Better World: A Celebration of Sussex
By: Stephanie Allen
Last updated: Wednesday, 10 November 2021
On Wednesday 20 October, the University of Sussex launched a year of celebrations for its 60th anniversary with the Better World: A Celebration of Sussex event. The event focussed on the impact Sussex researchers and alumni are having in the challenge to create a more sustainable society.
Opening the event, Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell said: ‘We’re all now acutely aware of the urgency to save our planet. When it comes to protecting the environment, we all have a role to play and for many years our academics have been doing tremendous work to protect and restore the environment.’
More than 100 guests attended the Better World event in the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts (ACCA), including distinguished alumni, business and community leaders, University supporters, as well as current staff and students.
There were four inspiring talks from Sussex academics and a prize-winning graduate.
Climate change expert Dr Melissa Lazenby talked about the role of education as a tool to instigate change, Professor Peter Newell focused on his proposal for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty and low-carbon energy transitions, and biologist Dr Mika Peck discussed the regeneration of kelp forests on the South Coast. Guests then heard from Sussex alumnus Lucy Hughes, who won the international James Dyson Award with her invention of a plastic alternative made from fish waste and algae, called MarinaTex.
At the start of the event Vice-Chancellor, Adam Tickell explained: ‘In July we launched our Sustainability Strategy. This sets out our vision for being one of the most sustainable universities in the world – economically, socially and of course environmentally. Our students truly are our partners and innovators in this.
‘Also, this week our students are taking part in our Film for COP 26 competition to help influence the outcome of events in Glasgow next month. And we are supporting our inaugural Pitch for the Planet competition winners, whose sustainable innovation ideas include sustainable farming, fashion and the gamification of transport.
‘Universities have always been breeding grounds for ideas, and ideas need to be shared to become actions. At Sussex we foster ideas, and we take actions. And that’s how we can help to make the world a little – or even a lot – better.’
The ACCA also played host at the Better World evening to displays about sustainability including a live beehive, presented by the UK's only Professor of Apiculture, Francis Ratnieks. There were also displays from Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), who were announced as this year’s charity partner in July. Sussex are working with them to organise beach and river cleans across the next year, and after the speeches attendees were able to speak with SAS representatives at their display.
If you weren't able to attend the event, the talks are now available to watch online:
Professor Peter Newell - Professor of International Relations
A fossil treaty: a new approach to tackling the climate crisis (watch online)
Dr Melissa Lazenby - Lecturer in Physical Geography
Educating our way to a more sustainable climate (watch online)
Dr Mika Peck - Senior Lecturer in Biology
Helping our kelp: can we restore our seas? (watch online)
Lucy Hughes - Founder of MarinaTex, alumna (Product Design 2015)
Solutions in unlikely places – a potential plastic alternative (watch online)
Photographs from the event are also available to view on the University’s Flickr account.