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Warwick Sustainability Challenge Summer 2024: a Curriculum-Campus-Community approach to sustainable teaching & learning

The Communities of Coventry and the University of Warwick are on a sustainability journey, and you can help!


This June we will be hosting a Sustainability Challenge with our partners from Coventry City Council. In teams of students from across the university, participants will apply their diverse skills to a sustainability-themed objective outlined by guests from the Council, using problem solving techniques including design thinking, as well as drawing on their own unique expertise and research into the brief.


The Challenge will begin with an online introductory event on Wednesday 5th June. An online training session will be held on Friday 7th June. The Challenge will then commence, with the deadline for proposals on 19th June and our closing hybrid event with guests from Coventry City Council on Wednesday 26th June 2024 (awaiting final confirmation).

This activity is included in the Warwick Award

Taking part in this Sustainability Challenge and reflecting on the skills you practised will count towards the Warwick Award. It will be worth 4 CSP, or 5 CSP for teams who present at the closing event.

Find out more about the Warwick Award hereLink opens in a new window.

How to Sign Up and Take Part

  1. To sign up to this June's Sustainability Challenge complete this registration form.Link opens in a new window
  2. Wednesday 5th June, afternoon(1400, TBC) - Attend the opening session on Teams
  3. Friday 7th June, afternoon(1400, TBC) - Attend the sustainability and design thinking workshop on Teams
  4. Friday 7th June to Tuesday 18th June- Develop your idea with your team.
  5. Wednesday 19th June- Submit your solution for consideration by the organisers and judges. Shortlisting will follow this deadline.
  6. Wednesday 26th June- Attend the hybrid closing event with guests from Coventry City Council and around the university, including presentations from the shortlisted teams and the awarding of prizes.

Project Aims

  • To provide a whole-higher education approach to sustainability, linking teaching and learning provision to values, ways of working, and the application of transferable skills to develop solutions.
  • Raise the profile of education for sustainability using interdisciplinary approaches, co-creation, and engagement with external partners, as important areas of student focus and application.
  • Establish a programme of regular interventions that allow students the opportunity to develop their skills for sustainability collaboratively.

More Information

Project Background

Please visit this Project Background pageLink opens in a new windowLink opens in a new window and check out the FAQs to find out more about the original project and its aims. As this new project progresses we will add up to date information on emerging aims and objectives, as well as future plans and the outcome of this year's Challenge.

Judging Criteria

We will be adapting some of the judging criteria from the original Challenge. Find out more about those criteria hereLink opens in a new windowLink opens in a new window

History of the Sustainability Challenge

A forerunner project, the Warwick Employability Challenge, took place in 2021. This was the first in this series of projects that sought to implement a design thinking methodology in practice with teams of staff and students. to find out more, please click hereLink opens in a new window.

Developed by the WIHEA ESD learning circle, the first Sustainability Challenge in the summer of 2022 saw staff and students co-creating ideas to tackle a real environmental challenge in Coventry, using a more holistic approach to sustainability in HE. The Challenge engaged around 70 participants who actively participated in two three-hour workshops, an optional drop-in session with experts in the area, and the competition. You can find out more about this Challenge hereLink opens in a new window.

The workshops were designed to facilitate a collaborative approach to reframing a challenge, and coached participants to help explore it in an innovative way. After the workshops, the Challenge lasted for additional 10 days. With the help of expert student and staff coaches, participants collaborated to develop original solutions. By the end of two weeks they submitted their ideas in the form of an e-poster or a presentation, and a video.

In November 2022, a second Sustainability Challenge took place, this time led by the Sustainability team in Estates here at Warwick. This time, the theme was 'Waste', and the focus was on solutions that could be tested and implemented here on the University of Warwick campus. The same preparation and participation approaches were implemented, and the solutions were considered by Estates. You can find the results of this Challenge hereLink opens in a new window.

The third competition to be held was this year's Sustainability Challenge: Food and Drink, in January 2024. This time, members of the original project advised the Skills team in Student Opportunity to hold a light version of the Challenge, engaging Matt Drew, head of the new Warwick Food Group, to set the theme and the brief. The results will appear hereLink opens in a new window on the Skills website shortly.

What's in it for participants?

Practice applying a wide range of skills for Sustainability.

Develop Core Skills such as Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, Teamwork, and Communication.

Gain valuable experience for your CV and examples for interviews.

Practice specific Problem Solving skills including innovation, and learn about the Design Thinking method.

Collaborate with and present ideas to partners from Coventry City Council.

Receive a certificate of completion and have a chance to win a prize.

Met new people from across the University and share experiences with them.

Offer a tangible contribution to the University, Coventry, their communities and futures.

"An exciting pedagogical approach to develop sustainability competences, linking our teaching and learning provision, to values and ways of working and studying on campus, and the local community."

- Chris Ennew

"This is a great opportunity for our students to develop competences that can hardly be taught, finding solutions to a real-life challenge, and applying their knowledge and skills in the working and studying environment."

- Chris Hughes

Further Inquiries

If you would like more information on this project, please contact (WIHEA project lead) or (Skills Developer for Sustainability).

If you want to learn more about a forerunner project, the Warwick Employability Challenge, please click hereLink opens in a new window.