In 2017, the University and the Students’ Union entered into a partnership, through the NUS Responsible Futures Programme, with a shared commitment to embed sustainability and social responsibility across the formal and informal curriculum. Whilst the Futures Initiative began this work in 2011, this was an excellent opportunity to take part in a supported national programme with the Students’ Union.
In May 2019 the partnership underwent its first Responsible Futures Audit over a two-day period, which was carried out by four of our students, under the guidance of the NUS Responsible Futures Lead. Whilst the final report has not been received, an indicative score of 232 has been achieved (max 330), which is 32 points above the threshold for accreditation. The small but dedicated team of students learned considerably through the process, and below are some of their comments:
“The partnership has been an enigmatic and dynamic force that has been determined and driven to achieve their goals.”
“I have enjoyed finding out more about what the university does and the impact that it has on sustainability and the wider community outreach and effects.”
“Surprised me how much I enjoyed [the audit] and how much I learned from it. My skills developed and I believe that these will be transferable into the professional work place and beyond university life.”
“I have been surprised by how my own views of sustainability have changed… [and] …pleasantly surprised by how much the university has done to make a positive impact with the Responsible Futures project.”
Ellie Martin from the Students’ Union said: “This has been an amazing period, when relationships between the SU, Sustainability Office and Student Green Office have really become embedded. The partnership goes from strength to strength and we feel that we are really responding to student demand for sustainability to be embedded within their courses”.