The University of Winchester has declared a climate emergency and joins the Global Climate Strike today (Friday 20 September).

Over 100 members of staff and students from the University of Winchester joined the march into the city centre as part of the global day of action to demand climate justice for everyone.

“We have declared a climate emergency as future generations face a significantly different world,” said Professor Joy Carter CBE, DL, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Winchester, who participated in the march. “As we deal with devastating climate breakdown and head towards dangerous tipping points, we must take action before it is too late.

“As the University for Sustainability and Social Justice, it is important that our staff and students have the opportunity to champion global positive change. This is a particularly important message for our new cohort of students that we welcomed earlier this week. They chose to join a community that is committed to making a difference – what better way to demonstrate our values than by peacefully participating in such an important day of climate action.”

The University’s pioneering work in sustainability and social responsibility has already earned the institution a place in the top 100 universities worldwide in the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings and Responsible Futures accreditation with the National Union of Students.

“Universities have a responsibility to be future thinking, to lead action and to empower students to do the same,” added Professor Carter. “Not only do we embed climate change education across the curriculum, but our University of Winchester Business School is a United Nations PRME Champion and our student teachers are set to be among the world’s first United Nations accredited Climate Change Teachers. We are developing the next generation of educators, leaders and global citizens who are capable of addressing the challenges we face as part of the climate crisis.”

The University is taking radical action to reduce its environmental impact – from pledging to eliminate the use of unnecessary single-use plastic by the end of 2020 and being carbon neutral by 2030, to opening a zero waste shop for staff, students and the local community early next year. All new developments across the estate meet the highest sustainability standards, no waste goes to landfill and all electricity comes from renewable sources. Additionally, all catering outlets across campus offer only Local, Independent, Fair and Ethical (LIFE) products and continue to encourage the use of reusable cups.

“Our commitment to sustainability remains at the heart of our University, underpinning every decision and action,” said Professor Carter. “We have aligned the University’s Strategic Vision 2020-2030 with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and will continue to make a positive social and environmental impact to create a better world for the future.”

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