Lappeenranta Junior University, or Uniori, the joint model of science education by LUT University and the City of Lappeenranta has won an international award for higher education institutions. Uniori won one of the categories at the International Green Gown Awards 2021, a competition celebrating sustainability initiatives in higher education.
International Green Gown Awards is a competition endorsed by the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP, and open to universities and colleges across the world. The awards recognise initiatives and models aimed at delivering the (Sustainable Development Goals, SDG) within the higher education sector.
The 2021 edition of the Green Gown Awards consisted of five categories for the participants to choose from. When submitting the application, the participants were requested to name which four of the SDG's the initiative promotes.
Uniori entered the competition in the category Creating Impact. This category recognises institutions that have achieved significant sustainability-related outcomes, on-campus or within their community, using minimal resources. Uniori won the award among five finalists.
Laura Jouhkimo, LUT University's coordinator for Junior University, tells that the wide participation approach of Uniori activities was highly appreciated by the jury. In their arguments the judges also saw replication potential by other communities.
"Uniori activities, launched in 2017, reach all of the city's preschoolers, comprehensive school pupils on grades 3, 5 and 8, and upper secondary school students every year. Creating an equal path of science education that reaches all age groups is a key value for both the city of Lappeenranta and the university", says Jouhkimo
According to the latest Report on Sustainability, LUT University promotes all 17 of the SDG's in its research, education, campus operations and stakeholder relations activities.
All Uniori study modules are based on the research priorities of LUT University, which include clean water, energy and air, circular economy and sustainable business renewal.
"Uniori aims at strengthening sustainable lifestyles, and the lessons learned move from schools to homes. We are creating significant impact by giving all children and young people an equal chance to take part in science activities and become problem solvers. At the end of the path, hopefully many of the participants wish to pursue studies at a university," Jouhkimo concludes.
The winners of the International Green Gown 2021 Awards were announced on 7th July 2021 in an online event, as a part of the UN High-Level Political Forum