Careers and Employability Service
Services for current students

Sustainability Challenge

Three eco graphics and wording: combine your studies with sustainability

The Sustainability Challenge gives you a chance to develop sustainability solutions for our campuses, build essential employability skills, and be in with a chance to win some amazing prizes including an internship.

The Sustainability Challenge is good for the environment on campus and for you!

Your next steps

Applications are now closed

Read Tina's blog about taking part in the challenge


What does the challenge involve?

The Sustainability Challenge is designed to encourage you to generate ways to reduce waste, increase efficiencies and implement new sustainable ideas for our campuses. You will work in a small group with students who have similar interests to you.

Last year, 40 students signed up for the challenge and their ideas ranged from composting and promoting vegan choices, to sustainable clothing opportunities and utilising technology to generate energy. 

The Sustainability Challenge will give you the opportunity to:

  • engage with sustainability issues on campus
  • build problem-solving, teamworking, pitching, and presentation skills
  • interact with graduate employers
  • gain experience to enhance your CV

How will the Sustainability Challenge be delivered?

The Sustainability Challenge will take place over four Wednesday afternoons on 7, 14, 21 and 28 February 2024 between 1.30pm and 3.30pm. You must be able to commit to all four dates.

Session 1 - will introduce sustainability at Nottingham and you will have the opportunity to explore current sustainability challenges on campus. You’ll then start to generate ideas for potential eco solutions with the help of graduate employers who will provide a masterclass on idea creation and innovation.

Session 2 - will be about sharing and shaping your initial ideas into thought through green concepts. Each student will arrive with one or two ideas. You will then be matched with students with similar concepts to build on these, refine your recommendations, and craft a persuasive pitch.

Session 3 - will be a workshop to discuss your ideas with key stakeholders and sense check planned proposals.

Session 4 - is when you’ll present your sustainability solutions to a panel including staff from the Sustainability Team, Careers and Employability Service, and the Students' Union. You’ll receive personalised feedback.


What are the prizes for the winning team?

Members of the winning team will have the opportunity to complete a paid internship with the university's  Sustainability Team during the spring vacation period.

You will be able put your knowledge and skills of sustainability to practical use. This is an exciting opportunity to gain real world work experience alongside like-minded people passionate about sustainability on campus.

Plus, you will each receive a goodie bag that include Mooch or Portland Coffee vouchers, a University of Nottingham hoodie, and a reusable keep cup.


Last year's winners: Vegan Food Choices

Last year's winners of the inaugural Sustainability Challenge addressed the issue of food consumption and the CO2 produced by meat and dairy in the food choices at Nottingham. Their concept was to create a food loyalty card that incorporated a reward for choosing plant-based main meals. The students who chose these plant-based foods for their main meal would receive a stamp on their loyalty card, via an app to reduce paper wastage, and on their sixth stamp they would receive a free plant-based meal.

The challenge was great. It was really nice to meet new people and learn more about how we can make our university more sustainable. I'm personally going to be more committed after participating in the Sustainability Challenge, as I hope everyone would be.
Sarah Aljamal, winning team member


Do I need to have an idea to apply?
There is no requirement to have an idea, we just need enthusiasm and a demonstrable commitment to sustainability and to attend the four sessions.
Do I have to undertake work outside the four sessions?
There is no obligation to work on your idea outside the organised sessions but you may want to use your spare time to help shape your idea and pitch.

The Sustainability Challenge is a collaboration between the Careers and Employability Service, the Sustainability Team and the Students’ Union.

Careers and Employability Service

University of Nottingham
Portland Building, Level D
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 3680
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 3679