Aston University leads climate action with first ever student Carbon Week

Aston University will become the first university to offer its undergraduate students training in how climate change impacts businesses and society, when it hosts Carbon Week 2015 at the start of November.

The University will dedicate a week of teaching for all second year undergraduates on understanding the challenge of climate change and the requirements of a low-carbon economy.

Aston Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Julia King said: “Climate change is perhaps the biggest challenge facing the world today. As a University, we felt it was vital that we equip our students – the business leaders of the future – with the skills and knowledge that will enable them to make a difference when it comes to adapting to a low carbon economy.

“By taking this pioneering approach and dedicating a week of the academic term to teaching students about the impact of climate change, we not only give our students the unique opportunity to learn vital skills that they can then take forward in their careers, but we set the benchmark for other academic institutions and employers about how important it is to act on this issue now.”

The week will also involve a combination of presentations, workshops and practical activities for students to take part in.

Green leader

Aston is one of the UK’s most ambitious universities when it comes to climate change, working towards target to cut emissions 53% by 2020, comared to 2005/6.

The university’s energy manager told edie earlier this year that behaviour change programmes like Carbon Week were an important tool in cutting emissions.

For example, the university’s initiatives include a team of Green Champions, departmental energy league tables, planned switch offs and bike maintenance day.

However, Aston appears to be the exception rather than the rule for UK universities at the minute, as a recent poll revealed that sustainability is a strategic priority at just one quarter of UK colleges and universities.

In September, sustainability consultancy Brite Green forecasted that the sector will only achieve a 12% reduction in absolute carbon emissions by 2020 from a 2005 baseline – well behind the 43% target set by the sector in 2008.

Brad Allen

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