Social Responsibility and Sustainability

Green Communities

Staff and students have the opportunity to make our campus more green and work with the local Edinburgh community to improve biodiversity.

Union canal, image credit: Eve Redhead

Why is green space important for local communities?

Interactions and communities are important not only in terms of the conservation of nonhuman organisms but also in terms of health and wellbeing.

Human health relies on ecological systems and species within them. Physical and psychological wellbeing has also been linked to contact with biodiversity or nature.

The University’s Green Communities programme meets this need by providing staff and students with opportunities to green campuses and to participate in community projects in Edinburgh.

Five strands

  1. Local food growing on campuses for staff and students, taking ideas from both staff and students. Nature-friendly food growing on campus
  2. Growing, gardening and guided nature walks for student wellbeing in collaboration with the Wellbeing Centre, Chaplaincy and SRUC.
  3. Realising student living lab projects in collaboration with staff (e.g. carbon capture gardens). Living lab projects
  4. Tree planting of student/staff legacy forests as part of the Woodland Trust's Big Climate Fightback, and with future collaboration with the Centre for Sustainable Forests and Landscapes.
  5. Edinburgh community engagement – supporting local groups through living lab projects and through staff and student volunteering including but not limited to garden development and maintenance, establishing UoE Friends of Edinburgh Green Spaces; using the community grant scheme and microgrants from the Research and Policy Manager (Climate Resilience and Biodiversity) to fund some activities. Community grants

2022 projects

  • Greening project along the Union Canal

  • Field Group biodiversity pond student engagement

  • Student-led night survey for hedgehogs at Pollock Halls and Peffermill Playing Fields

The programme will be developed further in the spring and summer of 2022.