Student news

Awards celebrate sustainability 'superheroes'

The achievements of staff and students 'superheroes' were celebrated at the eighth annual University of Edinburgh Sustainability Awards.

2018 SRS staff and student workshop illustration

More than 150 people from across the University joined senior staff and student representatives in the Playfair Library for the eighth University of Edinburgh Sustainability awards, celebrating the achievements of more than 50 teams and a few individuals who had succeeded in winning a sustainability award from one of five categories.

The Sustainability Awards recognise staff and students who make a difference and contribute towards the University becoming more socially responsible and sustainable. 

"One year ago, I was very happy when the University, in recognition of the seriousness of climate change challenge, agreed the ambitious goal to become carbon neutral by 2040." said Professor Lesley McAra, Assistant Principal Community Relations, as she opened the ceremony. 

"There is no doubt that the dedicated efforts of our staff, students and partnership working will be essential to deliver the programmes that will ensure we achieve our visions of being a socially responsible and sustainable university."

Office Awards

Hugh Edmiston, Director of Corporate Services, presented these staff focused awards.

11 teams have received Office Awards for 2017. 13 teams also carried over their awards from last year as part of the two-year accreditation.

To achieve an Office Award, participants must promote sustainable ways of working and follow resource-efficient practices. This year’s winners successfully completed criteria across a range of social responsibility and sustainability themes including energy saving, sustainable travel, responsible purchasing and staff wellbeing.

Gold level recognises exemplary teams that designed and implemented a unique project with a demonstrable sustainability impact.

See full list of Office Awards winners and awards carried over

Lab Awards

Five lab teams participated in 2017. In addition to this, seven other teams carried over their awards from last year as part of the two-year accreditation.

To achieve a Lab Award, participating teams demonstrated compliance with a wide range of sustainable lab practices including efficient use of fume cupboards, management of chemicals and samples, and reducing waste, water and energy consumption.

See full list of Lab Awards winners and awards carried over

Student Awards

Ollie Glick, Vice President Community for Edinburgh University Students' Association, presented the student awards, which recognise student groups and societies who have promoted social responsibility and sustainability in the University community through their learning and extra-curricular activities.

  • The Buchanan Institute: researched and developed a policy brief on social responsibility across the further and higher education sector, and hosted the Edinburgh Sustainable Innovation Conference at McEwan Hall
  • Edinburgh University Sports Union: single used plastic project, with 750 water bottles made from biodegradable plastics given to students
  • Enactus: The Sanitree Project, launched in 2017 by a handful of students involved in Enactus Edinburgh, is a social enterprise, tackling period poverty and reducing period stigma in rural India.
  • Hunter Square Group: These students contributed ideas on how to transform Hunter Square into a safer and more dynamic space for the local community.
  • Do EdinburghLaunched in February 2018 as a month-long competition between student societies, the aim was to encourage students to make pledges around sustainable behaviours.
  • University of Edinburgh Futsal Club: This society participated in the ‘Do Edinburgh’ competition and secured the most pledges from its students, with close to 500 pledges. 

Student Residence Awards

Students from Shrubhill Halls win one of the 1st gold student residence awards presented by Vice President Community Ollie Glick
Shrubhill won one of the first ever Gold Student Residence Awards

The residence award is an accreditation scheme that encourages students to work with the University to establish better practices in their halls.

22 teams participated in the third year of this scheme, more than double the number who did last year. A total of 184 students took part, promoting sustainability and outreaching to over 6,000 student residents in halls. 

This year also saw the first ever gold awards, with three teams achieving the most challenging level.

  • Brae House (bronze)
  • David Horn House (bronze)

  • Fraser Court (bronze)
  • Kitchener House (bronze)
  • Murano (bronze)
  • Ratcliffe Terrace (bronze)
  • Richmond Place and Roxburgh Place (bronze)
  • South Clerk Street, East Newington Place and Hermits Croft (bronze)
  • Baird House (silver)
  • Buccleuch Place and Buccleuch Place Lane (silver)

  • Darroch Court and Morgan Court (silver)
  • Grant House (silver)
  • John Burnett House (silver)
  • Kincaid's Court and College Wynd (silver)
  • Riego Street (silver)
  • Sciennes and Ascham Court (silver)
  • Salisbury Court (silver)
  • Warrander Park Road and Crescent (silver)
  • West Mains Road(silver)
  • Deaconess and New Arthur Place (gold)
  • Holyrood (gold)
  • Shrubhill (gold)

Special Awards

Staff from Sport and Exercise win a special award for their Make Your Move campaign, presented by the rector Ann Henderson
Staff from Sport and Exercise win a special award for their Make Your Move campaign, presented by rector Ann Henderson

The Special Awards celebrate dedicated people and innovative projects and ideas that take the University much closer to fulfilling our environmental and ethical objectives.

This year winners had organised projects that cut energy consumption by 20%, got thousands of staff and students moving, and enabled hundreds of computers to be reused rather than thrown away.

  • Institute of Genetic and Molecular Medicine: Energy Engagement
  • Sports & Exercise: Make Your Move Challenge
  • Fiona Carmichael: Championing the PC Reuse Project

Sustainability Awards 2018

If you're interested in learning how your area of the University can scoop a Sustainability Award, read our awards pages for all of the information you need.

Learn more about the Sustainability Awards