students sitting at farm house

UWE Bristol as a Learning Laboratory

UWE Bristol’s Estates and Facilities teams work closely with academics to facilitate the use of our campuses for practice-based learning. In order to support the University’s Strategy 2020 ambitions, in particular for ‘Ready and able graduates’ and ‘Outstanding learning’, the Sustainability Services and UWE Bristol Estate are used to support student learning in real world settings.

Students and staff are encouraged  to use our buildings and campuses for practice-based learning. The Sustainability Team are here to support staff and students. They can provide information and offer opportunities for short and long term projects and placements. Here are some examples of past projects:

  • Analysis of food leftovers in Onezone cafe
  • Placement for work on the student Big Give campaign
  • Behaviour change campaigns on e.g. Fairtrade, Say no to Plastics, Cycling
  • Annual carbon inventory
  • Analysis of water metering data from showering in Student Village
  • Survey of car share habits
  • Survey of the health of our ponds

Input into lectures and the curriculum

The Sustainability Team offer academic staff a range of opportunities for students including:

  • Presentations on sustainability, both general to UWE Bristol and particular to specific study areas, such as energy management, sustainable procurement, sustainable business, campaigns communication and behaviour change.
  • Tours of facilities and grounds; for example R2 and sustainable building techniques, biodiversity walks on Glenside and Frenchay Campuses, bee walks to our hives at Frenchay, visits to our waste compound.
  • Opportunities for surveys and interviews of staff and students throughout the year.

This work has led to a number of ongoing curriculum projects. Students studying Geographical Skills undertake a problem-based assessment task relating to sustainability at UWE Bristol. They are required to prepare reports which detail an element of sustainability at UWE Bristol based on their own investigations. They also work in teams and reflect on the group working process. This is a large module which reaches a good proportion of students in the Geography and Environmental Management department.

As part of a second year module on Sustainability in Practice, students are set live briefs related to the sustainability of UWE Bristol. These briefs were set in collaboration with UWE Bristol's Sustainability Team and the team were available for students to contact during preparation of their assessed presentation. Members of the Sustainability Team attended the presentations and all the student work went to the Team for consideration of feasibility of implementation.

Further, 70 international students from UWE Bristol's International College are tasked with designing a product or scheme to increase sustainability engagement at UWE Bristol. Groups carry out a pilot study and come up with a range of ideas that could benefit UWE Bristol’s sustainable performance. These ideas have included incentives for students to recycle, reduce their electricity or water consumption, also harnessing electricity from cycling and using fully recyclable cups. The students are taken on a guided tour of UWE Bristol's Frenchay campus to view sustainability features and are given a presentation by UWE Bristol's Sustainability Engagement Co-ordinator.

How academic staff can support Sustainability Services

Staff in the Sustainability Services welcome interaction with academic staff for mutual benefit and to enhance the student experience.

If you are involved in a piece of work you think may be useful to us in our work, please get in touch. If you are planning a lecture or seminar, or have an external speaker on a relevant issue, please let us know and if appropriate we can promote it to other staff students and members of the public .

Key contacts

Use the Sustainability Contacts list to help you to identify people that may be able to help you. If you still can’t find who you need, email

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