RCE Severn - 2020

Live Smart
Basic Information
Title of project : 
Live Smart
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Severn
Contributing organization(s) : 
Lead partners:

University of Gloucestershire

Gloucester Cathedral

Regional partners: over 30 local organisations from different sectors including Gloucestershire Green Circle business network
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
University of Gloucestershire
Organizational Affiliation: 
Host of RCE Severn
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Additional resources: 
2019 community celebration film: https://youtu.be/xLp5VZmR7OA?list=PL2MJy1K3E__EY9Ug01wg9NOwQ-zAZjQDP

2020 Community Festival flyer (later adapted to online event ‘5 minutes to change the world’ due to Covid-19) https://uniofglos.blog/livesmart/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2020/03/Full-programme_final_web-1.pdf

‘5 minutes to change the world’ online event 2020: https://uniofglos.blog/livesmart/2020/06/03/5-minutes-to-change-the-world/

Community challenge brief for RCE partners 2020: https://sustainability.glos.ac.uk/community-challenge-opportunity-can-our-students-help-you/
University of Gloucestershire Sustainability Strategy
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
United Kingdom
Address of focal point institution for project: 
Sustainability Team
University of Gloucestershire
DH204 Dunholme Villa, Park Campus

Target Audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
Gloucestershire is a rural country in the west of England with a population of just under 1 million people. Surrounded by the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire has considerable natural assets and overall good quality of life, with strengths in the tourism and service sector, but faces challenges common to rural regions with low levels and distribution of ethnic diversity, and difficulty in retaining a strong working age population.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
46% of 18- to 24-year-olds see environmental issues as 1 of the 3 top UK concerns, compared with 27% of the general population (YouGov 2019). And over 89% want universities to lead on sustainability (National Union of Students 2019). But 5 times more students than 10 years ago report mental health problems (Mental Health Foundation 2018) and 79% of students worry about their finances (National Student Money Survey 2019). Live Smart addresses these concerns about how environment, finances and wellbeing interlink and connects students with the local community to take action, build future skills and deliver the UN Global Goals.
January, 2018
Live Smart was created in partnership with students as a new programme of informal learning and applied action in sustainability. As part of the University’s sustainability strategy its aim was to reach past the minority of students already interested in the environment, to make sustainability relevant and accessible to the mainstream student population. A small team of paid students create and deliver a series of communications, events and community challenges to boost their wellbeing, save them money and build belonging by working with their community whilst protecting the planet.

For RCE partners, the Community Challenge enables them to learn about sustainability in practice with students, collaborate across generations and gain insights into the UN SDGs. Gloucester Cathedral is lead partner in the Community Challenge, as another cultural anchor institution in the region with a deep commitment to sustainability. The Cathedral helps to develop the challenges and hosts the annual community festival celebration of the results, to meet its community engagement objectives. The underpinning shared aim in this RCE partnership is to build a more equal, prosperous and environmentally-friendly future for the RCE region and the wider planet, with strong focus on cultural diversity, empowering minority voices and crossing social boundaries.
Live Smart is a student-led programme that runs its annual Community Challenge with RCE Severn partners. Through practical voluntary challenges it helps students and local people to learn about the UN Global Goals through practice, seeing how to connect future concerns with immediate problems and to boost wellbeing, save money and strengthen our local community, whilst protecting the planet. Live Smart runs learning and communications activities on 3 themes:

1) Community – building belonging, celebrating diversity, social justice, local solidarity, global citizenship

2) Power of the Purse – saving money, reducing consumption, spending responsibly, sharing economy

3) Wellbeing – boosting happiness, active lifestyles, conserving nature, community connections
Activities and/or practices employed: 
Live Smart has 3 main activity strands:

1) Online Communications – students help to create and share practical tips on ways to live smarter whilst protecting the planet,, using social media, films and blogs linked to their mainstream student dashboard.

