Living Labs: working with our communities

"University is about more than imparting skills and knowledge. It's also about guiding and supporting students in figuring out who they are and the role they can play in ensuring the future is fair and just" – Dr Alison Greig, Director of EfS and National Teaching Fellow.

Living Labs are small-scale projects that develop our students' leadership abilities, and help create change in our communities. Take a look at the below examples to find out more.

Working with local schools

Training for local schools

More than two-thirds of teachers feel they lack the necessary knowledge to teach about the climate and ecological crises (YouGov poll, 2019). In support of our local communities, volunteer students from ARU will receive outreach training to enable them to work with local schools who want to learn more about these issues. Please get in touch if you are interested in working with us.

Schools we have supported to date include:

  • Hills Road Sixth Form
  • The Perse School
  • Networkcb23 – a network of 23 primary schools from across Cambridgeshire.

Creating an orchard at a local secondary school

In February 2019, students from ARU's Sustainability Society worked with pupils from North Cambridge Academy to create the school's first orchard. Students were responsible for leading the work, and developed the following skills as a result:

  • Project and budget management
  • Grant writing and reporting
  • Tree planting and other basic conservation skills

Watch this short video to find out more about the project, or read this blog post that was featured on the website of national charity, The Orchard Project.

Sustainable procurement opportunities

From the food we eat, to the technology we use, procurement is at the heart of many of our university's sustainability concerns. Throughout the 2019/20 academic year, students at ARU will have the opportunity to gain an insight into the operations and decision making processes that shape our campuses. This is of relevance to all our students, and in particular those on the following courses:

  • Civil Engineering and Surveying
  • Construction Management 
  • Town Planning 
  • Project Management and Responsible Business 
  • Architecture.

Sustainable Sainji

Sainji is a village at the foothills of the Himalayas. Each year, a small group of staff and student led by Dr Alison Greig, Director of EfS, spend two weeks in the village. Volunteers are selected on the basis that their degree level skills and knowledge are appropriate to the needs of the people they will be working with.

Connecting with nature

Rewilding our campuses

How can we make our campuses greener, wilder, healthier places for all? In the 2019/20 academic year, we will work with students and staff to rewild our Chelmsford campus. More information to come soon.

Tree planting in the local community

Students from ARU will work with local communities to support tree planting initiatives that provide them with a range of technical skills and knowledge.