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.

See the UON Student and Staff Engagement Strategy (PDF, 174 KB) for full details on how staff and student participation in sustainability projects and initiatives is supported and encouraged.

Sustainable Development Events

We hold a number of opportunities for staff and students to engage with Environmental and Sustainability activities and awareness campaigns throughout the year.  previous events have included a Willow Weaving Workshop, Community Litter Picks, Wellbeing Walks and Hedgehog Rescue Activities.

Sustainability Events


We encourage our students living in halls to consider their impact on the environment via an Environmental Scorecard. These are scored termly between the Environment & Sustainability Team and Residential Life Team, those achieving full marks receive goodies such as Fairtrade chocolate. Other student led activities include Hedgehog Friendly Campus and the reintroduction of a previously extinct butterfly to Northamptonshire.

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 activities led by our staff range Project Awesome, the SDG Working Group which has a goal of embedding the SDGs into our curriculum and research through to sustainable life choices made by staff members Andy Harmer and Danielle Bird.

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 including Senior Management Engagement through the Sustainability Board.

  • Clean Air Day 2022

    On 16 June 2022, the Environment & Sustainability Team ran a small information event to mark Clean Air Day 2022 and raise awareness of the impact of pollution on health and the environment and the positive impact active travel has on both.

    The team were joined by External Services Manager John Howes and Computing Student Freya Smith, who took the opportunity to hold a Clean Air” Plant stall to raise money for the Hedgehog Friendly Society.

    Freya and the Squad are now applying for UON to receive gold status as a hedgehog friendly campus. As part of this, they have been raising awareness about the importance of creating habitats where hedgehogs can thrive and all the hedgehog friendly initiatives across campus.

    Clean Air Day 2022 Graphic which states: Air pollution dirities every organ in the body. Leave the car at home. Clear Air Day 16 June 2022.

    UON Go Green Week

    21 – 25 March 2022

    The first UON Go Green Week took place 21 to 25 March at various locations across the campus. The Environment & Sustainability team were on hand to raise awareness of environmental campaigns and initiatives active throughout the university such as “The Big Switch off” and The Halls Environmental Scorecards.

    The team were joined by waste contractor Suez who were on hand talk about recycling and lead a staff and student litter pick that took place in the wider perimeter of the university estate across community spaces. Sustainable vendors also took part to showcase a range of products from homemade spices, household and beauty products to bakery products.

    Live vegan cooking demonstrations took place in The Market restaurant aimed at supporting students with trying vegan food options, our Travel Plan Co-ordinator was able to advise students and staff on the benefits of active travel with our Energy Officer giving away free shower timers to raise awareness for the need to reduce water consumption.

    It was a successful 1st Go Green Week event for the University, with the next planned for 2023.

    Staff and Students smiling at the camera, holding trash bags and pick-up sticks for litter picking at the University of Northampton's Go Green Week in 2022.

  • Hedgehog Rescue

    At the end of 2021 the University teamed up with local hedgehog rescue organisation Little Wiggly Snouts to become a rescue hedgehog release site.

    Warlock and Phantom were only five months old when they were released with members of the University’s Environmental Science subject area and Campus and Estates Services team volunteering to make sure they were watered and fed over the festive season.

    Read more about the Hedgehog rescue in the UON news article.

    Cartoon Hedgehog wearing a mortarboard and holding a scroll. Underneath it says Silver Award 2021/21

  • Sustainability Forum

    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 and drink, manufacturing, housing and healthcare.  Recent topics discussed include: legislation, biodiversity, recycling, clean air and 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.

    Wellbeing walks

    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 2 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.

  • Willow weaving workshop

    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

    Community litter picks

    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.

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

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