St Hilda's College's riverside gardens in the summer

Fundraising Priority: Sustainability

We welcome the University’s world-leading environmental sustainability strategy, and are discussing feasibility and costs involved in the College’s matching the commitment to bring carbon emissions to net zero by 2035. Much of this will be achieved by major works to improve the energy efficiency of our existing buildings, while ensuring that any new construction has minimal ecological impact. In addition, we have already taken several actions to start the process of de-carbonising the College and to increase biodiversity across all of our sites. A significant milestone in early 2022 was the acquisition of Radley Large Wood, a 55-acre area of ancient semi-natural woodland to the south of Oxford. By active woodland management, we plan to protect the biodiversity and manage the embodied carbon in this site. Our ownership of the wood will ensure that it is enjoyed by our students and staff as well as the local community for many years to come.

On a smaller but still significant scale, the College is improving its daily practices to minimise food and water waste, paper and plastic use, and energy consumption. Our catering and gardening teams have worked particularly hard on this and have many innovative ideas for future improvements to help members of the College community make these small changes that add up to make a big difference

Our academics, too, are doing their bit by turning their formidable research skills towards this vital field. For instance, Professor David Howey, Fellow in Engineering, is passionate about applying his research to the ‘real world’, and his spin-out company Brill Power is working on many projects that have the potential to change how the world uses energy, including advanced battery management systems and electric vehicles. 

Sponsorship of a range of projects is available, from double-glazing the Garden Building for £300,000, to funding the student-science projects for a year for £10,000. Double or triple glazing a window is available for £3 - 5,000, while sponsoring a Smart Thermostatic Radiator Valve on one radiator is £150.

Biodiversity in the College gardens

While the College does more work to summarise and differentiate the costs of decarbonising our various properties to achieve net zero carbon and biodiversity net gain, we are very keen now to empower and support our students to engage in interlinked ‘student-science’ (our community version of citizen-science) projects about sustainability and biodiversity matters. We welcome support at all levels from alumnae to help the College educate future generations to take action.