BY Janet Thomson, vice principal resources and college development

THE eyes of the world are on Glasgow for COP26, and environmental issues have never been higher on the news agenda.

As educators, it is essential for the College to keep up this momentum and ensure that ‘green’ topics are at the forefront of our teaching.

At Glasgow Clyde College, our faculty staff have been exploring various ways to include environmental awareness in the curriculum, and in the follow on from COP26, we want to push ourselves even further.

During the fortnight-long climate conference in Glasgow, five of our journalism students will be in attendance at the New York Times Climate Hub at SWG3. At this landmark event, they will learn valuable lessons about the climate crisis from leading global figures, as well as gain vital practical experience of reporting on a live story.

In addition, three journalism students have created a podcast in which they interview key spokespeople about sustainability in and around Glasgow.

Included among the interviewees were Kit England (Green Economy Manager for Glasgow City Council), Ryan Morris (Friends of the Earth Scotland) and Gemma Jennings (Urban Roots).

On our Cardonald Campus, the Fashion Open Studio programme hosted a workshop focussed on essential skills in garment repair with expert Sindiso Khumalo.

During the hands-on session, guests learned techniques in crochet and applique to mend, personalise and reinvent clothes, showing that simple fixes can significantly extend the lifespan of your wardrobe.

Students in our Electrical and Electronics department are the engineers of tomorrow that will be required to tackle the climate emergency.

To prepare them with relevant and practical skills for their future, in the lead up to COP26 the students were asked to develop an innovative solar tracker with integrated battery storage. These allow solar panels to follow the sun’s path in the sky similar to a sunflower and, despite being technically challenging, the student project revealed that they can harvest 40% more energy than the traditional stationary solar panel.

Healthcare students have also been doing their bit to promote sustainable practice as they continue their studies. Classes have been learning about the importance of newborn babies maintaining their body temperature, and as a result, they have been gathering off-cuts of wool and unwanted textiles to knit hats for infants in the Theatre and Neonatal Unit at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow.

Not only has this reduced landfill waste, but it has also shown the students the value of a sustainable, circular economy.

These are just a few snippets of the amazing work that has been going on across our three campuses – before, throughout, and beyond COP26.

We are all acutely aware that to achieve our net-zero targets as a nation, and as an international community, it is vital for climate awareness to be embedded in the learning experience at all stages of the educational journey, as well as the ongoing actions to continue to further reduce any climate impact of the College campuses activity.