Students in Sheffield have been active at each and every global climate strike so far and the Students’ Union is clear in its intention to continue to protest and act. University leaders recently announced their commitment to educating the ‘change makers of the future’ by embedding teaching about sustainability across all of its courses in response to the climate emergency. 

The University of Sheffield is bold and unequivocal in its commitment to tackling the global climate emergency. ‘Step Up Sheffield’ is a BetterPoints challenge incentivising staff and students to make active and sustainable travel choices is just one of the many actions it is taking. 

President and Vice Chancellor Professor Koen Lamberts said that he believes that the large research university is in ‘a truly unique and powerful position to help tackle climate change and make a positive impact on the world we live in.’ 

So the University and SU teaming up and working with BetterPoints to encourage green travel choices makes perfect sense. And students are getting on board - fast! Over 1,000 people have signed up in the first three weeks. 

Step Up Participants can earn rewards in the form of BetterPoints and BetterTickets for active (walk, cycle) and sustainable (bus, train, tram) journeys over half a mile to and from the university campus. Extra rewards are on offer for participants who want to go the extra mile and be even more active and there are prize draws galore with a variety of prizes - big and small. 

There are a whole range of supporting activities on offer around the Step Up challenge - from refurbished bike sales and an e-bike loan scheme to organised campus litter picks. BetterPoints can be exchanged for a variety of rewards - including hot drinks at campus outlets. 

Talking about the importance of travelling sustainably, the University said that ‘Transport makes up 33 per cent of UK carbon emissions - more than any other activity. Reducing our reliance on polluting transport methods is vital to tackling the climate emergency and improving air quality. We’re committed to making sustainable and active modes of transport the easiest option when getting to and around campus. This will not only reduce our Scope 3 emissions associated with travel, but also help to improve the health of staff and students.’ 

“However, there is much more to be done if we are to significantly improve the air quality in our towns. We are currently working on ways to make this improvement, which will encourage even more people to walk or cycle.”

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