Why I’m disappointed in Royal Holloway but Hopeful For Change

The Uni League is an independent league table of UK universities ranked by environmental and ethical performance. It is compiled annually by the UK’s largest student campaigning network, People & Planet. And it’s just been published for 2014/15! See where your university ranks here.

I’m an alumni of Royal Holloway, which I’m proud of for many things; Emily Davison (an activist and suffragette) attended Royal Holloway in 1891, the beautiful Founders Building, and my department’s excellence in research and student satisfaction (a hard balance to find!). And of course all the memories and friends I’ve made over the past few years. HOWEVER, I was always disappointed in the performance of Royal Holloway in the People and Planet League – since 2010 it has achieved a 2:2 every year, including this one.

uni league

This (super neat) graph shows where the marks have come from – clearly some categories need a lot of work! It shows the foundations have been laid with a thorough environmental policy, regular auditing and the commitment to key impacts. But, this needs to be translated into action for the university to have a really positive impact.

Today it was also announced that the University of Bedfordshire has committed to not investing in the fossil fuel industry. As Royal Holloway scored 0 on the ethical investment section it means there’s not even a ‘robust and publicly-available ethical investment policy’. How embarrassing!

Higher education has the potential to create positive change with ethical investments, educating the next generation of leaders and making the campus more sustainable. I hope that next year Royal Holloway will make me proud in this area and I can shout it from the rooftops! There is hope as a Sustainability Society was set up in September so student pressure may result in policy being put into practice.

How did your uni do?


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