Student success in Green Gown Awards

Hannah Sellers, a Biological Science graduate working with our Social Impact Team, has won a Green Gown Award for her contribution to biodiversity.

Hannah was awarded the Research with Impact (Student) prize for her dissertation project. In researching tree species on campus she discovered that the University considered maintenance and aesthetic when choosing tree species to plant on campus, but not insects or biodiversity.

The Green Gown Awards are the Higher Education sector’s most prestigious recognition of exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges across the UK. The awards are administered by the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges.

Hannah’s research involved collecting more than 3,000 insects from around the University Campus in order to ascertain whether native or imported tree species were best for biodiversity. Hannah said: “I found that native trees on our campus had higher insect diversity than introduced species as well as identifying certain tree species that insects thrive on in our campus. I was awarded a first and presented my findings to the Biodiversity Working Group, which went on to be included in the University’s Biodiversity Action Plan and has already influenced Gardens policies and practice. All of this inspired me to forge a career in research in action.”

The judges said “This is a robust piece of undergraduate research with great demonstration of collaborative working across institutions, departments and community.”

The University was nominated for four Green Gown Awards in total, including the 'Campus of the Future' and 'Tomorrow's Employees' categories, highlighting our commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. There was also success in the Sustainability Champion (Student) category as Ross Perrett was Highly Commended for his work to create the forest garden at the far end of the Fielding Johnson Building lawn.

The nominees are all perfect examples of how the University allows students to make real change on campus, and how our research continues to have real world impact.

Hannah now works with the University’s Social Impact team to help embed Social Impact and the UN SDGs within teaching and research and helping other students to develop other impactful projects like hers.

Social Impact Team Lead, Dr Sandra Lee said, “NUS data show that students deeply care about sustainability and social issues and want real world project experience and our own students are always challenging us to be more socially responsible. The Social Impact Strategy commits the University to support such student-led projects and we are proud to have such an insightful and inspirational student population that are passionate about this agenda. It’s great that Leicester students have received such deserved accolades.”

For more information on our Research in Action programme or if you have a project idea contact socialimpact@le.ac.uk.

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