Celebrating progress and looking towards a greener future at Wolfson’s ‘Transforming Sustainability’ conference

Wolfson President Professor Jane Clarke presenting an award to Dr Charlie Barty-King

Sustainability is at the heart of our College, and the 'Transforming Sustainability at Wolfson' conference held last week proved the perfect platform to showcase our success.

Wolfson President Professor Jane Clarke presenting an award to Dr Charlie Barty-King

Organised by Wolfson's Interdisciplinary Research Hub in Sustainability and Conservation (S&C Hub), the 'Transforming Sustainability' conference held on Friday 14 July brought together members of Wolfson’s international community of students, staff, Fellows and alumni, along with attendees from across the university, to celebrate the progress in sustainability that has been made by the College over the past three years. 

“This day conference showcased the huge strides that the Wolfson College community, working together, has made to deliver on our strategic promise - 'to deliver leadership in sustainability through innovative education, research and invention to deliver a better, more sustainable future for all inhabitants of our shared planet,'" remarked Wolfson President, Professor Jane Clarke, who has been instrumental in the College's commitment to sustainability through the development of our Strategic Plan.

Professor Steve Evans, Chair of the College’s Sustainability Committee, and the S&C Hub, opened up the first session of the day. He outlined the beginnings of the Hub and its development, the importance of community as a focus of action and knowledge, highlighting alumni involvement from the outset and the Living Lab Projects as a place of experimentation.

The first session is available to watch on the College's YouTube Channel, and there is more footage from the conference to come.

From Wolfson to the world

With four engaging sessions to attend, Building a Resilient Community, Sustainability Research at Wolfson, Making an Impact, and Delivering Institutional Change, there was plenty to get excited about.

“We heard about award-winning innovations, such as the Living Lab Projects and the Sustainability Thinking Space, ground-breaking research and stories of strategic thinking and of personal development. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion shone through.

Wolfson members are not simply making a difference at home, from the commitment of our staff and students working together to make Wolfson a greener College,” said Jane, “but, through our alumni, we are making a difference across the world. Thank you, Wolves.”

Acknowledging success

The conference was organised by Dr Charlie Barty-King, Wolfson alumnus and S&C Hub Lead Convener, who was presented with a special award in recognition of his contribution to the College.

“Friday brought me so much hope - hearing, celebrating and acknowledging the amazing people, action and knowledge of so many," says Charlie. "In only three years, we've developed and demonstrated a Theory of Change in collaboration with our whole community, and empowered and embedded grassroots actions and decision-making. This has led to a much broader and deeper institutional culture change that would otherwise have been unimaginable less than 5 years ago.

In doing so, we've helped trigger climate action at all levels of the College, and this was on full display on Friday!"

For Charlie, it is the College community which is at the centre of the progress being made, and with whom hope for the future lies.

"Seeing staff, students, alumni, Fellows and friends come together to share what they have achieved and want for the future was incredible. What struck me throughout the day was how important it is that we understand what 'sustainability' in its broadest sense means to us. That our own interests, thoughts and ideas are incredibly valuable to address the systems-to-individual problem of the climate emergency. That including other's experiences and understandings often serve our own. That there are reasons to be optimistic. That taking action is genuinely fun and rewarding, not inherently arduous or overwhelming. These concepts seem critical to success.

And on Friday I was shown this is exactly what we've done as we mature into an international community of action and knowledge.”


Photos from this event are available on the College Flickr.


Discover more about sustainability at Wolfson

You can find out more about sustainability at Wolfson on our Environment and Sustainability page, and learn more about the Sustainability & Conservation Hub on their homepage.