A strong understanding of Sustainable Development is a key part of the experience at the University of Reading, and we’re helping you develop the skills and knowledge you need to help build a sustainable future for all. To do this we are:
- Becoming a world-leading institution for sustainability learning and teaching, informed by research
- Embedding education for sustainable development into the subject curriculum, encouraging the application of subject knowledge and practices to develop an explicit understanding of the challenges facing the wider world
- Empowering our students with the knowledge, skills and attributes to contribute solutions to global challenges in an equitable and just way
- Ensuring that Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is a focus s of all subjects at the university, experienced in a way that is authentic to the discipline.
What is ESD? “Education for sustainable development (ESD) is the process of equipping students with the knowledge and understanding, skills and attributes needed to work and live in a way that safeguards environmental, social and economic wellbeing, both in the present and for future generations.’ (The United Nations World Summit, 2005).”
ESD is a central pillar of our approach to delivering quality teaching and learning and has a key role in the design of our programmes, in every subject, including those where traditionally, it has been less explored. We are working together toward the following goals:
- Our graduates have a strong understanding of the sustainability challenges we all face and how these apply to their subject discipline
- Graduates are enabled and empowered to become effective in positively contributing to sustainability problem-solving in their lives, professions, and communities
We are always looking for ways to maximise opportunities for collaboration between our students, staff and community partners. This helps us to apply insightful and innovative research and projects across our campuses and in our local area to meet the challenges that our world is facing.
Read more about our aspirations.
Over the next year we will be working with students to help us embed ESD in all degree programmes. In addition to working with us to achieve this, you can choose to take key modules on climate change and sustainability, regardless of your chosen degree discipline. Currently we offer:
The following modules on environmental and social issues linked to climate are available to most undergraduate students across the University. These include:
- GV1EI Environmental Issues
- GV2CSR Corporate Social Responsibility
- GV3JLD Global Justice, Labour and Development
- AP1A28 – Global Sustainability, Challenges and Prospects
- MT1CC The Science of Climate Change is offered as a non-credit bearing option for all students on undergraduate or postgraduate programmes.
We have developed a new, free two-week online course, in which you can investigate the impact of climate change, the research being done to tackle it, and what you can do to take meaningful action.
You can get involved with sustainability projects through many of our existing curricular or extra-curricular opportunities. For example:
- The RED Award sees many students take up volunteering opportunities with organisations like ZSL Instant Wild and Zooniverse
- The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (UROP)
- Partnerships in Learning and Teaching projects
Our commitment to campus sustainability
University of Reading Research Woodland
A new woodland is planned at our Thames Valley Science Park to offset associated carbon emissions. We aim to utilise this woodland as a research and teaching platform for the University. State of the art equipment will begin monitoring carbon uptake prior to any tree planting, giving us insight into the efficacy of a key climate change mitigation strategy. We will also monitor how biodiversity changes in response to the addition and growth of native tree species. We are very keen for students to engage with the project and welcome student-led initiatives, especially species monitoring programmes for animals, plants, and fungi.
The woodland project ties directly into two of the University’s six sustainability themes: Biodiversity and Green Infrastructure, and Carbon Management. As noted in the University’s Environmental Sustainability goals we aim to “Reduce our carbon footprint by developing woodlands or other landscapes that sequester carbon...” and “Place sustainability and biodiversity at the heart of our community, including management of campuses and other landholdings.”
Energy Efficiency in Edith Morley tower (May 2020)
A post occupancy evaluation of energy efficiency improvements in the Edith Morley tower. The study was conducted by a building surveying student, overseen by Dr Emmanuel Essah and identified the building achieves good thermal comfort, which needs to be balanced with achieving good indoor air quality in the naturally ventilated building. (Credit – Charmaine Lok Ching Wong)
Grey Water system at Greenlands Campus (Summer 2021)
A renewable energy student, under the supervision of Dr Maria Vahdati, is reviewing the effectiveness of the University’s first grey water system, installed in 2018 in its new accommodation blocks at the Henley Business School, Greenlands campus.
Electricity consumption within our Library (May 2021)
The study was conducted by a quantity surveying student, overseen by Dr Emmanuel Essah. In this research, occupants’ pattern and behaviour were monitored using the footfall data provided. Findings from simulation results showed that there is an inverse relationship between occupancy and energy consumption, however the actual energy savings made were 13% after the refurbishment of the library. (Credit - Zu Shen Koh)
Building performance evaluation of the Chancellor’s Building (May 2021)
The study was conducted by a quantity surveying student, overseen by Dr Emmanuel Essah. The findings from the research identified the design concepts an implementation that ensured the conservation of energy usage in this modular type building. Using simulation measures other concepts were investigated to understand its potential implications. (Credit- James Frost)