Green campuses: exploring students’ perceptions of university environmental policies

Why green campus research?

Today’s children and teenagers have been dubbed the ‘Greta Thunberg generation’ because they are demanding more action on climate change and environmental issues.

Since publication of the People & Planet’s league table in 2007, more university sustainability rankings have appeared to help students choose where to study. We wanted to find out what makes students perceive some universities as green and how universities can make their sustainability initiatives more visible and appealing to students.

Green means go

To bring insight to green campus research, we conducted an online survey towards the end of 2020 with 1,055 university students in the UK:

  • An overwhelming 96% wanted to see some environmental action taken by their university.
  • Areas for desired action included on-campus changes, activism, behavioural change initiatives and more green spaces – yet there was low awareness of initiatives in these areas.
  • Perceptions of green universities didn’t always align with those who top university sustainability rankings.

Interested in your own research?

Our dynamic team is passionate about helping organisations, particularly within the learning sector, to progress their sustainability strategies.