Invitation to the launch of our Good Practice Guide on Engaging Students with Sustainability through Service Learning.

Invitation to the launch of our Good Practice Guide on Engaging Students with Sustainability through Service Learning.

The YU Good Practice Guide for Engaging Students with Sustainability through Service Learning has been produced following completion of a pilot project funded by the UPP Foundation and we’re launching it online on the 24th of June.

Service Learning refers to educational experience based upon a collaborative partnership between a university and the community. Through a range of intra-curricular and extra-curricular approaches students can apply academic knowledge and critical thinking skills to meet genuine community needs.

The Guide pulls together examples of good practice across the twelve member institutions of YU and explores the extent to which sustainability is embedded into curricula. We found evidence of significant dedication to sustainability across all twelve member institutions, demonstrated in their curriculum approaches. Our findings underscore universities’ engagement in activities that benefit their local communities, offering students valuable real-world opportunities and experiential learning.

Through the YU-UPP project, each YU member institution was awarded £1,000 to use towards enabling or boosting sustainability service-learning. Across the twelve institutions, these funds were used to deliver a range of activities, including prize money for a sustainability challenge activity; establishing a Student Sustainability Society; supporting student internships or employment; producing resources, materials and insights; and running fieldwork projects. Feedback from member institutions demonstrates that a relatively modest amount of funding can deliver a significant positive impact.

The funding also enabled YU to host a Multi-University Challenge Day for the first time in our operation. The event brought together students from across the twelve HEIs who were asked to develop responses to a challenge jointly set with the Yorkshire & Humber Climate Commission (YHCC). The topic of the challenge directly aligned with the YHCC Regional Climate Action Plan priority on advancing education and engagement. In this Guide, we present insights on what works, including:

  • Collaboration with external partners to embed positive impacts beyond the university;
  • Amplifying the student voice and student engagement within the curriculum;
  • Presenting opportunities that have a clear link to employment and / or employability skills for students;
  • Providing authentic opportunities to address real-life challenges; and
  • Developing student personal experiences.

Through this project, we found that there is significant value for universities in working in partnership to address sustainability challenges through Service Learning. We also discovered that community partners benefit from a diverse range of student perspectives in tackling sustainability challenges, and that providing small amounts of funding can help to engage a wider range of students who would otherwise not have got involved in sustainability activities. The resources and activities delivered through this project have helped to build capacity for engagement with sustainability among both students and staff.

We have used the lessons learned through this project in the development of this Guide, which is intended for universities which are at the start of their journey and are considering engaging with sustainability through service learning.

You’re invited to join us on the 24th of June to the launch of this guide where you’ll hear from staff and student involved in the project activity and who will share insights on:

  • new skills and opportunities arising through engaging with this project.
  • the added value of piloting and working in a partnership
  • how did this project helped think about future interventions and priorities.

Speakers include:

Join us for the launch event on MS Teams on 24 June between 4-5pm.

You can download a copy of the Good Practice Guide for Engaging Students with Sustainability through Service Learning here

  • Share this post: