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Sustainable Development Team empower student-led sustainable initiatives

Here at Nottingham Trent University, we are very proud of the work we do to empower our students to tackle issues they see around them head-on, while learning practical skills that maximise their employability.

Student Enterprise Week winners
Enterprise Week winners

As one of the most sustainable universities in the world (according to the UI GreenMetric), NTU is at the forefront of researching and implementing innovative solutions to some of the biggest issues facing the world today, such as climate change and the need for sustainable consumption by a growing global population.

There are several initiatives throughout the year, which combine these two crucial themes. We identify, reward and support the best ideas our students have for tackling issues of sustainability, both here at the University and further afield.

The first happens during Enterprise Week, a collaboration between the Students’ Union (NTSU), The Hive and NTU’s Sustainable Development Team. This is a week of events and workshops, geared towards supporting and inspiring students to come up with their best business ideas. This culminates in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style event, where students pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges. The Sustainable Development Team provided £2,000 for the best sustainable ideas. This year, the overall winner for the ‘Green Dragon’ award went to two first-year students who devised a brilliant ‘Bandersnatch’-style immersive video game. This allows the user to get a taste for what it is like as a school student experiencing cyber-bullying, and also covers themes such as gender identity and mental health. Their idea tackles a series of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from SDG 3 Good Health and Wellbeing, to SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities. This idea was completely their own, and plans for the launch of the game are now well-underway, part-funded by NTU’s Sustainable Development Team. Watch this space! Students were also awarded for ideas around providing employment to survivors of domestic abuse in India, and implementing new technology to harness kinetic energy from our rivers.

The next event is Green Leaders, another collaboration between the NTSU and the Sustainable Development Team. This event focuses on issues closer to home. Students are asked to devise practical solutions to improve sustainability at NTU, based on their experience. With £1,000 of funding provided by the Sustainable Development Team on offer, students are again given the opportunity to present their idea to a panel of judges. The first winning idea this year was for a natural dye-garden on the City campus of NTU, providing a practical teaching resource for the School of Art & Design. This idea centres on the need for more sustainable fashion and aims to demonstrate how the production of textile dyes could have a lower environmental impact.

The second winning idea was based on the idea that it only takes 21 days of a repetitive action to establish a habit. The project aims to encourage sustainable behaviours in students at NTU by establishing them during a short challenge, where sustainable behaviours are rewarded with prizes.

Finally, the Sustainable Development Team has worked with several academic colleagues to empower students to offer their sustainable solutions through a series of events, such as the Business School’s Sea Change Event. Through this event, first year students came up with a brilliant new tagline to help us to encourage recycling across our campuses. Keep a look out for this, coming to a bin near you soon!

We want to say a big thank you to all the students who have helped us to find new and exciting ways to keep improving our sustainability credentials and to reduce our impact on the World. Together, we can create a culture of sustainable development here at NTU!

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