In the first step of its kind all new students at the University of Bath will have the opportunity to learn about Carbon Literacy during their University induction this month.

More than 5,000 students will learn about the carbon intensity involved in everyday activities like travel, energy use and food consumption, and how to reduce emissions individually as well as across organisations and systems. They will have the opportunity to complete follow-up training with The Carbon Literacy Project to earn a Carbon Literacy certification.

The roll-out of the scheme to all new undergraduate and postgraduate students follows a successful pilot project last year involving around 100 students. Returning second year students will also be offered the chance to take the course.

Dr Steve Cayzer, Climate Action Learning & Teaching Liaison at the University, said: “We’re delighted to roll this out to all our new students with the Carbon Literacy Project after it was so well received in last year’s pilot.

“The idea came from the belief that every student coming to Bath should have a level of Carbon Literacy and that we wanted to weave that into the student experience and give everyone the chance to get involved.

“This is part of the University of Bath’s whole-institution response to the climate emergency. We know that this is an issue that students care about passionately and is something that will have a bearing on the rest of their lives. By introducing Carbon Literacy right at the start of the University experience we begin to get people into that mindset and thinking straight away, as well as helping them develop knowledge and skills that will be valuable throughout their lives.”

The initiative is part of the University’s response to the climate emergency through its Climate Action Framework. This commits the University to a series of climate goals, including total carbon neutrality by 2040, as well as giving all students the chance to learn about climate change and supporting the university community to enable carbon emission reductions.

Elsa Swetenham is a Natural Sciences student who took the course as part of the pilot last year. She said: “The Carbon Literacy course was a great way for me to get thinking about what problems the world is facing in terms of the climate crisis and how Bath is responding to these challenges. It really inspired me to find out what the university is doing and how I could personally get involved in climate action at the University. I found the course engaging, the right length and it came at a good time.

“The course also encouraged me to look at what career I could have and how I can incorporate climate into it. Overall, has made me a lot more climate conscious with most decisions I make.

“I think that this is a great step forward in the right direction. No matter what age or discipline students are, this is a global issue that needs global attention.”

After an initial session as part of their induction students will have the opportunity to complete further follow up training with The Carbon Literacy Project and earn a certification in Carbon Literacy for a £10 fee. A subsidy for students on low incomes will be available to mitigate the cost.

Emma Richards, Project Leader at The Carbon Literacy Project, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with the University of Bath to deliver Carbon Literacy training. Using the Manchester Metropolitan University Carbon Literacy Toolkit for Universities, Bath is planning to deliver the largest ever programme of induction week training to students – offering the training to the entire undergraduate intake across the university, which equates to around 5,000 students. It’s great to see such high ambition from Bath and we can’t wait to see more universities follow their lead.

“Carbon Literacy is a core competency in the workplace, much like health and safety, so by increasing access to Carbon Literacy whilst at university, students like those at Bath will be much better equipped for entering a zero-carbon workforce.”

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