Every year we put on events, sessions and research to minimise our environmental impact and give students the opportunity to get involved in green initiatives. This section includes what we have done and any upcoming ways you can join in with our environmental work. If you want to get involved with sustainability please email the Activities Manager, Vanessa, at

Climate emergency statement on earth day 2022

“The climate emergency is a race we are losing, but it is a race we can win.”

- UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, 2021.

UCASU remains committed to minimising our environmental impact and we will be facilitating opportunities for students to get involved with green initiatives. By declaring a climate emergency, we are officially acknowledging that we need to act on the causes and impacts of climate change.

The UN Environment Programme states that the science of climate change is well established and that human activity, largely the release of polluting gases from burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas), is the main cause. Climate change and ecological destruction affect all parts of life including what we need and value the most, such as water, food, ecosystems, wildlife, shelter, energy, transportation, health, communities and the economy. The basic human needs of many are already in jeopardy.

Our generation is one of the most disproportionately affected by the climate crisis, and it seems as though we are the only generation that will be able to reverse the damage of previous generations. With sustainability being a key focus for many students, we should be ambitious within our community and expect our creativity to influence this new era. One of our five Union values is being sustainable. By living by our values, we will make sure that we act in the best interests of students while considering how we impact others and our collective future.

The ongoing climate crisis often leaves one feeling hopeless, but we are far from powerless in this fight. The student voice is a powerful tool and has for years been instrumental in fights for justice. Now is the time for radical collective change and action.

You are not alone, we are in this fight together.

In solidarity,

Sol Gjøines & Gaebriel Min

President Kent & President Surrey 21/22


Climate Conscious Toolkit Coming Soon!

What is Sustainability?


Sustainability is often defined as:

“Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”

According to the Bruntland Report for the World Commission on Environment and Development (1992). It asks us to think about our affect on the planet and how we can help decrease our negative impact. You don’t need to be an eco-warrior, small acts are just as important! 

Sustainability is an incredibly broad term and although environmental sustainability is perhaps the most well known area, it also encompasses social and financial issues as well. A way to understand this is by looking at the Three Pillars of Sustainability graph below.


Education for Sustainable Development

Education for Sustainable Development is the educational application of this. It looks at how places such as schools, colleges and universities can equip their students live in a sustainable way even after they graduate. It is defined as:

“Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) allows every human being to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values necessary to shape a sustainable future. Education for Sustainable Development means including key sustainable development issues into teaching and learning; for example, climate change, disaster risk reduction, biodiversity, poverty reduction, and sustainable consumption. It also requires participatory teaching and learning methods that motivate and empower learners to change their behaviour and take action for sustainable development. ESD consequently promotes competencies like critical thinking, imagining future scenarios and making decisions in a collaborative way. ESD requires far-reaching changes in the way education is often practiced today.” UNESCO 2014.

Educational institutions are encouraged more and more to embed sustainability into their curriculum and use methods that empower students to learn more about these issues in a way that fits within their course structure and aims.


United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

On September 25th 2015, countries adopted a set of goals to end povertyprotect the planet and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years.

For the goals to be reached, everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector, civil society and people like you.

How can you get involved?


Regardless of what campus you are based in there are various ways you get involved with sustainability! Below are the main ways you can join in and contribute to UCA’s green growth.

Community groups

In each UCA local community, there are many groups you can get involved with ranging from gardening groups, political parties, food banks, soup kitchen, homeless shelters, to volunteering opportunities with charities.



They are ways that every student can contribute to change at UCA. They happen once a term and sustainability is a key theme! You can give feedback and feed into green campaigns and decisions being made at the Union and University. The SU Presidents presiding over the Campus Forums are here to listen to any suggestions and ideas you want to implement on campus and present them to staff and students! You can contact them by visiting the Students’ Union office on your campus.You can check the date for the next campus forum across our social media!


Sustainability, RAG and Volunteering Community

Every campus has a Sustainability Community and is for anyone interested in the environment and positive social change; we will offer fundraising, long term or one off volunteering and a range of sustainable projects to get involved it. We will also lead campaigns and socials. We’re in a climate crisis and the Sustainability, RAG and Volunteering Community aims be a positive impact on UCA’s four local areas. You can volunteer to help run your Community or participate as a casual members. You can find out more about Communities here.



Every year, SU Presidents will put on sustainability related campaigns. Some successful ones in the past include Less is More campaign which aimed to reduce the amount of plastic used in catering areas, Veganuary Challenge, Environmenstral action to get free sanitary products on campus and ‘Is my curriculum inclusive?’ campaign which aimed to find out whether UCA education was inclusive and diverse.

This year the President of Surrey is working on two social justice campaigns which lead on from the inclusive curriculum and campus culture campaigns of previous years. The ‘Culture Matters’ sister-campaigns strive to create a safe space on campus for all UCA students. You can find out more about the campaigns here.