The University of Bath is developing an ambitious Climate Action Framework and have committed to ‘developing educational initiatives to build a world class reputation for high quality education on climate-related issues with global reach and scale’. As part of this initiative, an interdisciplinary group of academic and professional services staff collaborated to provide a Climate Literacy induction course for all incoming University of Bath undergraduate and postgraduate students.

The course provides new students with an opportunity to familiarise themselves with some of the learning technologies used during the new semester, including Moodle and Zoom, whilst also engaging with the topic of climate change and the climate emergency and gaining an insight into the University’s applied teaching and research in this area.

Dr Steve Cayzer, Education Lead for the Climate Action Framework: “This course provides our students with an invaluable opportunity to engage with the climate emergency and our research in the area. Just as importantly, it connects students both within their faculty and across the institution. It emphasises our ambition to empower our students with the knowledge, skills and supportive network so they can have a positive impact on the world. Making this activity the first thing students engage with is a real statement of how seriously we take both the climate emergency and the agency of our students.”

Participants were able to enhance their digital skills by contributing to Moodle discussions, uploading formative submissions, and participating in live online events which included polls and breakout rooms. These activities gave students from different faculties and courses the opportunity to get to know each other, and discuss how their individual disciplines can work together to tackle the global challenges of the climate emergency.

At the end of the induction over 250 students made a personal pledge via Moodle to take action. These included: ‘As a student, I pledge to be more conscious in the way I purchase food. This will include buying food with less plastic packaging, and consuming more meat alternatives. As a global citizen, I pledge to use my voice in support of environmental issues- this will include specifically signing petitions and voting for campaigns with a green message.’

Students were signposted to existing initiatives which they can now get involved with, including the student society People & Planet, One Young World Bath and the extra-curricula Vertically Integrated Projects.

As a result of the induction course, around 40 students signed up to a Climate Leaders programme, where they are able to continue pursuing their interest in climate change matters through a range of interdisciplinary activities, including talks and workshops to develop their own ideas for tackling climate change. The first debate, hosted by Peter Harper, discussed how to quickly and substantially reduce global carbon emissions through personal and industrial-scale actions. The next student-led session focuses on Fast Fashion, on 7 December.