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Education and Engagement for Sustainable Development

Our mission is for all staff and students to be actively involved in the sustainable management of our campus and to feel personally compelled to consider the impact that all our actions at the University can have on the environment and sustainable development.

We aim to raise awareness of climate change and the impact our actions have on our planet through our courses, volunteer opportunities and sustainability initiatives. We encourage the use of Waterside Campus for local community as well as for guided walks and sustainability events for our staff and students.


We encourage our students living in halls to consider their impact on the environment via an Environmental Scorecard.  These are scored termly by the Environment & Sustainability Team and if successful with full marks they receive goodies such as Fairtrade chocolate.

Our environmental students’ most up to date projects focusing on the environment and sustainability around the campus can be found on Twitter.


Our staff are encouraged to opt for sustainable methods of travel to and from work, we promote active travel through our safe walking routes and cycling to work through the Cycle to Work Scheme.

Many environmental and sustainability projects are used by academic staff members as opportunities for students to engage in live projects. These projects are embedded into course modules and support students in gaining valuable experience whilst studying. The Up-For-The-Cup Coffee Cup Recycling Campaign was used across 4 of our courses. Other projects led by our staff include Project Awesome and the SDG Working Group which has a goal of embedding the SDGs into our curriculum and research.

Many events take place involving both staff and students, these have included a Willow Weaving Workshop, Community Litter Picks and Wellbeing Walks.


We recognise that we have a vast and diverse number of stakeholders at the University, both internal and external. We endeavour to meet the needs of all our stakeholders through appropriate means of engagement. Our Stakeholder Engagement Matrix outlines the different methods of engagement for each group.

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to guide our activity. Our education and engagement for sustainable developments are linked to the following SDGs:

Illustrative tile for SDG11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

Goal 15: Life on Land


Find out more about our impact on the SDGs

  • In December 2019 staff and students took part in a project to promote conservation and sustainable utilisation of our campus land by sourcing and creating weaved willow holiday decorations.

    Students learnt to and helped our External Services team with coppicing Waterside campuses willow trees, a process for managing woodland where you cut down a tree to around 2-6 inches to encourage multi-stem growth, that must be completed every 2 years. Currently on campus we have 8 different kinds of willow, identifiable by the colour of their stems.

    Once coppiced the material was transported, on foot, to the Resource Centre where a drop-in workshop was run. Staff and students were able to learn to weave the willow to create a variety of decorations and baskets waste free.

    Two wicker baskets, with Handmade Baskets magazine inside

  • A call was put out in the early months of 2019 for volunteers to participate in a series of 3 litter picks in the surrounding areas of our campus to benefit our local community, promote sustainable land use and correct disposing of waste.

    Several our students and staff as well as members of the community came forward to volunteer. The group worked together throughout March 2019 to complete litter picks around Northampton town. The team of University staff who organised these events worked alongside the volunteers and Olympus Care to litter pick, Delapre Abbey, New South Ridge Road and Cliftonville TBC.

    Over the course of the 3 litter picks a total of 367.71 kg of litter was collected. This was separated during each pick into recyclable and residual bags to enable as much as possible to be recycled.

    Collection of black, white and orange bin bags of waste from litter picking at the University of Northampton.

  • Wellbeing walks are an opportunity for our Staff and Students to attend guided walks of our site.  Our most recent wellbeing walk was centred around the biodiversity of our campus, for a group of Marketing students at our University. This took place on 2nd November and was led by John Howes our Head of External Services. Our students used the information they gathered and images they captured to create a map of campus as part of a project contributing to their course.

    Other walks that have taken place have included a bird walk led by Ian Moore a member of our external services team. As our resident bird expert Ian was able to provide a great deal of information on the walk as well as some live bird stopping.

  • The Sustainability forum is one of the Northamptonshire Industry Led Forums powered by the University of Northampton to support Northamptonshire Businesses – across all sectors and sizes.  All forums are open to those in the field to share best practice and be updated on a wide range of topics and collaborate on issues and find out how the university can support businesses.

    Members of the sustainability forum cover sectors such as logistics, food & drink, manufacturing, housing and healthcare.  Recent topics discussed include: legislation, biodiversity, recycling, clean air & low emission zones, funding, student projects, in house projects around sustainability, sharing best practice, electric vehicles (EV) and EV charge points.

    For further information on the Northamptonshire Industry Led Forums please see our Northamptonshire Industry Led Forums and Events 2020 listing. 

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