Sustainability Action Blog


Student research is changing the world

By Julia Kendal |


On Friday 15 April 101 people gathered on the University’s Highfield Campus to hear undergraduate and postgraduate students present their sustainability research. Delegates from around the UK and as far afield as Sweden, Germany, the USA and Mexico traveled to Southampton to be part of the UK’s first ever international student sustainability research symposium.

This was an event for students and led by students. Two student interns, Imogen Dinham-Price and Beckie Thomas, brought the student voice and skills to the design and organising of the event. Students were invited to present their research at the event. Over 40 students presented their research, showing how students are making a difference across the breadth of social, economic, political, cultural and environmental sustainability issues. Topics ranged from terrorism to food security, mental health to prenuptial agreements, local conservation to global oil supplies; student research really is opening up our understanding of the world, and enabling us to change it for the better.

Students were involved in every other area of the symposium too – peer reviewing application to present, chairing presentation sessions, capturing the event through illustration and on social media. The symposium was a unique experience for students to develop new skills and gain insight into this facet of academic life.


The University’s Vice Chancellor spoke to delegates about the role universities have to play in shaping a sustainable world. Other keynote speeches were delivered by Jakob Grandin, Educational Coordinator at the Centre for Environment and Development Studies (CEMUS) at Uppsala University and the Swedish University for Agricultural Sciences, and Southampton alumnus Lydia Butler, European Environment and Sustainability Graduate at Samsung Electronics.

symposium_jakob_grandinLydia Butler

The sense of celebration at the end of the day was tangible, with the winning student presenters being announced. The calibre of student research and presentation skills set the bar; we look forward to next year already!



See more of the highlights from the day on Storify.