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Top Tips for Current/Prospective Students

Students have great potential to influence climate action – climate activism is growing in universities, and many students want to live more sustainably and speak out about issues that will influence their future, like the climate emergency. With almost 50,000 students attending the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth alone, they represent a significant part of the population that can influence climate-friendly behaviour change across the region. This, alongside corporate activity, policy changes and action from the general public, is essential to helping Devon achieve net-zero.

If you’re wondering what you can do about climate change and nature loss, look no further. We’ve compiled a list of effective ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

You can also skip to look at resources for the University of Exeter or University of Plymouth.

First, calculate your personal carbon footprint:

Simply answer a few quick questions in the WWF Footprint Calculator about your lifestyle, diet and transport habits to find your footprint. If you would like to track your carbon footprint from year to year and spend more time getting a better estimate of your footprint, use the Carbon Footprint Tracker developed by Act on Climate Teignbridge.

Next, take a look at our video:

In this video we have compiled seven of the most achievable tips to make your journey to a low-carbon lifestyle easier.




Consider lifestyle changes to save money, make new friends, and reduce your emissions


It might be easier than you think to reduce your emissions – low consumption, active travel student lifestyles can already have a lower carbon footprint.

Sustainable behaviours are good for you and the planet. They often come with other benefits like saving money with thrifting, meeting new friends at eco-friendly societies, getting healthy by walking to lectures and more.

To get started, check out our page with Top Tips for everyone and pick a few to try.

There’s no benchmark for being ‘sustainable enough’ – have a go and do what you can!

People in a lecture

Ideas for students:

Besides our Top Tips for everyone, here are some more ideas for a more sustainable lifestyle:


    • Share with flatmates. You could try cooking a meal together on a regular basis to save money on ingredients and reduce food waste, or wash all clothes of a similar colour together to reduce the number of washes and save on energy bills.

    • Use reusable bottles or cups. You won’t have to buy bottled drinks from more expensive university shops, and you could get discounts on hot drinks if you bring your own reusable cup.

    • Thrift your clothes. Explore your city, get creative with your style and find some hidden gems, all while spending less on clothing.

    • Walk or wheel to university. It’s cheaper and an easy way to fit some healthy activity into your day.

    • Travel by train for longer journeys. The 16-25 railcard gives you 1/3 off most train fares throughout Great Britain.

    • Eat a balanced diet. Not only is including lots of fruit, veg, nuts and pulses in your diet healthy, they’re also low carbon. Plus, preparing meals in advance can help you to save money on ingredients, and cooking recipes from scratch can be a cheaper option.




Take sustainability into account when choosing a university


Universities can directly or indirectly contribute to sustainability with things like their energy and food use, food served on campus, how they encourage sustainable behaviour from students and staff and more.

Choosing to go to a sustainable university can help to support what they do and influence more universities to become sustainable.

People studying


Check league tables

A range of league tables and accreditations rank universities on their sustainability.


Ask if sustainability is embedded in your degree

Investigate whether your course and faculty teaches about sustainability or operates in a sustainable way. There may also be sustainability talks, workshops and other resources outside of your degree that you could access.

Look at the university’s web pages about sustainability

Most universities have dedicated communications about their action on climate change, which can be the quickest way to learn what the university is doing.

See if the university has declared a climate emergency

Declaring an emergency shows that the university acknowledges that climate change is a serious problem and shows their support for change.




University of Exeter – Resources


The University of Exeter in Exeter, Devon, and Falmouth, Cornwall, UK, offers research and study in sciences, social sciences, business, humanities and arts.

Streatham Campus



    • Green Rewards sign up through the web platform or app to log sustainable actions and earn Green Points for prizes.

Bleed Green, Live Green: A Fresher’s Guide To Sustainable Living

As part of the University of Exeter’s 2023 Grand Challenges event, one participating group of students created a guide to sustainable living. You can view their booklet here.

Please note that the booklet represents the views of the students and not the DCE partnership.


University of Plymouth – Resources


The University of Plymouth in Plymouth, Devon, UK, has campuses and affiliated colleges across South West England.





    • Sustainability Map – for an easy way to find local eco-friendly spots like cycle facilities, specialist recycling and electric vehicle charging.

    • Sustainability Hub – explore a collaborative space for sustainability research, education and partnership.

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