester."

Dan Chevalier, Winchester Student Union Vice-President, Education and Welfare, said: "It is great news to see the work of both Winchester Student Union and the University of Winchester recognised in the results of the audit, with our students at the core of this process. Now looking forward, we must take student voice and the recommendations into account as we look to continue to improve sustainability at the University."

Since its launch by NUS in 2014, 30 institutions have worked with their students' unions across the UK to take part in Responsible Futures, demonstrating their commitment to creating an environment where education for sustainable development can thrive. Responsible Futures is now hosted by and led by Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS-UK), formerly NUS sustainability team.

SOS-UK and NUS aim to see students leave formal education with the knowledge, skills, attributes, and values required to critically challenge the world around them, and a desire and willingness to tackle social, economic, and environmental issues and inequalities.

Larissa Kennedy SOS-UK and NUS National President commented: "Congratulations to the University of Winchester and Winchester Student Union on this fantastic achievement! Thank you for your commitment to empowering students to access the skills and knowledge they need to forge a more sustainable education system and more sustainable world."

Photo on landing page (left to right): Dan Chevalier; Anna Wyse, Environmental and Sustainability Manager, and Dr Simon Boxley.

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