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Staff and student engagement

Our staff and students play a key role in sustainability at UAL.

At UAL, sustainability is central to everything we do. That means it’s important that our staff and students are given the opportunity to engage with, and provide oversight on our vision and are empowered to deliver a sustainable environment and education for all.

There are lots of opportunities to play an integral part of our Sustainability journey, whether that’s by getting involved in our Sustainability Working Group, Sustainability Interns programme, Green Week, Climate assemblies and discussion groups or some of the events put on by UAL and Arts SU.

Our students are represented at all levels of decision making and we have dedicated student positions on our Sustainability Advisory Panel which includes our Deputy Vice-Chancellor. There are more examples of student oversight in our Sustainability Staff and Student Engagement Strategy .

Our engagement strategy combines the Sustainability Staff and Student Engagement Strategy 19/20 (PDF 2.9MB) and our staff and student led UAL Sustainability Manifesto (2016 - 2022) (PDF 99KB). More information can also be found in section 6.2 of the Carbon Management Plan.

Our ’Big Survey’ measures engagement and takes place every 2 years. It shows an increase in awareness of environmental stewardship and social responsibility 2017 Staff Survey (PDF 71KB).

The engagement strategy is implemented by Ian Lane (Head of Sustainability) who also chairs the Working Group. The UAL Carbon Dashboard is updated by Rebecca Smart (Energy Projects Support Officer).

Sustainability Working Group

The Sustainability Working Group is our main vehicle for staff and student involvement, engagement and oversight. Membership is open – and encouraged - to all staff and students and recognised Trades Union representatives. This group uses an action-research approach encouraging members to design carbon reduction actions and ways to implement sustainability. The group is also responsible for the creation and implementation of our Sustainability Manifesto (PDF 99KB) which provides topics of discussion and suggests where to act. Members of the group decide what action to take.

Read minutes of January’s Sustainability Working Group (PDF 2.5MB)

Sustainability Interns as Eco-champions

In 2019 UAL welcomed the first cohort of Sustainability Interns. This programme provides funding and opportunities for 8 students to join the Sustainability team as staff and to then  work as eco-champions on sustainability projects across the university. 2019’s interns are all current UAL students, with a mixture of first years and post-graduates. This programme is unique as all interns co-create their own job roles with the Sustainability team.

These roles give students professional responsibility in paid positions and are paid above the London Living Wage.

Projects this year included the expansion of the Sustainability Working Groups, creation of an e-pledge board, a university wide sustainability survey, and developing guidance for our Learning, Teaching and Research ISO.

Read more about our Student Sustainability Interns.

Watch two of our Student Sustainability Interns discussing their projects

Student representation and the Students' Union

There is student representation on strategic decision-making bodies, including the Sustainability Advisory Panel (see Carbon Management Plan (section 6.2)). The Panel also includes the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the Director of Estates and the Head of Sustainability. The Sustainability Manifesto provides topics of discussion and suggests where to act. Members of the group decide what action to take which is then approved by the Panel.

Students attend regular meetings with the College Deans to discuss improvements and decide actions. The Students' Union is signed up to ‘Green Impact Students’ Unions’.

We have student Societies dedicated to furthering green issues at UAL, including the Green Roof Society who have created a green growing space where edibles such as strawberries and herbs are grown.


Sustainability is a key part of the staff and student induction process at UAL with the Sustainability Coordinator presenting at both. The induction centres on UAL’s approach to sustainability, offering practical sustainability advice and the various ways to get involved. This includes events and campaigns. For example - beekeeping, gardening, the Sustainability Projects Fund and the Sustainability Working Group. Take a look at our Induction Presentation (PDF 6MB) or contact

Following our climate emergency statement in September, sustainability and climate learning outcomes have been introduced into every course and we are rolling out a Carbon Literacy Training module for staff and students.