SFC news published since 2018. See SFC archived content for earlier news articles.

As world leaders meet for COP26 in Glasgow, SFC is taking a look at some of the key themes of its recent climate change activities. Today the spotlight is on the Green Gown Awards organised by EAUC, which is funded in Scotland by SFC.

The Green Gown Awards were established in 2004 to recognise the work done by colleges and universities in response to climate change. In the 17 years since then, they have helped inspire academics, administrators and students both in the UK and internationally – and their influence now extends far beyond the sector.

The first entry in the inaugural Green Gown Awards winners’ brochure was for the University of Glasgow. It won the award for energy efficiency for its adaption of an integrated controlled lighting system in the Wolfson Medical School.

Since then, Scottish colleges and universities have been consistently well represented amongst the Awards’ finalists and winners. The 2021 awards were held virtually because of the pandemic. In the year of Scotland’s hosting of COP26, a record-equalling twelve Scottish institutions made it to the finals.

This year Dumfries and Galloway College won the small institution award in the prestigious Sustainability Institution of the Year category. The college was recognised for its partnership approach to developing green energy skills, and for playing a major part in Dumfries and Galloway’s ambition to become a zero emissions region.

Another small institution winner in 2021 was North East Scotland College in the Next Generation Learning and Skills category. Its Girls in Energy programme has provided pathways into green engineering for over 650 female learners.

The University of St Andrews won the award for Campus Health, Food and Drink, and was highly commended in the Benefitting Society category for its Learning from Loss project. Two St Andrews students, Charlotte Evans and Millicent Sutton, shared the Sustainability Champion award.

Finally, the University of Edinburgh won the Campus of the Future award for its adaptation and biodiversity programme.