Ignite students go green on sustainable field trip
This summer, a group of 12 Ignite students participated in a field trip to Amsterdam, focused on climate change and sustainability. Students from disadvantaged or underrepresented backgrounds can often miss out on study abroad opportunities due to financial constraints, work or caring responsibilities. However, research shows that students who study abroad outperform their peers both academically and professionally.
Students who studied abroad are 19% more likely to gain a first-class degree and are 10% more likely to be in ‘graduate’ jobs six months after graduation. For those from underrepresented and disadvantaged groups, the benefits are even more pronounced: Black, Asian and minority ethnic students who studied abroad are 17% more likely to be in ‘graduate’ jobs six months after graduation, and mature students earn 10% more than their peers.
This field trip aimed to broaden the students’ horizons through travel and you can watch them talk about their experience in this video. The students participated in a comprehensive Sustainable Global Experience, run by Pagoda Projects, which included an online carbon literacy course, access to digital skills courses, and the sustainable field trip to Amsterdam. Amsterdam is the epicentre of several world-leading initiatives to improve environmental, social and governance performance and value, making it an ideal destination for the field trip.
The trip began with the students, Ignite staff and Pagoda team travelling by Eurostar to Amsterdam. In terms of carbon emissions, one flight is equivalent to 13 trips on the Eurostar! The five-night trip itself was carbon neutral, with its carbon emissions being offset by 150%. Across four days, the students heard from companies contributing to climate solutions including circular economy initiatives. The group also visited an immersive exhibition about the effects of energy consumption on climate change and worked together to prepare and present a group project exploring the concepts of greenwashing, using real-life examples as case studies. Group projects like this are a great way to enhance students’ skills they’ll use in their careers, including communication, critical thinking and teamwork.
The students gave extremely positive feedback about the Sustainable Global Experience and a big shift was seen in the students’ attitudes towards climate change: before the trip, 22% felt motivated to act on climate change and afterwards this had increased to 95% with one student saying: “This was such an inspiring experience – now I truly understand the importance of reducing our carbon footprint.”
Southampton awarded “highly commended” in Social Mobility Awards
The University of Southampton placed as “highly commended” after being shortlisted for the UK Social Mobility Awards in the University of the Year category. The University’s Director of Widening Participation and Social Mobility, Gino Graziano, said he and colleagues were “besides themselves” to be recognised and thanked donors for their support which makes a fairer future for all students, regardless of their background, possible.
The UK Social Mobility Awards recognise and celebrate UK organisations in their efforts to improve social mobility within their workforce and beyond. Organised by societal change charity, Making The Leap, the SOMOs were the first national awards dedicated to social mobility, aiming to raise social mobility awareness by sharing the innovative work of forward-thinking organisations working to improve it.
The University was recognised for demonstrating our commitment to advancing social mobility and the efficacy of the initiatives we have created.
Welcoming the 2022-23 cohort of undergraduate Ignite Your Success students
This month we were delighted to welcome 31 first-year students into the Ignite cohort. They join the 58 Ignite undergraduate students who moved into their second and third years this September.
Thanks to the generous support of donors, we have awarded two students a £42,000 three-year scholarship, 15 students will receive a £10,000 bursary over their three years of study while a further 14 students will receive £3,000. The first-year Ignite students will be undertaking a range of courses, including Law, Computer Science, Neuroscience, Philosophy, Nursing, Geography, International Relations and Chemical Engineering.
We met with new and returning students at a Welcome Breakfast in early November (see photo), where they had the opportunity to chat with the Ignite team and get to know each other ahead of this year’s programme of workshops and activities.
New ‘Ignite Your Future’ scheme for post-graduate students launches
Building on the amazing foundations of “Ignite Your Success”, which helps undergraduate students from under-represented backgrounds, we are thrilled to launch “Ignite Your Future” this academic year. Ignite Your Future supports progression to post-graduate study, where we currently see under-representation in academia.
We hope that through this branch of Ignite, we can encourage and support eligible students into an academic pathway who might otherwise end their studies after their undergraduate degree.
Ignite Your Future launches with one student receiving an £8,000 bursary to support their studies for an MSc in Energy and Sustainability. The bursary recipient will receive financial support, one-to-one pastoral support from a member of the Ignite team, as well as mentoring from a PhD student in a related field, and the opportunity to take part in a paid, policy-based internship.
The launch of Ignite Your Future to support post-graduate students is only possible thanks to the generosity of donors – thank you.