Student and staff engagement

Student and staff engagement on our regenerative roadmap

Our Regenerative Roadmap (is our sustainability strategy) and we have enlisted consultants to create this for our Cirencester Campus. To create this roadmap, we have encouraged student and staff engagement, enlisting help from our Student Union President for 2022/23, our new Student Union President for 2023/24 and other key members of the Student Union.

Staff and Students from across the University were encouraged to attend several workshops, and these findings were incorporated into our new roadmap, feedback has been collated and shared with the executive team including ideas of how students and staff would like to engage with our roadmap and achieving our RAU strategic goal of Sustainability. This include collecting ideas on how to reduce our carbon footprint and working out a holistic approach that makes us all accountable – students, staff and visitors to the RAU.

In addition, our academics have helped shape our curriculum to empower the new generation to champion new sustainability farming and environmental techniques of the future. We are well-placed to achieve this. Many of our academics have relevant expertise, our professional services team includes staff with the experience of successful sustainability initiatives, and the university’s new leadership team and Governing Council are strongly committed. Dame Fiona Reynolds, as Chair of the Governing Council, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in this area, including as a previous Director General of the National Trust.

We have a Sustainability Action Group chaired by our Chief Operating Officer – Graham Pollard. Graham started with the RAU in 2021 and has brought a wealth of knowledge of leading environmental and sustainability initiatives. As part of the Vice-Chancellors Executive Group, Graham will lead the RAU in reviewing and updating our Sustainability Action Plan commitments, and realising our refreshed ambitions.

The Sustainability Action Group is made up of a number of different members of staff across the University, including:

  • Chief Operating Officer (chair)
  • Institutional Planning Manager
  • Associate Director of Capital Projects
  • Associate Director of Commercial Services (Deputy-chair)
  • Associate Director of Finance
  • Communications Manager
  • Director of Human Resources
  • Secretary

The Committee shall ensure there is an integrated, proactive approach to environmental sustainability across the RAU that is informed by best practice and supports the university’s vision, objectives and strategy.

Ideas and suggestions are collected by the staff from all of these different areas. Each Sustainability Action Group has an agenda, but in addition to those above, guests are invited, including students, academics and consultants to present their ideas.

Student engagement – get involved!

The student union is in the process of developing their strategic plan which includes sustainability targets as per the QSU framework.

Students can be involved in the University’s Green Impact programme which brings together students and staff to ‘green’ the campus, curriculums and community. Students can sign up to be an environmental auditor or a Green Impact project assistant.

In addition, we have a number of exciting clubs for students to get involved in, including Wild Campus, Conservation Club and working on the student allotment – work is underway to transform the allotment space on campus into a usable, sustainable space. The intention is to have a rewilding area, heritage fruit trees and raised beds to grow produce that can be gifted to the RAU kitchen.

There are a number of University strategies that students can get involved in shaping, including the RAU Regenerative Roadmap (our sustainability strategy), and our Farm and Food Produce Strategy.

Staff engagement

Our Sustainability Policy is implemented as part of the staff induction policy, this is reinforced with a reminder on staff pay slips and marketing material around the campus.

The importance of the sustainability policy is highlighted in the strategies and values of the RAU and culture of the University.

The nature of the studies at RAU incorporates sustainability throughout the course curriculum and specific modules.

We have a number of events going on this year including Staff Fest – where the theme this year is on Sustainability, check out the programme of events to see how you can get involved.

A Learning, Teaching and Assessment Conference with the theme of ‘Embedding the UN Sustainable Development Goals across the curriculum’ has been organised by the PVC Education and Students and is being attended by RAU academics and partners from land-based colleges.