Press Releases 2014-2015

Success of UWTSD’s International Sustainability Summer School


The University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) recently hosted a successful International Sustainability Summer School with students from Saint Michael’s College, Vermont.

Twelve students and two members of staff from Saint Michael’s College visited UWTSD during May for a two-week study abroad course focused on how Wales has integrated ecological sustainability throughout its culture, institutions, art and policies. Saint Michael’s College approached UWTSD as they were aware of the Institute of Sustainable Practice, Innovation and Resource Effectiveness (INSPIRE) and its commitment to sustainability. The course included cultural and environmental field studies, on-site guest lectures and collaboration and exchange of research and artistic projects.

The aim of the International Sustainability Summer School is to inform visiting students on the different perspectives of sustainability in Wales through cultural, ecological, political, geographic, and artistic lenses.

Gwen Beynon, Art and Design Programme Director who played a key role in organising the Summer School said:

“The Summer School was tremendously successful for all involved. It was a really great way of communicating with an international institution and it provided students with an opportunity to learn and appreciate Wales’ and UWTSD’s approach to sustainability. It gave me great pleasure to hear the students’ positive perceptions of our attitude towards sustainability; they were constantly impressed by the way we embrace sustainability on a variety of levels. It was great working and collaborating with Saint Michael’s staff, Jeffrey Ayres, Dean of the College and Professor in the Department of Political Science and Jonathan Silverman, Chair of the Education Department and Coordinator of the Arts in Education Program.    

“Students were impressed by the fact that we approach sustainability in terms of culture, industry and language- it’s not just a matter of recycling.  Their positive reactions made me realise how well we are doing on the Global scale of sustainability.

“As part of their academic work the students were expected to give two presentations each. Their final presentations were given at the end of the trip, they were fantastic. It was clear that the students had learned a great deal and were passionate about our pro-active attitude towards sustainability. It was also lovely to see how in awe they were of the Welsh coastline and landscape.”

Kath Griffiths, International Office at UWTSD who worked closely with Gwen Beynon to develop the programme, said:

“The itinerary for the Summer School was jam-packed and varied tremendously, ensuring that the students received a wide scope of information. A number of panel sessions took place, addressing issues such as Sustainability of Place which included an opening keynote speech on UWTSD’s and Wales’ approach to sustainability by Jane Davidson, Director of INSPIRE. A second panel session included 5 presentations from people who work directly with sustainability including Joanna Lane from Tidal Lagoon and Haf Leyshon from Wales National Resources.

“There were field trips to Big Pitt and the Senedd, a hike across the Brecon Beacons with Gruff Owen, UWTSD International Student Support Officer, and a weekend in Pembrokeshire which included an overnight stay on Skomer Island. There was a wonderfully positive and inspired reaction from the students. This will be the first of many Summer Schools from Saint Michael’s and the start of a rewarding collaboration that we at UWTSD are really looking forward to.”

A student who attended the Summer School said: “My academic curiosities were sparked by something new every day during our time at UWTSD. Upon returning home, I have told every person who has asked about my trip, about sustainability in Wales. Jane Davidson was truly inspirational; her work motivated me to bring back some of her ideas to my parents’ business to help them create a more sustainable company. Every day I was amazed with the passion of the lecturers and the beauty of the landscape.”

The International Sustainability Summer School achieved a Green Impact Special Award, which recognises commitment to sustainability through extra-curricular projects.

Note to Editor

  1. For more information please contact Sara Jones, PR and Communications Officer, on 07449 998 478 or via email at
  2. The University of Wales Trinity Saint David was established in 2010 through the merger of the University of Wales Lampeter and Trinity University College, Carmarthen. On 1 August 2013 the Swansea Metropolitan University merged with the University
  3. The University’s Royal Charter 1828 is the oldest in Wales, and it is third behind Oxford and Cambridge in Wales and England. HRH Prince of Wales is the Patron of the University
  4. On 1 August, 2013 Coleg Sir Gâr merged with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David Group, however they will keep their own brand. Coleg Ceredigion merged with the Group on 1 January 2014