Heriot-Watt students launch Global Sustainability Week ahead of COP28

TO CELEBRATE and promote sustainability, students at Heriot-Watt University are leading a series of events as part of a Global Sustainability Week initiative.  

Activities during the week, which runs to 3 November, include a conference on the theme of Engineering Net Zero by the NetZero and Chemical Engineering societies; a repair workshop where students can learn about mending their own clothes; and a painting workshop where students will paint reusable tote bags, run by Heriot-Watt’s Art Society. These will take place on the university’s Edinburgh campus at Riccarton and are led by Heriot-Watt University Student Union.  

Sebi Merino, vice-president community at Heriot-Watt Student Union, said: “Our students are very involved in sustainability and very passionate about it, so Global Sustainability Week is about celebrating and raising awareness of sustainability and getting students engaged in that.” 

Heriot-Watt is also hosting sustainability-themed activities including workshops, talks, outdoor events, and tips on how to live more sustainably at its other four campuses – Orkney, Galashiels, Malaysia, and Dubai. 

The Orkney campus is taking part in the Engineering Net Zero conference, while at Galashiels in the Scottish Borders, students can take part in a vintage clothing fair and a knitting and crochet workshop. 

Heriot-Watt’s campuses in Dubai and Malaysia will host their own programmes of student sustainability events during November. In Dubai, a beach clean-up drive, a thrift store rerun, and a sustainability trivia test are lined up, and in Malaysia, events will include: a “Seeds of Hope and Action” exhibition showcasing initiatives and actions for a sustainable future; a series of interactive booths focusing on sustainable practices and a net zero Carbon Campaign; and a dedicated initiative encouraging waste recycling. 

The sustainability events will take place ahead of COP28,  which is being hosted in Dubai from 30 November. The university has also transformed the 5th and 6th floor of its Dubai campus on Dubai Knowledge Park into a fringe venue for COP28 where it will host a programme of events, including panel discussions on climate change and an exhibition of clean tech. 

Lindsay Wilson, global sustainability strategic programme lead at Heriot-Watt University, said: “Engaging with our students on sustainability themes is a key goal for us at Heriot-Watt, so we’re really pleased that our student union in Edinburgh, student association in Malaysia and student council in Dubai have taken the initiative to lead these activities – especially as COP28 sharpens our focus on the climate crisis.”