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Our work to embed sustainability into the curriculum, supports the University's Citizen Student strategy of wanting to empower our students to become engaged citizens with the confidence to act for a more sustainable future in an increasingly uncertain world (Annual Review 2020, pg. 13)

Responsible Futures

We were part of the NUS' Responsible Futures pilot programme in 2014/15 and worked in partnership with Chester Students' Union to create an enabling environment for sustainability to thrive. We endeavour to bring together academic disciplines to create opportunities for students to work collaboratively and develop the skills and knowledge required to be part of the solution to our social, economic, and environmental challenges. The University achieved Working Towards Responsible Futures Accreditation following the student led audit in June 2020. 

At the University of Chester we adopted the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, Education for sustainable development guidance (2021) definition, which defines it as:

"the aim of supporting students from any discipline to acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills necessary to develop values and take actions to transition society towards sustainable futures"

At the University of Chester ESD is related to the:

  • Curriculum developing skills in responsible management, ethical consideration, and sustainable development.
  • Campus carbon management, key sustainability impacts and sustainable food.
  • Community workers' rights, ethical investments, and partnerships.
  • Cultures auditing of systems, human resource management for sustainability, empowering staff, and student engagement.

Chester Youth Climate Action Network

Chester Youth Climate Action Network (Chester Youth CAN) are a group of young adults with a passion to create positive impacts.  

They have three core aims:  

  • To help educate children and young people on environmental issues and help facilitate discussions around green skills and careers.  
  • To connect sustainability-conscious regional businesses and the local authority with a likeminded younger generation, focusing jointly on creating a greener, more prosperous future for Chester.  
  • To be an active and engaging presence at environment-focused events in Chester and the surrounding areas.    

The group was created in early 2022 and in the summer, led the Youth Conference Day at the Chester Green Expo. They delivered three workshops that addressed the urgent climate and nature crises in Cheshire, specifically focusing on businesses, energy use, and wildlife.  During a panel discussion with event sponsors (Encirc, Peel NRE, Scottish Power Energy Networks and NatWest) they considered the careers young people want to be available to them, to enable them to adopt both sustainable lives and livelihoods.   

The group is looking for volunteers to help deliver the 2023 Green Expo Youth Conference Day, if you are interested in joining, please emai Green Chester. You can also keep up to date with the group by following them on Instagram and Twitter

Embedding Sustainability

The Sustainability team, support delivery of sustainability sessions within various modules across a range of disciplines. This ranges from an introduction to what the team do, exploring the impact of day-to-day choices on our carbon footprint, to the sustainability of digital marketing. Some examples of how sustainability has been embedded within teaching are detailed below.

Chester Business School

The Chester Business School have integrated Carbon Literacy Training and environmental auditing into a final year module, Tourism Futures. When visiting local hotels and tourist destinations students apply skills developed in the classroom, to evaluate the opportunities to improve the environmental performance of the organisation. In 2020/21, the cohort completed Carbon Literacy training, and the success of this pilot led to a project to roll out Carbon Literacy Training to fellow students in 2021/22.

Computer Science

Computer Science students have been involved in a proposed project to restore the former Chester Hydroelectric Power station, which has been out of use for many years, back into use as a Sustainable Energy Visitor / Education Centre (Chester Hydro Hub).  A group of Level 5 Experiential Learning students designed, built and tested a prototype website and database for the centre, and Level 6 and MSc. dissertation students have designed, built and tested prototype designs for Virtual Reality exhibits.

Geography and International Development Studies

Each year the Sustainability Unit offers projects for students taking the final year module Sustainable Futures. Students apply theories of sustainability to real-life projects at the University or in the wider community. This year there are two projects; one is creating a sustainablility checklist for events and the other is researching transport accessability. 

Performing Arts/Art & Design

In February 2022, students from the Department of Music, Media and Performance put together a production called ‘Earthquakes in London’. The group worked with the University’s Waste and Recycling Officer to reuse materials to design the sets and reduce environmental impacts.

Further examples can be found in the 2021 Annual Review

Researching sustainability

The University of Chester is committed to the creation and exchange of knowledge that is significant and ethical, has a recognised impact, supports excellence, has the goal of creating an enriching vibrant academic community for students and staff and, through cocreation, co-production and co-development with stakeholders, creates opportunities for developing sustainable cultures and communities. As part of its research strategy, a number of Research and Knowledge Exchange Institutes were formed to support interdisciplinary working including the Sustainability and Environment Research and Knowledge Exchange Institute.

Eco-Innovation and Sustainable Futures PhD Studentships

There are a variety of PhD research projects focussing on aspects of sustainability including, recovering energy from waste plastics, carbon capture and remediation of acid tar pits are being conducted at the Eco-Innovation Centre on Thornton Science Park. Earlier this year, a PhD studentship was awarded to a project engaging religious perspectives on animal consumption as part of the development of the University's Sustainable Futures scheme. 

Work Experience

We are happy to host students from local high schools to complete a week's work experience if they have an interest in environmental management or broader sustainability. Please contact the Sustainability Team to discuss your ideas.