Student engagement

Getting involved in sustainability at Oxford Brookes University is the best way to make a difference to our organisation as a whole, and to begin or continue your sustainability journey. 

We recognise there is a lot of information to digest when you first arrive. You can access information on sustainability through many different sources throughout your time at Oxford Brookes, such as our SU and residences handbooks, through our dedicated sustainability website and via the Brookes Union sustainability pages. You can also meet the Environmental Sustainability Team at Freshers' Fair and various other events throughout the year. 

We want to hear your ideas and for you to be part of our sustainability journey to become a greener, fairer and socially responsible university. 

Refer to our new Sustainable Engagement Strategy and Action Plan for more details. 

@LoveStudentLeftovers Instagram Cooking Competition

Students from the Oxford Brookes Business School and Centre for Nutrition and Health are working together on an innovative digital cooking competition to help address the problems of food waste. There are cash prizes for winners!

Following the success of the 'Love Student Leftovers' competition in 2023, this project has been funded by the 'Association of Commonwealth Universities' Higher Education and the SDGs Challenge Grant. The competition is now extended to any university student in the UK and Ireland, and is in partnership with Amity University India who are running the same competition across Indian universities.

Students are invited to submit a video/photo series recipe entry showing the creative re-purposing of leftover foods to avoid waste. Please see more information on the Love Student Leftovers Site.

The competition closes on March 2024.

Events and activities

Sustainability Expo 2024

Sustainability Expo 2024

We held our first-ever Sustainability Expo in March 2024, bringing together groups from across the University to celebrate and showcase the amazing work happening in sustainability. The expo featured an array of engaging activities around the campus including sustainability fairs, panel discussion and waste campaign. You can find more information in the event page and the activity list. 
Earth Day

Earth Day

Each year we host events to mark the world's largest environmental celebration, Earth Day. In 2023, we had a week of activities including peace garden planting, CPR training, litter picking, a green-jobs session, a sustainability tour and the main Earth Day Fair

Sustainable Food Fair

If you love food, you will love our annual Sustainable Food Fair. During this day, we have cooking competitions, stands and activities from fairtrade food producers and plenty of opportunities to learn about sustainable food systems and community projects. To find out more, watch the student-made video for BrookesTV featuring our Sustainable Food Fair.

Brookes Union Environmental Network

Brookes Union hosts an Environmental Network that offers students who are interested in ethics, the environment and sustainability the opportunity to participate in campaigns, issues and projects. Each year a new Environmental Network Officer is voted in. Check out the Brookes Union website for details of the current officer and their campaign agenda.

Ideas on a sustainability related activity or event you would like to pursue, but you don’t have the resource to deliver? Look no further, Brookes Union has a campaign fund especially to help you carry out behaviour change sustainability activities! 

Students raking soil at JHBB

Student Union Societies related to sustainability

Brookes Union currently support a number of societies with an environmental focus. Many of our societies also host sustainability-themed events or activities as part of their regular schedule. If you’re in a society, why not talk to your society’s committee about what you could do?

Brookes Botanical Society
Sustainability Society
Vegan Society
Wildlife Society

Everyday actions

It doesn’t have to be about big changes. Often it's the little everyday actions that can be just as impactful, such as:

  • using sustainable travel modes
  • walking and cycling more
  • turning off your lights
  • using a reusable water bottle/coffee cup
  • recycling better
  • eating less meat
  • buying Fairtrade products. 

Visit our dedicated webpages for information on being a more sustainable student and contributing to a more sustainable future at Oxford Brookes.

Each year we deliver sustainability-related events that students can get directly involved with and support, such as:

  • Veganuary
  • Fairtrade Fortnight
  • British Heart Foundations ‘Pack for Good’ campaign
  • Earthday
  • our annual sustainability lecture. 

Keep an eye out on student news and via the Brookes Union social media platforms, or follow us on our sustainability Twitter feed.

