Sustainability Challenge

Do you have a fantastic sustainable idea that could be incorporated into every day life on campus? Then this is for you!

The Sustainability Challenge is:

• A chance to inspire and help Bournemouth University become more environmentally sustainable by creating an idea as an individual or as part of a team and presenting your idea to a panel of judges

• A chance to work across disciplines with students from other faculties or departments, and create an interdisciplinary and innovative idea

• An opportunity to win £100 from our challenge Sponsor 'Gaia Card' to help kickstart your idea

• An experience that will give you new skills, new contacts and impress future employers 

You will need to research your idea and show how it could be incorporated into Bournemouth University life. Think outside the box! It can be based on any area of Bournemouth University from food to travel, to accomodation, retail outlets, your course and more!

Challenge Sponsor  

The challenge will be sponsored this year by 'Gaia Card'- a local sustainable business that was founded by a previous BU graduate! 

Gaia is helping our communities, businesses and consumers be more sustainable. We are calling for…consumers and businesses alike to choose positively impactful products, to use them wisely and to engage with brands and the issues they care about. We are making sustainable and healthy living more affordable and accessible to the masses. We make consumerism go hand-in-hand with climate activism, allowing you to do your part whilst still living a busy modern life. Whilst giving back to regeneration projects around the world.

  • The winner/ winning team of the Sustainability challenge will receive £100 from Gaia card to be invested into kickstarting their idea!
  • Gaia card will be planting 500 trees in aid of the winners of the challenge! 
  • Runners up will also receive a free Gaia Card to gain discounts at local sustainable businesses!

Registration opens on 1st September 2021 and closes on 31st October 2021. Click HERE to fill in your application.

The Final will take place with our panel of judges on 3rd December 2021 where you and your team will present your idea.

Join our Facebook Page HERE for regular updates


The Sustainability Challenge is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to come together and create an idea to make the university campuses more sustainable. For students considering taking part in this competition it is also: A chance to inspire and help Bournemouth University become more environmentally sustainable • A chance to work across disciplines with students from other faculties or departments, and create an interdisciplinary and innovative idea • An opportunity to win prizes • An experience that will give you new skills, new contacts and impress future employers

We encourage teams to have between 1 to 6 members.

Any BU student is eligible to be part of a team with members from anywhere across BU. You can join up with peers on your programme, in your accommodation or anywhere else!

If you want to sign up as an individual, please do! Or, when you sign up you can tell us what sustainable areas you are interested in and we will pair youup with another team interested in the same.

Go to this link and fill in the online form.

The SUBU and BU Sustainability Teams will be hosting information and Q&A sessions for any questions you may have. We encourage you to find a mentor if you feel it would benefit, as it is a great research and networking opportunity. We can help you with this, or we’ll certainly try!

The winning idea for 20-21 was a 'Sustainability Starter Pack' to be given to all BU students to help them live more sustainably whilst at BU. Other ideas were a plant based campus, a re-fill shop and a book swap. This about something you are passionate about, be as creative as you like!

The Challenge is a platform for students to come together and create an idea. The winning idea will be considered for funding/ sponsorship to help bring the diea to life however there is not an expectancy that you must fulfil the idea or that the university will accept it and/or fund its implementation

We can’t give that away! BUT they will consist of both internal BU staff and external experts within the Sustainability sector.

Yes! Taking part in the Sustainability Challenge is recognised as part of the Skilled Practioner Badge on the Global Talent Programme and allows you to gain credit towards your Global Talent Award. Find out more and join here:

Sustainability Challenge - 20-21 Results

The 20-21 Sustainability Challenge took place on February 24th 2021 and saw 7 teams of BU students come together to present their ideas on how Bournemouth University could improve its sustainability for a chance to win £500 to make their idea into a reality. The challenge was run in collaboration with BU Sustainability and the prize money was sponsored by Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council.

The 7 teams had 2 months to prepare for their presentation which was judged on the level of research and testing, innovation and creativity, practical ability and application and, finally, overall impact. We had some really innovative ideas presented to our judging panel including on campus refill shops, a wall of kindness, a plant based campus and much more! 

However, the winning idea was ‘The Sustainability Starter Pack’. This idea was created by 3 BU Masters students - Megan Leonard, June Vorraa and Lucy James. The Sustainability Starter Pack is an initiative that will give all BU students a simple guide on how to live a sustainable life whilst at BU by making small changes to their everyday life such as their diet, recycling and waste management, sustainable travel and much more! Keep your eyes peeled for more information launching soon!



Ethical Trade Fortnight

Celebrating Fairtrade and Other Ethical Trade Brands

Fairtrade fortnight is an International campaign which celebrates Fairtrade, on the last week of February and first week of March. Here at SUBU we celebrate Ethical Trade Fortnight during the same 2 weeks. In 2021, we celebrated from 22nd February until 7th March, however, we can all support ethical trade brands all the time.

We encourage students to think about purchasing ethical trade brands, to support workers overseas so that they can produce and sell their products in a fair way, to ensure they have a decent wage and standard of living, and to ensure that products are resourced in a careful and sustainable way, so that our environment does not become damaged or polluted. 

Check out our Whats On Page here for a whole host of virtual events brought to you by Fairtrade from visiting craft workshops in Bethlehem to Bake Offs, to Bollywood & Banghra.  Click here to find a Fairtrade event for you.

Keep an eye on our SUBU Social Media, facebook and instagram pages, for competitions throughout the fortnight, for your chance to win some Fairtrade goodies.

