Key Findings from Creating Sustainable Futures 2016

In March we saw the return of the award-winning Creating Sustainable Futures (CSF) Discovery Module, an optional curricular module that students can take alongside their degree subject to broaden their knowledge on the social, economic, environmental and cultural aspects of sustainability.

A part of the module consists of a practical project the students must work through in groups. This year the project themes were given a refresh, updating the structure, data collection and content, enabling students to gain relevant information that would directly benefit the University and allow them to put their understanding of sustainability issues into context.

Semester 2’s CSF cohort of 41 students undertook either a Travel, Waste, Energy, Fairtrade or Community themed practical project as part of their assessment.

From assessing the University’s bicycle storage capacities and route accessibility, to gaining a better understanding of people’s perceptions of the University’s positive and negative impacts on society, teams collected data from all corners of campus, providing a snapshot review of the sustainability themes highlighted in the projects.

Some key findings from the students included;

  • Just under half of the unoccupied lecture theatres visited during the Energy project were found to still have their lights turned on.
  • Only 28% of 140 survey participants knew that the University of Leeds is a Fairtrade institution.
  • Bicycle storage sites reaching close or to full capacity included in front of LUU, the Social Sciences building and the University Main Entrance, with neighbouring parking facilities only reaching around half their capacity.
  • In the Waste project, the most consistently contaminated waste stream across all the locations audited was general waste, containing 40-50% contaminants that could have been recycled.
  • Leeds University Union was recorded as the most popular choice by surveyees when asked what parts of University campus facilitated community engagement, followed by The Edge and Parkinson Court.

This data will be collected year on year to build a timeline of sustainability recordings made by the students themselves, which not only provides hands-on experience of sustainability in practice but also presents the University with extremely useful information on current sustainability trends.

The module is just one of the ways we are helping deliver our Sustainability Strategy commitments of integrating sustainability into student learning. We intend to further increase the take-up of the module by students from all disciplines, helping them to understand the fundamental notions of sustainability, and in turn allow them to progress to other modules within the Creating Sustainable Futures theme and promote attributes reflecting that of being a sustainable citizen.

If you are interested in finding out more about Creating Sustainable Futures please click here.