RAU wins two Green Gown Awards


The Royal Agricultural University (RAU) has won two categories at the Green Gown Awards 2016, recognising their commitment to sustainability across the organisation.

The University was announced Best Newcomer for a small institution and winner of the Enterprise and Entrepreneurship category at the awards ceremony held in Leicester on 10 November 2016.

Richard Harris, Acting Chief Operating Officer at the RAU said: “Winning two Green Gown Awards is a tremendous achievement. As a small and specialist higher education institution focusing on land-based studies, this is not only integral to our vision in terms of sustainability, environment and enterprise, but something that will enhance, in so many ways, the reach and reputation of the RAU.”

Best Newcomer

The Best Newcomer category was open to any institution who had not been a finalist before. The RAU’s entry highlighted the significant progress made over the past three years, and the setting of ambitious targets through the Environmental Action Plan. These targets led to a 14% decrease in carbon in one year, an international environmental management certification (ISO14001), and an initiative to ensure all courses formally include sustainability in their design.

It has also provided students with many sustainability opportunities; from gaining IEMA approved training and volunteer experience through Green Impact, to using the university as a Living Lab for sustainability dissertations and coursework assignments.

Pearl Costello, Environmental Officer at the RAU, said: “We are honoured to win two Green Gown Awards, which recognise our dedication to ensuring a sustainable future for our students. The quality of entries from across the country were outstanding and we are delighted to be part of this movement.”

Enterprise and Employability

The Enterprise and Employability award recognises the success of RAU’s Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Programme (EEP) – both in terms of enhancing students’ enterprise skills and incorporating sustainability into the programme. The programme works on the ‘Think it’, ‘Try it’, ‘Launch it’, ‘Grow it’ framework, which provides support and guidance at all stages of business start-up. In 2016/17 it has already supported more than 40 students, with ideas ranging from food and fashion to agritech innovations.

Holly Knower, CEO of the National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs and Green Gown judge, said: “The Royal Agricultural University is most certainly a worthy winner for this year’s Enterprise and Employability award. The team’s commitment and dedication to supporting the development of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship opportunities for their learners is outstanding.

“The programme ‘Think it’, ‘Try it’, ‘Launch it’, ‘Grow it’ is a fantastic initiative, proving individuals the opportunity to develop their concepts in a safe environment with support and mentorship from supportive staff and local SME's. Many congratulations again for your achievements and amazing demonstration to Entrepreneurship.”

Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important part of any business, and can also offer unique opportunities for growth, so it’s important for the RAU to equip students with skills and knowledge in this area. Sustainability is integrated throughout the programme; from support for social enterprises to adding sustainability criteria, to the flagship business planning competition, the Grand Idea, and all other awards. The EEP also works with the local community through its mentoring programme and the E4 enterprise ecosystem; an educational collaboration across Cirencester.

Katy Duke, Head of Enterprise at the RAU, said: “I am thrilled that the Enterprise Programme has won the Enterprise and Employability category at the Green Gown Awards, and that the local and sustainability measures we have put in place within our programme have been recognised. An important part of our programme is to work with our local schools and college to help foster an enterprising spirit across Cirencester. The highlight of this is our Youth Market in Cirencester, which formed a key part of our winning Green Gown application.”

The Green Gown Awards are held annually by the Environmental Association of Universities and Colleges to showcase achievements from across the tertiary education sector.

The judging panel consists of over 80 representatives from the diversity of the education sector and experts in the various fields, including; Universities UK, Department of Energy and Climate Change, PwC, WWF, and the United Nations Environment Programme.

Find out more about the Green Gown Awards 2016.