You can win Fairtrade Vegan Chocolate from Pico of Switzerland, or Lavendar Dark Chocolate, or Mandarin and Ginger Dark Chocolate from Seed and Bean, or a lovely box of Fairtrade Malteasers, or a lovely Ethical trade hamper with So Organic Chenin Blanc wine, Percol Americano Instant Coffee, Sainsburys Instant Hot Chocolate, Good Earth Cloud Mist Green Tea, Love Beauty and Planet Coconut Shampoo Bar, Boutique Cotton Buds, and Malteasers.

You can find out more about ethical trade brands below - simply click on the icons.

At Bournemouth University, we recognise the importance of Fairtrade items and we stock various items which are Fairtrade at university and students union outlets. 

What is Fairtrade?

Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices which must never fall lower than the market price, Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives.

Big Give

The Big Give is SUBU's biggest sustainability campaign.


What is The Big Give? 

The Big Give is where students in halls of residence and private rented accommodation have a big end of year clear out, and donate all of their unwanted stuff to charity, rather then letting it go to landfill. By donating 6.7 metric tonnes unwanted stuff, students have raised ££££THOUSANDS for charity.  This year we have a partnership with The British Heart Foundation and Trussell Trust Bournemouth Food Bank.

The Big Give 2021 raised over £18,337 with over 700 bags of clothing and over 232kg of unopened food being donated being donated by BU Students.

When will it be running in 2022? 

We will be hosting  the Big Give in 2022, and due to feedback from students and Halls Managers we will be extending the donation period by six weeks.

You can donate your unwanted items such as clothing, shoes, accessories, and bric-a-brac to the British Heart Foundation, and non-perishable food such as unopen tin cans, rice or pasta to the Trussell Trust Bournemouth Foodbank One Can Plan. 

We are also hoping to work with our charity partners to take duvets and pillows. 

The donation points listed below in the 2021 Big Give, will be increased with metal bins on campus at Talbot and Lansdowne, as well as more Halls of Residence participating in the project.

Big Give Donation Points on Campus

Bournemouth Gateway Building (BGB) - Lansdowne Campus - BHF Clothing Bin & Foodbank Bin

SUBU, Student Centre - Talbot Campus - BHF Clothing Bin & Foodbank Bin

Big Give Donation Points in Halls

Cranborne House - Lansdowne - BHF Clothing Bin and Foodbank Bin

Skyline - Lansdowne - BHF Clothing Bin

Oxford Point - Lansdowne - BHF Clothing Bin

Student Village - Talbot - BHF Clothing Bin & Foodbank Bin

Home Park - Lansdowne - BHF Clothing Bin & Foodbank Bin

Big Give Temporary Donation Points in Winton provided in partnership with British Heart Foundation and BCP Council.

Leslie Road, Carpark at the back of Lidl - BHF Clothing Bin

Cranmer Road, Carpark at the back of Wilkinsons - BHF Clothing Bin

 You can read the Big Give 2021 Report by clicking here.

I am moving out of my student accommodation now, can you help? 

Speak to your accomodation manager. Some halls of residence have contacts at local homeless charities and also food banks and others will be taking part in our BIG Give. Please be mindful of what you will be throwing away in the bin. This will go to landfill and take years to decompose. If you can take this back to your home with you, please do. If not speak to your accommodation manager and they may be able to help you out. Speak to friends and family (within social distancing rules) and see if they would want any items that you no longer require. 

How do I find out more?

If you have any questions about The Big Give, please email us:


Green Day

Coming soon to the Student Centre, Green Day 2021 will be on 10th November from 10:00am til 3:00pm, with lots of sustainable and ethical organisations who will be happy to speak to students about climate action and sustainable and ethical living. 

Our previous Green Day events have featured:

SUBU Sustainability

Permaculture Society (guardians of the allotment)here

Reduceatarian Society

Wildlife Conservation Society BU

BU Sustainability


Comfort and Care Campaign


BCP Council Waste Aware
Helping you recycle and manage your waste at home responsibly.

SOS Save Our Shores
We are a collective of organisations and people working together to stop further oil drilling in the areas of our protected marine zones in and around Poole Bay, and to reduce the extraction of fossil fuels in Dorset.

Wessex Water
Help conserve water and stop blocking pipes with wet wipes.

Eat Grub
EAT GRUB is a boundary-breaking new sustainable food brand that aims to revolutionise Western food culture by introducing insects as a staple part of it. Insects are a tasty and highly nutritious source of food. Come and try crickets and mealworms!

The Food E-Box
We want to bring together the local producers community so that we can pick the finest products and deliver them straight to your door, minimising pollution in our environment

CanO Water
Resealable cans of water that can be reused and recycled over and over again. Speak to the brand reps about this new way to carry water with you.

Friends of the Earth
We are part of an international community dedicated to protecting the natural world and the wellbeing of everyone in it. We lead campaigns, provide resources and information, and drive real solutions to the environmental problems facing us all.

SUEZ UK – (BU Waste Contractor)
Part of the global SUEZ group, we employ more than 5,000 people in the UK. Since 1988, we have been delivering innovative and environmentally responsible solutions to manage waste and water for our customers – households, local authorities, and industry and commerce.

Almond&Co. Bournemouth – is Bournemouth's first shop dedicated to reducing shoppers waste and plastic footprint. Almond & Co are all about finding tasty produce and clever products that look great, work hard, and don’t cause any unnecessary harm to the planet

Check back here regularly for updates on Sustainable organisations that will be here to talk to you on SUBU Green Day.

If you have any questions or suggestions about SUBU Green Day, feel free to email