Student locking up their bike

Our social responsibility framework

At Oxford Brookes, we believe life is about the constant drive to learn, to develop, and to improve - and to apply that in a way that has a positive impact firmly rooted in the real world.

We’re not a university focused simply on creating graduates. We believe in supporting innovative thinkers and graduates who are able to contribute to their community, to society and to make a real difference in the wider world.

Learn how to ‘make a difference’, ‘look after yourselves and others’, ‘be sustainable’ as well as how to get involved and ‘connected in the community’ through our dedicated student social responsibility webpages.

Student talking to community members

Our learning and teaching

We know that it’s important to you to have time in your university learning to gain knowledge and skills to enable you to address sustainability challenges.

There are a variety of options available throughout your modules to do this. Ask your Programme Lead or subject co-ordinator for information about the modules on your programme which include areas of sustainability that interest you.

Use your dissertation as a force for positive change with ‘Dissertations For Good’.

“SOS-UK's and the US Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development's For Good platform supports students to turn their education into a force for good. Students make positive impacts in the organisations they partner with across the planet. Opportunities include dissertation/thesis and other research, applied projects and work placements.”

Oxford Brookes subscribes to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME). Your tutors look to include the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and aspects of social responsibility across all programmes. In 2020-21 our own Dr. Jonathan Louw (from the Oxford Brookes Business School) is the Chair of the PRME Chapter for the UK. PRME is a global movement transforming business and management education through research and leadership

Sustainability beyond your studies

You can augment your understanding and experience beyond your studies by engaging with activities and extending your own network.

Have a look at the opportunities set out below and please let us know if you have any ideas about how students can make a difference at Oxford Brookes and within the wider community. These could be within the university or with local and national organisations.

Brookes Enterprise Support: Ethical and Sustainable thinking are embedded into the approach of our Brookes Enterprise Support Community. You can find out more about their work on their web pages and in their most recent impact report - Oxford Brookes Enterprise Support

SOS UK : “SOS-UK is a student-led education charity focusing on sustainability.” They run many projects and campaigns to enable students to be at the forefront of change. We are currently signatories to the following programs:

  • Green Impact program - This is a United Nations award-winning programme designed to improve environmentally sustainable practice. The programme aims to establish behavioural change through the completion of an online toolkit offering a range of tasks promoting sustainable practice and social responsibility.
  • Student Auditors - Through the Green Impact and Fairtrade accreditation program we also offer students the chance to attend free IEMA accredited environmental auditing training. Students have the opportunity to complete an audit of staff environmental teams, helping to encourage sustainable actions across the university.
  • Hedgehog Friendly Campus - is a national campaign funded by the British Hedgehog Preservation Society. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the challenges facing hedgehogs and improve their circumstances by completing small, practical actions. The University received its Silver Award in 2023. You can sign up if you would like to get more involved. You can also keep up to date via Instagram

EAUC : All students can become members of the EAUC for free during their time at the university. You can access job vacancy pages, their sustainability careers guide, the Sustainability Exchange resources website, the annual conference (which students can attend for free) and the Green Gown Awards webpages. To find out about upcoming events - which include Carbon Literacy Training - visit EAUC Events.

Green Impact Auditor logo

Have a voice!

Students are represented at the core of all sustainability decisions at the university. Student representatives on the Sustainability Steering Group include the Environmental Network Officer and the SU President as permanent members of the group. The main duties of the steering group are to:

  1. Oversee and provide directional guidance on the University’s sustainability aspirations and their implementation University wide.
  2. Assess internal and external sustainability reporting frameworks and make an informed decision on which frameworks we wish to align with.
  3. Agree priority areas, potential resources required and ownership.
  4. Ensure our agreed sustainability aspirations are embedded across the University and delivered in the University Strategy.

This will include student representatives offering oversight and involvement in all new sustainability policies and strategies, monitoring and measurement, reporting and communication.

In addition to the methods listed above you can also send your ideas to us directly at