The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

#GetSust: Welcome to the Sustainability Challenge, the biggest ever event on campus

On Tuesday 20th September 2016, the university is running a landmark collaborative event to engage all 8000 new first year students in University of Manchester’s Ethical Grand Challenges Programme

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This Welcome Week, the University of Manchester is planning to engage all 8000 first year students in a huge interactive one-day event unlike anything you’ve ever seen on campus.

The Sustainability Challenge—part of the Ethical Grand Challenges Programme, the university’s flagship Social Responsibility initiative—aims to introduce students at the start of their degree to the challenges of sustainability and social responsibility, and engage them in University of Manchester’s strategic vision for the future.

Most universities have two strategic goals, but the University of Manchester is unique in its strategic plan, focusing not only on world-class research and outstanding learning and student experience, but also on social responsibility, which now makes up an integral part of the university as a whole.

The event was held for the first time in 2015, though on a much smaller scale; this year, University of Manchester are daring to make the Challenge the biggest one-day event that campus has ever seen.

Held across 9 buildings, in 96 classrooms, with over 8000 students invited to attend, the event has been created following years of research on campus, enabling the Challenge to tap in to the real, pressing issues that the university and its students face.

The university is purposefully not releasing many details, as the event hinges on the element of surprise, but what we do know is that the Challenge will be a simulation exercise designed to introduce new students to the University of Manchester as an institution: committed to making a difference, and working across disciplines to solve problems.

Students will be tasked with planning a large-scale development for the fictional ‘University of Millchester’, tackling a complex and realistic mix of environmental, social, and economic dilemmas.

Completion of the challenge will also be the first step in achieving the new Manchester Leadership Award. The Sustainability Challenge is part of the Ethical Grand Challenges Programme, which gives University of Manchester students the opportunity to explore three of the biggest challenges that the world faces in the 21st century: Sustainability is the aim of Year 1, whilst Year 2 will focus on Social Justice, and Year 3 on Workplace Ethics.

In October 2016, the Volunteering and Social Justice Festival takes place launching a year of activity under the JustFest Social Justice banner.

The festival aims to challenge injustice, support human rights, and promote a fairer society; students will explore the concept of social justice through interactive workshops, exhibitions, performances and online experiences.

The final stage of the programme, centred on Workplace Ethics, is intended for final year students and is due to be implemented after 2017, to encourage students to consider ethical dilemmas in real-life work situations.

To find out more about the challenge and the Ethical Grand Challenges Programme, follow them on Twitter @EGC_Manchester, or visit their website.