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Student Action

Sustainability action at Newcastle University involves all areas of our activity and all members of the community play their part.

Student Environment and Sustainability Committee (SESC)

The Student Environment and Sustainability Committee (SESC) is a student-led and student-focused committee looking at sustainability at Newcastle University.

The committee is chaired by the Students' Union Ethics and Environment Rep and membership includes all Environment and Sustainability Reps from academic schools. Membership of the SESC is not exclusive to these students e.g. members of Students' Union societies and other interested students can request to attend meetings.

The SESC often put on events to raise awareness of the climate emergency amongst students, and to gather feedback and priorities from students on sustainability improvement.

The SESC gives feedback to the Environment and Sustainability Committee (ESC), of which most members are colleagues, but also has the President of the Students' Union, Ethics and Environment Rep, and a postgraduate officer as members.

Student induction

The University's induction programs for new and returning students are currently communicated online through Canvas.

The section 'Sustainability on campus' gives key messages to students about what the University is doing to tackle the climate crisis and enhance sustainability, and what students can do and what opportunities there are for them to get involved. 


Traveling by walking or cycling is a great way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Thankfully, Newcastle is a compact city with amenities and entertainment within walking distance of campus. For longer journeys many students like to cycle, and we organise ‘Dr Bike’ sessions for free maintenance checks and minor bike repairs along with free security tagging with BikeRegister.

In terms of public transport, we have the Tyne & Wear metro here as well as an expansive bus network, both of which can be a sustainable transport choice to get you where you need to go.

Find out more about sustainable travel on our Travel pages.

Waste and recycling

Newcastle University produces lots of different types of waste, from everyday recyclables and food waste, to waste from labs such as glassware and chemicals. Last year, 2350 tonnes of waste were produced on campus (which is equivalent to 390 elephants!) so it is so important to reduce waste production where we can, and properly segregate what cannot be eliminated.

Avoiding single-use items, wherever possible, reduces pollution. Here in the UK, tap water is also safe to drink so instead of buying bottled drinking water, you can enjoy clean and tasty Northumbrian Water from our kitchen taps and water coolers.

For the waste you cannot avoid, we have separate bins for general waste and different recyclables, so please read the posters above the bins across campus and have a look at our A-Z of waste items so that you put your waste in the right bin.


Students undertaking most degrees are welcome to research Fairtrade, trade justice and ethical consumption as part of their course. Please let us know if you are investigating any of these topics and we will try and help you.

For a list of further opportunities, you can get involved with, visit the For Good website. This NUS run organisation seeks to partner students and graduate with organisations to work on projects that progress economic, social and environmental sustainability.

Students are also welcome to become an auditor for the Fairtrade University & College award on behalf of Students Organising for Sustainability.  Each year, volunteer auditors work in a team to review the University’s efforts to embed Fairtrade and wider ethical consumption. Full training for this role is provided and a role description is available. Further information about how to register your interest for this role will be made available in the coming months.

Projects and dissertations

We are always interested in hearing about sustainability-focused dissertations and other research projects and helping out if possible.

Contact us if you would like to discuss accessing data or any other information on sustainability at Newcastle University. If we can't help you we will be sure to point you in the right direction if we know where you can get the information you need.

Have a look here at past dissertation projects which have assessed our management systems.

Funding is available for student expeditions who wish to pursue a project on an environmental topic. More information is available here.

Societies and volunteering

There are a number of environmentally-focused societies and volunteering opportunities for students and staff, including:

Leave Newcastle Happy

Leave Newcastle Happy is the clean-up initiative which happens at the end of each academic year, when most students move away from their term-time addresses. It is run by Newcastle University Students' Union and funded by Newcastle University. The initiative aims to reduce any disturbance and mess in residential areas of Newcastle city, and to encourage reuse and recycling so that students do not throw away items unnecessarily.

Go Volunteer Grant Scheme

Go Volunteer's Grant Scheme can finance students' volunteering project ideas, and some amazing projects have been supported in the past.