Strathclyde wins Green Gown Award for student engagement

Alison Robinson, Deputy Executive Chair, National Environment Research Council, part of UKRI: Jamie Agombar, Executive Director, Students Organising for Sustainability, UK (SOS-UK); Dr Scott Strachan, Senior Teaching Fellow, EEE; Kieran Hein, Sustainability Coordinator, Strathclyde Students’ Union and Centre for Sustainable Development; Sahiba Singh, Media Chair for the Students’ Union and Graphic Design student, Loughborough University

The University has been named a winner in the UK-wide Green Gown Awards, for a climate education programme held in the run-up to the COP26 conference in Glasgow.     

Strathclyde’s Climate Education Kick-Off (StrathCEKO) is the winner in the Student Engagement category of the awards, which recognise sustainability best practice in the education sector.

Climate change

StrathCEKO, the first initiative of its kind in UK higher education, engages students in exercising their systems and critical thinking competencies to understand the causes, effects and interdependencies associated with climate change. It also encourages them to explore the range of climate solutions required to maintain the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, to secure a sustainable future for all.

In doing so, learners gain an appreciation of the power of ‘systems thinking’ when applied to understanding climate change, its causes and impacts, and the solutions required to avert the climate crisis in a way that is just and equitable.

Hundreds of students and academics have participated in the programme since it kicked off as part of COY16, the UN Climate Change Conference of Youth, which was held immediately prior to COP26 and which was hosted by Strathclyde.

Strathclyde has worked with NGOs Climate Fresk in France, Youth Climate Action Network in the UK and Climate Interactive in the US to frame and package these different, but highly complementary, workshops together into a unique, comprehensive and thought-provoking climate education provision.

Role -play

The interactive workshops use game-based and role-play approaches to encourage participants to think critically and think in systems to aid their understanding of climate change science - the problem -  and the mitigating actions required by Governments to ‘keep 1.5 alive’ - the solutions.

The award is Strathclyde’s fourth Green Gown win in nine years, following previous successes in 2014, 2019 and 2020, and notably the 2022 award coincides with the COP27 summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, and its Science, Youth and Future Generations Day.

Dr Scott Strachan, Senior Teaching Fellow in Strathclyde’s Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering and academic lead on ESD@Strath and StrathCEKO, said: “We’ve continued to build on the StrathCEKO programme since COP26 and this award would not have been possible without the fantastic support we received from many colleagues and students at Strathclyde, StrathUnion, our international partners, members of the Student Climate Emergency Action Group and, of course, the University’s Alumni and Development fund.”

StrathCEKO will now go forward as a finalist of the International Green Gown Awards, which will take place in July 2023 as a side event of the UN High Level Political Forum in New York.