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Students’ sustainability event shortlisted for national Award

Students’ sustainability event shortlisted for national Award

The University of Gloucestershire’s latest cohort of Events Management graduates have been singled out for praise by the ‘Sustainable Development Goals Accord’ a report on the universities and college sector’s response to global objectives set by the United Nations.

The 40 then final-year students took a unique approach to entertaining visitors at the 2018 Cheltenham Jazz Festival in May this year by creating a pop-up experience exploring the UN’s 17 ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ and achieved over 800 interactions with festival-goers.

One student group selected the UN’s Goal 11 – ‘Sustainable Cities and Communities,’ and designed a pop-up mini-golf course, with each hole designed to represent an aspect of city life. Families had to navigate the challenges of the course and in so doing engage with information linked to the challenges and importance of making cities and settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Another group focussed on Goal 14 – ‘Life Below Water’ by creating a bespoke awning from blue polythene sheeting dressed with materials from a local scrap-store to create an underwater seascape. As children entered the space they were offered goggles and scuba masks to add to the simulation and participated in a scavenger hunt, identifying and collecting items. They then identified whether or not the items could be recycled or dealt with differently to avoid adding to underwater pollution.

Now the students’ work has captured the attention of the National Outdoor Events Association (NOEA) and been shortlisted for an Award at their 15th annual Convention Dinner to be held on November 21st at the Roman Baths and Pump Rooms in Bath.

Clair Greenaway, Course Leader for Events Management at The University of Gloucestershire, said:

“We’re thrilled that our graduates and staff are being recognised for their creativity and talent by being shortlisted at this prestigious Awards ceremony.

“The original brief we gave them was to create an entertaining spectacle at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival that would engage visitors, while also showcasing key aspects of the United Nations’ list of 17 Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs).

“They answered this challenge by working in teams to develop interactive pop-ups based around seven of the UN’s SDGs to provide an integrated journey through sustainability ideas and practice.

“This featured fun activities such as arts and crafts stands, mini golf through a cityscape, planting, an immersive ocean plastics experience, and a treasure trail. Children taking part were given ‘passports’ and encouraged to collect stamps by visiting each of the pop-up activities to gain rewards.

“The event also emphasised careful attention to the use of resources and included a review of visitors’ learning experience, evaluating 110 adults and over 250 children who handed in passports.

“The key goal of this project was to encourage our students, and the children and families they interacted with, to think about sustainability in a broader and deeper way. We wanted to go beyond simple messages linked to carbon footprints and food miles and get people thinking about the myriad issues which weave together across the UN’s Global Goals.

“The students reported a 100% increase in their understanding of the UN’s SDGs and completed the exercise with a thorough knowledge of how to positively incorporate sustainability into events, something they will undoubtedly carry forward into their professional careers.”

The event was an assessed activity as part of a final year module – ‘Event Design and Production’ - in the BA (Hons) Events Management degree, and was part-funded by the University’s LIFT Programme with support from RCE Severn.

  • Watch the LIFT film of the event HERE
  • Watch the Events Management student film HERE
  • Read the Sector Report to the UN featuring the project as one of four selected case studies on how universities are delivering the UN Sustainable Development
  • Goals