Into University: Wildlife Friendly Garden Student Design Project

Into University: Wildlife Friendly Garden Student Design Project

The Sustainability Service have begun working with IntoUniversity Primary Student Council on a very exciting new project to support the students in designing and campaigning for a wildlife friendly outdoor learning garden on a patch of greenspace at the Beeston Centre. IntoUniversity provides local learning centres where young people are inspired to achieve, the centres offer an innovative programme that supports young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to attain either a university place or another chosen aspiration.

So far, we have run 2 workshops as part of the co-design interactive design process we are following to work alongside the students to create the final scheme proposals. We began with biodiversity bingo to get the Student Council thinking about the different types of habitat that they could design in their garden to attract a variety of urban wildlife. The students then worked in project teams and started to sketch out 2D design layouts. This included mapping out which elements would be included in their designs to create an exciting wildlife friendly space including bug hotels, bee friendly flowers, bird boxes, fruit trees, compost patches, vegetable beds, hedges and trees. The students were also keen that the space could also be used an outdoor classroom space which they could use when coming to the Centre for their academic support sessions.

On Friday, our workshop helped to develop the student designs ideas further with an interactive 3D elements workshop based on ‘planning for real’ principles, modelling 3D design from the 2D garden layout maps. The idea was to ‘test out’ design ideas for real and see if they really worked when modelled in 3D elements. We put our crafty creative skills to work with the children to create trees with sponge and cocktail sticks, ponds and reed beds from felt and tissue paper, bug hotels with lolly sticks and lots more! We were so impressed with how creative and diverse the ideas were and we think we have found some very talented landscape designers at the Into University Beeston Centre.

The next steps for this project are for the final design to be created based on the merging all of the student ideas and supporting the IntoUniversity primary and secondary school councils with a fundraising campaign to help get the project on the ground. It’s very exciting and something we are looking forward to being a part of!

Here are some photos from the workshops:

 

Photos: IntoUniversity students working on their designs in 2D & 3D elements co-design workshops. Credit: IntoUniversity.

Student Conference on Sustainable Futures 2017

On Friday 3rd February 2017, The University of Leeds hosted its first Student Conference on Sustainable Futures – Sustainable Perspectives on Future Challenges. The event highlighted the rich diversity of sustainability research and curricular projects, from students at all levels, across all disciplines.
With over 100 delegates and 40 student presenters representing every faculty, the day was filled with a medley of posters, talks and conversation workshops covering such topics as; using biomimicry to reduce the need for unsustainable textile dyes, integrating low carbon energy solutions for remote rural areas, analysing extinction rates in marine micro-organisms, and tackling social inequalities in accessing higher education.
To open the event Professor Tom Ward – Deputy Vice Chancellor for Student Education, delivered an inspiring introduction to the importance of embedding sustainability at Leeds and its place in everyone’s lives. He commented –
“This agenda will shape your future, be part of the sustainability society.”

Following a quick coffee and with twitter hashtags at the ready, attendees made their way to Parkinson Court where student’s posters, art pieces, and digital presentations were being displayed. It was amazing! Engineers were talking with artists, biologists  conversing with sociologists, business students debating with geographers. The room was echoing with collaborative discussions.
The exhibition was open all day, drawing in passer-bys with photos of Antarctic expeditions, videos of magnified crystals depicting Earth’s finite resources, and posters detailing some of the future global challenges we face.

A busy hour of oral presentations was next on the agenda, kicking off with sessions covering aspects of sustainability within Cities, Communication, Society, and Biodiversity. Ample time for questions from the audience allowed discussions to breathe and gave presenters an insight into the minds of non-specialists on their subject.

A vegetarian feast of locally sourced, low carbon grub provided by Great Food at Leeds, awaited the rumbling stomachs of the conference crowd. The delicious spread hit the spot and attracted hugely positive feedback (the brie and cranberry wontons went down a treat!)

Conversation sessions brought an interactive element to the day, with ‘Re(act) on Sustainability’ getting people out of their chairs and expressing the complexities of sustainable behaviors through performance art. Down the hallway, the ‘Community engagement within the curriculum’ workshop explored the benefits and challenges of sustainability in the community and peoples thoughts on how this can be expanded.

Afternoon oral sessions continued with familiar themes of Communication, and Society, but were also joined by Innovation and Technology, Food and Agriculture, and Governance and Policy. Such varying and fascinating presentations saw people struggling to decide which to attend! From the role of sustainable menstrual products for female empowerment, to present challenges in connecting Indian farmers, and exploring young consumers perceptions of fast fashion.

The awards ceremony, to celebrate the exemplary posters submitted to the conference, brought the day to a close. Head of Sustainability at the University of Leeds, Dr. Louise Ellis, gave a roundup of the fantastic work from the day and praised the diversity and delivery of student’s projects.

Professor Lisa Roberts – Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation lead the awards ceremony. Winners and highly recommended awards went to:

Most Original Concept
Highly Commended
Mary Loveday Edwards

‘The Use of Nostalgia at the Ideation Stage of Permaculture Design’
Winner
Clare Martynski

‘The Role of Performance and Live Art in Transforming World views’

Most Effective Visuals
Highly Commended
Katie Thomas

‘People and Nature In Harmony? Understanding a Consumer Ethical Dilemma’
Winner
Ana Perez
‘What We Know Affects What We Do – Exploring Fashion Sustainability and its Perception by Young Consumers’
Best Conference Poster
Highly Commended
Vishnu Sunil Kumar

‘To Tree or Not to Tree? Assessing Carbon Stock Distribution Along an Altitudinal Gradient in the Western Ghats’
Winner
Rizwana Alam 

‘The Governance of Urban Green Spaces: Challenges and a Way Forward to Sustainable Development’

Lisa concluded with a call to action to all who attended the conference, encouraging collaborative discussions, and to keep conversations in the fore regarding how research at Leeds must continue to address the key social, economic and environmental challenges of our time.

A huge thank you to all who were a part of the day. It was fantastic to see such a diverse turn out. We already looking forward to next year!

For more information on the Student Conference on Sustainable Futures, including posters and highlights of the day, please CLICK HERE