Sustainability in the curriculum

There are some fantastic examples of students taking an interest in sustainability and embedding real life environmental issues into their University coursework:

  • A PhD student is reviewing Birmingham City University new builds to see if the performance meets the build specification (2018-19).
  • A second year photography course includes a module looking at human impacts on the environment (2018-219).
  • During 2018-19, a textiles graduate produced pieces of work highlighting the issues of plastics in the ocean.
  • A 2018-19 third year Business student is doing her dissertation on how students and staff engage with BCU environmental matters.
  • As part of a module in Art, Design and Media, fashion students often cover sustainability issues such as recycling fabrics, procurement and sustainable dye.
  • There is an opportunity for students within the Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment to use environmental data as part of an environmental project within their course.
  • Here are some case studies that Birmingham City University academics are working on.

During our Go Green Week in 2019, Textile Design students incorporated sustainable thinking into their design practice, and held an exhibition, inspired by the department store Selfridges’ ‘Buying Better, Inspiring Change’ campaign which acknowledges the need to actively work towards a sustainable future. As part of this exhibition, a textiles graduate also showcased her fantastic work highlighting the issues of plastics in the ocean.

During Go Green Week (2019), various students also volunteered, for example, students ran atrium stands on re-purposing everyday items, hand-drawing designs on sustainable tote bags to reduce plastic consumption, as well as a host of volunteers who came along to clean our canals. This was a successful event, in conjunction with Aston University and University College Birmingham (UCB) students and staff (which even brought coverage from BBC Midlands Today and ITV News).

Our next steps are to expand on this work and formalise a process to ensure further engagement within the curriculum and with students, and working with academics and Student Reps.

Supporting Schools and Faculties – The Institute for Sustainable Futures

The Institute for Sustainable Futures are working on a range of projects that support schools and faculties for sustainability. Each year, Birmingham City University works with Schools and Colleges, offering a range of activities, talks and events to increase understanding of higher education study and career opportunities. Some of these talks or events are surrounding sustainability.

Research into magnesium is ongoing, as it is the lightest structural material, the eighth most abundant chemical element in the earth’s crust and is 100% recyclable. Birmingham City University students are being challenged to showcase the potential uses of magnesium within the aerospace sector, as part of a competition set by Meridian, the largest producer of magnesium components.

More information on the Institute for Sustainable Futures can be found here.