Keele celebrates double success at Green Gown Awards

Posted on 04 November 2014
Keele University is one of the stand-out universities for its achievements in sustainability across a range of initiatives

Green gown award

Keele University has won two prestigious Green Gown Awards, which recognise exceptional contributions to sustainability in the further and higher education sectors.

The University received a highly commended award in the highly competitive Continuous Improvement: Institutional Change Category with 'Greening Keele through hearts and minds - making sustainability part of everything we do' which described how sustainability has become an integral part of Keele's culture and is embedded throughout the University's activities. The new Leadership Award category was awarded to Professor Pat Bailey, for his leadership of the sustainability agenda at Keele and reflects the institutional commitment to sustainability improvements at a senior level, from the Vice-Chancellor and senior executive team.  Keele's Students' Union was also shortlisted in the Social Responsibility Category for the KeeleSU Fashion Show.

Over 360 sustainability leaders attended the awards ceremony at the University of Manchester’s stunning Whitworth Hall last night, as author and TV presenter Simon Reeve announced the winners of this year’s Green Gown Awards. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the awards ceremony was the biggest and best yet.

The evening was hosted by adventure-loving presenter Simon Reeve, who is best known for his unique brand of documentary-making, combining travel and adventure with current affairs, history, wildlife, culture and conservation. He is also an ambassador for the nature conservation organisation WWF, and has been awarded a One World Broadcasting Trust award for an “outstanding contribution to greater world understanding”, and the prestigious 2012 Ness Award by the Royal Geographical Society.

Simon was proud to support this celebration of sustainability best practice within the tertiary education sector and said: “I was delighted and honoured to be asked to get involved with the Green Gown Awards this year. On my journeys I see the increasing impact of humans on the natural world and the issues caused by completely unsustainable lifestyles. So the extraordinary work of brilliant minds at our universities and colleges to help create a more sustainable world is something we should all be celebrating and applauding.”

Every year the Awards bring together the most inspirational projects from across the sector and - as Green Gown Awards UK celebrated their 10th anniversary - 2014 was no exception. In the newly introduced Leadership Award - sponsored by the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education – which is exclusive to senior strategic leadership at a tertiary education institution and recognises individuals at the most senior level in institutions, Professor Pat Bailey took home the prize for his sterling service to sustainability. Commenting on what it means to win, Keele's Vice-Chancellor Professor Nick Foskett, said: “We feel that Keele University is one of the stand-out universities for its achievements in sustainability across a range of initiatives, and this Green Gown Award is fitting recognition for Pat, as well as highlighting the importance of delivering change through the commitment and example of senior colleagues.”

The continuous improvement submission was co-ordinated by Dr Zoe Robinson, Director of Education for Sustainability, and identifies the huge range of sustainability initiatives across all parts of the University, from Estates to procurement, curriculum to research, the sustainable student bungalow project to allotments. The KeeleSU Fashion Show was a huge success for the second year running, and showed how sustainability, charity fund-raising and sustainability can all be combined into one event; the submission was coordinated by Fay Harris. Crucial to Keele's developments in sustainability has been the commitment of the Vice-Chancellor and leadership within the Executive Team, for which Professor Bailey was nominated.

Professor Mark Ormerod, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) and institutional lead for Environment and Sustainability, said: "we're absolutely delighted at our double success at these very prestigious national sustainability awards, winning the new award for institutional leadership and being highly commended for the highly competitive continuous improvement and institutional change. These major successes confirm our position as a national leader for sustainability and reflect our very strong institutional commitment to enhancing all aspects of sustainability and the huge improvements we've made in every part of our operations over the last few years".

Professor Bailey, formerly Dean of Natural Sciences and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Environment & Sustainability) at Keele is now Deputy Vice-Chancellor at London South Bank University.