As important as it is to embed sustainability across higher education, the sooner we can engage young people with these issues the better.
That’s why the Liverpool Guild of Students took a day to invite pupils and students from across eight primary schools and sixth forms to a day of exploring the concept of sustainability, and helping them to develop their own green ideas.
Louise Ellman MP and NUS Students’ Green Fund programme manager Emily Thompson-Bell led the main session on developing sustainable social enterprise projects. Each of the schools worked together to develop their own ideas – producing their own posters to accompany a pitch to the rest of the group.
Helping children of a young age to grasp the importance of combining environmental sustainability with good business practice, the day’s workshop produced ideas like creating herb gardens from plastic bottles, increasing biodiversity by building bug boxes, and creating upcycled tea lights. One winning idea from Carmel College - boosting recycling rates through games and competitions - was even awarded seed money to support its delivery.
Not only are these ideas environmentally friendly, but they create financial revenue which makes them economically sustainable too. This is a crucial aspect of sustainable development in our emerging low-carbon economy, and it’s fantastic to have children introduced to it as part of their education as early as possible.
Louise Ellman MP agreed that the project “is an inspiring initiative, promoting the enthusiasm of young people in protecting our environment"
Student volunteers will be going into the schools over the next few months to help the teachers and children implement their projects. Not only has this work helped young pupils and students become familiar with principles of sustainability, but it also gave them an early introduction to the feel of higher education, with tours around the union for sixth formers and primary school pupils alike.
NUS is becoming more and more committed to engaging with young people before their time in further or higher education. With Students’ Green Fund, we’re making sure that sustainability becomes a priority when we do this, integrating it into their experiences of education.