Sustainability at the University of Leeds

The University of Leeds has been recognised at the International Sustainable Campus Network and has won the ISCN award for embedding a collaborative approach to sustainability across all aspects of the university curriculum. In 2020, the University of Leeds achieved joint 3rd in UK and 11th globally out of 766 institutions for our contribution and impact on advancing sustainability as part of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

University Initiatives

Striving to ensure that students study in a sustainable environment throughout their time at the University of Leeds, unique and interesting opportunities are offered that benefit their students as well as the wider environment including:

  • Student sustainability architects – These are opportunities for paid employment working with the university to implement sustainability initiatives.
  • Volunteering – This allows students to gain skills such as industry knowledge of sustainability in practice, the experience of community engagement, an insight into effective engagement and communication methods and more!
  • Leeds Sustainable Curriculum – The opportunity for anyone to learn about sustainability as part of their degree regardless of their study discipline is offered.
  • The university has its core 7 Principles to addressing the climate crisis.
  • Global issues are supported by the university’s plastics pledge.
  • The unique Bike Hub is where students and staff can hire bikes and learn how to get theirs repaired.
  • Schools and services work on unique sustainability action plans called Blueprints – which students can get involved with.

The University of Leeds currently has ten sites involved in the national Green Tourism accreditation scheme and is regarded as a Green Tourism Ambassador. The university is ISO 14001 accredited for its Environmental Management System across the university, including Residential Services. Recognised for its work in sustainability and Residential Services in particular, a blog on the University of Leeds’ work was featured on the Green Tourism website which can be found by clicking here.

In Residential Services, the university has produced and shared the ‘Sustainable Living Guide’ to all residents, which provides information and further links for each main aspect of sustainability associated with living in university accommodation. The guide also provides some images of what initiatives the university has already undertaken including their popular volunteer activities with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

The University of Leeds is a corporate member of both the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. Student and staff volunteers have the opportunity of going out into the countryside around Leeds and the Aire Valley six times each year! This activity proves very popular with international students and has so far resulted in students from 39 different countries taking part in the last three years. The university has been recognised for its success in sustainability by being featured in an issue of ‘Transform’ magazine which you can view by clicking here.

Students from the the university have benefitted from volunteering in a number of ways and have commented about the opportunity of taking part in these activities:

I would recommend this event to anyone who wants to see sustainability in practice, build a sense of community and find purpose beyond the classroom. I appreciate that I was able to learn from active professionals who are passionate about something I care deeply for.

Being part of the Wild Work Volunteer Day with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust was one of the best volunteering activities that I’ve participated in. It was a really fulfilling experience as I had an opportunity to contribute to the sustainability efforts in Yorkshire and it was great to meet and interact with new people. I appreciate the staff from the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust for passionately sharing their knowledge and I commend the University of Leeds for creating an opportunity for us students for such a worthwhile cause.

Students and staff from the University of Leeds building leaky dams as part of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme

Students and staff from the University of Leeds building leaky dams as part of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme

About the University of Leeds

Established in 1904, the University of Leeds is one of the UK’s largest universities, world-famous for its teaching and research and located in the heart of a vibrant, affordable, and student-friendly city. The University of Leeds, which is a member of the prestigious Russell Group, has a student population of over 38,000 students from over 170 different countries. Click here to find out more about the University of Leeds.

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