2) Community Challenge – RCE local partners team up with students on mini volunteering projects for the SDGs, to collaborate for change, and help students build skills, with small prize funds for the winning student teams

3) Interactive Events – students run small scale events on Live Smart themes and celebrate the challenges at the annual community festival, facilitating rich learning and exchange across social and cultural backgrounds.
Size of academic audience: 
8000 unique blog hits in 2 years, 10,000 people reached through social media films, 50 students and 30 RCE partners involved in community challenges, 15 students involved in project design and delivery to date.
The student team develops professional, change and influencing skills for sustainability each year. Further results:

Year 1:

Community challenge - 15 students and 17 RCE partners collaborated to improve their triple bottom line impact.

Community festival - 35 students and community groups from RCE region learning and sharing to celebrate community, diversity and collaboration for the UN SDGs.

New student-led blog - reached over 2,000 people with insights on sustainable living

Year 2:

Community challenge - 19 students and more than 20 RCE partners - wider engagement included Cheltenham climate strike with over 1,000 people.

Community festival - adapted series of live ‘5 minutes to change the world’ social media pieces reached 3000 people.

Blog - student engagement grew its reach to over 6,000 people

Cathedral Partnership - students and staff joined Gaia 2020 online webinar series reaching over 100 people in the RCE region
Lessons learned: 
Key to the success of Live Smart is it uses co-creation methods with students, who take this approach into their community challenges. The RCE Co-ordinator manages and mentors the student team, but activities are developed and led by students, leading to greater ownership, accelerated learning, and wider reach across the student body.

Students like the Live Smart concept as it reaches mainstream audiences not normally involved in sustainability projects. The RCE’s role is critical to develop students’ sense of belonging to their new communities – leading to improved friendships, greater cultural awareness, inclusiveness and positive perceptions of students as good citizens.

Key messages: 
Live Smart connects big issues our world is facing for the future with concerns that students and communities have right now. Students take up paid roles, build their portfolios, receive rewards, and develop skills in action, innovation and community collaboration, driving sustainability change for the University and local RCE partners.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
Live Smart supports the RCE Severn commitment to local action, community learning and professional development for the UN Global Goals. Expansion of the University and RCE contribution to local agendas through Live Smart includes:

Gloucester Cathedral – Live Smart has strengthened this partnership with the University and saw Live Smart student team invited to present at its major Gaia exhibition programme webinars on local change.

Gloucestershire Youth Climate Panel – Live Smart student team members were selected for this youth forum to drive Gloucestershire Energy Strategy and hold local authorities accountable on net zero carbon targets.

Gloucestershire Green Circle – local sustainable business network who joined the Live Smart challenge to support youth enterprise and sustainability practice in organisations across the region.

Cheltenham Education Partnership – members of this new cross-schools local partnership have become involved with the Live Smart student action challenges, e.g. Cheltenham Ladies College.
The Live Smart programme is funded by the Sustainability department at the University of Gloucestershire which hosts RCE Severn. Support for its pilot year came from successful bid to charitable foundation the Janet Trotter Trust. In-kind support is also provided by Gloucester Cathedral including access to event space, contacts and communications.


File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon 2019 community challenge winner with Cathedral and RCE Severn.jpg (165.87 KB) Celebrating the winners of the 2019 community challenge with Gloucester Cathedral RCE Severn
Image icon Inter cultural sharing at community festival 2019.jpg (1.14 MB) Students and community share stories of identity and culture through gargoyle sculpting helping to break down barriers and build a shared platform for collaboration and regional change for sustainability RCE Severn
Image icon Climate strike entry to community challenge 2020.png (192.88 KB) Over 1000 local groups and individuals come together with students to make their voices heard on climate change. AH photography
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 1 - End poverty in all its forms everywhere 
SDG 2 - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture 
SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages 
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
SDG 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls 
SDG 6 - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all 
SDG 7 - Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all 
SDG 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all 
SDG 9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation 
SDG 10 - Reduce inequality within and among countries 
SDG 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable 
SDG 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns 
SDG 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts 
SDG 14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development 
SDG 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss 
SDG 16 - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels 
SDG 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development 
Traditional Knowledge  
Curriculum Development 
ESD for 2030-Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 1 - Advancing policy 
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Priority Action Area 3 - Developing capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 4 - Mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level