Yorkshire Universities (YU) has been awarded £20,000 funding by the UPP Foundation to pilot a regional sustainability service-learning project. Ours is one of the eight pilot initiatives the UPP Foundation invested over £160,000 in. Funding was awarded to schemes which support student and graduate success for disadvantaged and underrepresented groups, and for initiatives which support universities’ efforts to embed environmental sustainability within their local communities.
The YU project will establish multi-university collaborative task & finish group to audit existing work within the twelve member institutions, scope out a brokerage network between communities and university students to help solve local environmental sustainability challenges, and share the case studies and learning with a wider audience.
This pilot project builds on two unique regional networks for collaboration:
- The YU Supporting Graduates Implementation Group (GIG) that brings together a range of stakeholders across and beyond the higher education sector and who have co-developed and endorsed a plan to support graduate employment and employability in the region with a set of priorities and recommended actions.
- The Yorkshire & Humber Climate Commission (YHCC) brings together actors from the public, private and third sectors to support and guide ambitious climate actions across the region. The Yorkshire and Humber Climate Action Plan, which was co-created by Commissioners, panellists and members of the public, sets out actions for organisations across the region to collectively deliver.
The project activity will not only contribute to implementing our report priorities but will help connect students and their work to the bigger picture. The task & finish group will design and issue a ‘Certificate of Achievement and Contribution to the Delivery of the Regional Climate Action Plan’ to student participating in the pilot recognising the achievements and how their actions support broader impact across the region.
Monika Antal, Assistant Director of Yorkshire Universities said:
“We are excited to learn and showcase modes of engagement from across the region and to bring together multi-disciplinary teams of students to enhance their sense of belonging with their communities, as part of this place-based scheme. We see this pilot as a unique opportunity and example of the higher education sector directly supporting regional climate action. It is offering a trailblazing model.”
Rosa Foster, Co-Director of Yorkshire & Humber Climate Commission, said:
“Delivering Yorkshire and Humber’s Climate Action Plan requires dedicated team effort, so we are excited to see this project helping link university students with the regional climate agenda.
This project will engage students from diverse backgrounds, studying a wide range of subject matters – exactly what is needed to ensure our climate and nature goals are delivered in a fair and inclusive way.”
The five key stages of our 15-month project (running between the end of January 2023 and end of March 2024):
1. Audit the ways in which students can or are engaging with the sustainability agenda through service learning across the twelve YU member institutions.
2. Scope the brokerage network and explore ways in which the following relationships could be joined up in a systemic way:
- Within institutions and their employer contacts – between departments and faculties to be better informed of each other’s work and to reveal further collaboration opportunities with external partners and enhance relationships with local authorities and the third sector.
- Across institutions and their employer contacts – among external engagement officers across the region’s universities to share experience and to reveal further opportunities for collaboration and knowledge exchange and to share enquiries.
3. Pilot challenges
- Within institutions – by funding £1k challenges for service learning across each of the twelve institutions around a feasible task meeting a community sustainability need. Where possible we encourage teams to form across departments, to allow students to work in multi-disciplinary teams and pool different skills.
- Across institutions – to trial a £3k multi-university community consultancy team and/or project with students from 3+ institutions: enabling them to meet new people and work together, build new networks and relationships on the sustainability aspect of a local or regional challenge which will be set with the help of the YHCC.
Those completing either of these pilot challenges will be issued a ‘Certificate of Achievement and Contribution to the Delivery of the Regional Climate Action Plan’ detailing the green skills used and developed to increase awareness of employability skills students can articulate to employers. This certificate will be endorsed by YU and the YHCC.
4. Collate an online repository
To be hosted by YU aiming to serve two main purposes:
- Showcasing modes of engagement in sustainability service learning (from step 1) and case studies (from step 3) for an awareness raising campaign, to demonstrate what’s possible by working with a diverse range of students and universities.
- Gathering multi-media reflections or testimonials of individual experience that could help improve an internal service at a university and provide learning for capacity building, thereby helping to co-design future initiatives.
For more information contact: Monika Antal, Assistant Director at Yorkshire Universities
NOTE TO EDITORS
Yorkshire Universities (YU) has a shared commitment to strengthen the contribution of universities and higher education institutions to the economic, social and civic well-being of people and places in Yorkshire. The twelve member institutions of YU are: Leeds Arts University; Leeds Conservatoire; Leeds Beckett University; Leeds Trinity University; Sheffield Hallam University; University of Bradford; University of Huddersfield; University of Hull; University of Leeds; University of Sheffield; University of York; and York St John University.
Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission (YHCC) launched in March 2021, as part of the Place-based Climate Action Network and supported by the Yorkshire Leaders Board. The Commission is an independent advisory group that brings together public, private and third sector actors to support, guide and track the delivery of ambitious climate actions across the region.
Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission’s aims are to advance the region’s climate leadership and to accelerate climate resilient, net-zero development through an inclusive and just transition. Read an overview here