Two thirds of today’s students prioritise living sustainably while at university

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Living ethically and sustainably is a priority for two thirds of UK students today, according to a recent survey conducted by The Student Energy Group.

With climate anxiety on the rise amongst younger generations, The Student Energy Group surveyed over 1,000 students to uncover attitudes towards sustainability and other aspects of university.

It revealed that the environment was higher up on the priority list than more stereotypical student interests, such as drinking alcohol which was only important to 33% of students today.

In fact, the survey suggests that booze-fuelled university days are a thing of the past, with less than 20% of students engaging in frequent partying and over 40% stating it’s only an occasional or rare activity for them.

And the contrast to previous generations was made apparent with the survey also quizzing over 1,000 parents who attended university.

The results suggested that nightlife did used to be a more integral part of university life, with two thirds of parents deeming socialising and partying as important and only half caring about living ethically and sustainably.

Following the survey results, The Student Energy Group spoke to current students from various UK cities to explore the role that sustainability plays in their university experience and what they do to look after the environment.

Hannah Brooker at University of Leeds said: “I’m passionate about doing my bit for the planet, and so are my peers. Most of us are vegan or vegetarian, we tend to walk everywhere, and many of us try to take part in environmental protests where we can.

“I do think that it’s in students’ interests to be eco-conscious because of the financial benefits it can bring. For example, using less gas or electricity in your shared house is great for the planet, but it also makes our bills much cheaper.”

Rhianna McCabe studies Occupational Therapy at Coventry University and believes that universities are starting to respond to the needs of students. She commented: “We’re encouraged to donate our healthcare uniforms as part of a university recycling programme, which means that other students can use them instead of having to buy brand-new ones. It’s a great initiative and makes being sustainable while studying much easier.”

“Across the board, though, I think students are much more switched onto the environmental agenda than previous generations. Recycling, using public transport and buying pre-loved clothes are all things I do regularly, whereas going to clubs and drinking is something I only do on a special occasion. Boozing was all my parents did at uni from the stories I hear!”

Beyond sustainability, the survey uncovered other important aspects for university students of today: looking after mental health (84%), academic success (88%) and gaining knowledge and skills for future career prospects (86%).

Commenting on the survey, James Villarreal, Director of The Student Energy Group, said: “These results show there really is a new generation of eco-minded students, and it’s interesting to see how sustainability now comes on a par with things like academic success and mental wellbeing.”

“As a business, our goal is to simply do the right thing for students – and supporting students in their vision for a greener world is what drives us.”

The Student Energy Group provides a solution for students to bundle and split energy bills, all while saving the planet. Find out more about The Student Energy Group here.