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Put your hands together for the 2019 Green Gown Awards!

As we continue driving our work forward and striving for more progress and better solutions to our climate and ecological crisis, it's important to take a moment to celebrate excellent work, creative approaches and recognise successes.


On Tuesday 26th November colleagues, sabbatical officers and students from colleges and universities across the UK came together for the annual Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) Green Gown Awards at Glasgow Science Centre. SOS-UK were delighted to be part of this year's judging process and awards ceremony. It was fantastic to see so many of the institutions, teams and individuals we work with on our programmes and campaigns up for awards - well done! The Green Gowns offer a chance to enthuse and encourage tertiary education providers to keep pushing forward with innovative responses to our organisational and civil responsibilities to future generations and our global ecosystems.


As the student voice for sustainability in the UK, we want to extend a huge congratulations to all those who are striving to better our planet, society and institutions through their work in this field. A special round of applause must go to the 20 Green Gown Award Winners and 13 Highly Commended entries for 2019[1], in total there were 68 finalists representing 55 institutions, split over the 14 categories.


Sustainability Institution of the Year went to University of Worcester, a tremendous achievement led by the amazing Katy Boom. We have been working closely with University of Worcester and Katy for many years to develop our programmes and support them with their ambitions for sustainability and social responsibility. The University and Students' Union actively participate in our behaviour change (Green Impact and Student Switch Off) and Education for Sustainable Development (Responsible Futures) programmes.


It was also incredible to see all 3 finalists for Outstanding Leadership Team of the Year (Aston University, Nottingham Trent University and University of Winchester) highlighting their participation in Responsible Futures as a framework for success. Going into our 6th year of Responsible Futures, our whole institution partnership framework for embedding sustainability in tertiary education, continues to go from strength to strength and we love seeing the impact it is having on the partnerships we work with.


Photo (SOS-UK): Wiltshire College, Green Gown Enterprise Award Winners, 2019

We were also delighted to see Wiltshire College's Apple Project recognised for all it's amazing work. The Apple Project supports foundation level learners to create juice, chutneys and jellies from surplus apples, which they then sell to other students, staff and the local community. We've been working with the College since 2017 through our Student Eats[2] enterprise programme. So far almost 100 students have spent 1800 hours running the enterprise, 2500 of apple products been sold and over 1.8 tonnes of apples have been saved. The Apple Project wrote Student Eats "have been providing us with invaluable mentoring and training assistance in our mission to preserve food, educate about food and keep food local and tasty"[3], we have been delighted to support them on this journey.


A big thank you to EAUC for organising another brilliant event and to our hosts, South Lanarkshire College and University of Glasgow.


[1] https://www.greengownawards.org/files/gga_2019_winners_af_notttrent_lr.pdf


[2] Student Eats is part of the Our Bright Future programme, funded by the National Lottery Community fund.


[3] https://www.greengownawards.org/files/gga_2019_winners_af_notttrent_lr.pdf