University of Gloucestershire to stop printing prospectuses

The University of Gloucestershire (UoG) has announced it will stop printing its prospectuses and instead switch to a digitalised version.

An image of Gloucestershire prospectus

2.5 million paper prospectuses are printed for University fairs around the UK. However, often covering course information from many different disciplines, prospectuses are often not tailored to an individual’s specific academic interest, resulting in unnecessary paper usage.

At Monday’s UCAS Higher Education Fair in Bristol, prospective students visiting the University of Gloucestershire’s stand were given a paper wristband filled with wildflower seeds and printed with a QR code which could be scanned to access the digital prospectus on the university’s website. The university also handed out packaging-free edible cordial pods made from seaweed, aiming to reduce the use of single-use plastic. 

The university will also use social media platforms such as Instagram to share student experiences, which student Charlie claims “is a no brainer – you read everything on your phone anyway.”

The Vice-Chancellor, Stephen Marston, claims its decision to stop hard copy prospectuses is “a further step we can take in applying the principles of sustainability across everything we do”.

He added: “At the same time, we have taken the opportunity to rethink not just the communication medium but the content, to ensure we are giving students information about the things that matter to them.”

UoG’s effort to cut down on its resource use comes as part of a broader commitment to improving sustainability and environmental protection. Last year UoG was awarded first position in the 2019 People and Planet Sustainable University league – a student campaigning network that aims to tackle social and environmental injustice through scoring universities on a range of criteria including carbon management, sustainable food and waste and recycling.

As part of its commitment to sustainability, UoG has previously pledged to stop its use of fossil fuels and has reduced its carbon emissions by 46 per cent (compared to 2005).

Gemma Mainwaring, University of Gloucestershire Students Union Welfare Officer, said: “A digital university prospectus makes sense. As a community, we’re all so much more aware of reducing waste, so retiring the printed prospectus is definitely a move in the right direction.  Students want their concerns on issues like sustainability heard and I think the university is responding to these concerns well.

“As a whole, the university works closely with the community to ensure its students make a home for themselves here and fit into the environment around them. With edible gardens and hedgehog friendly campuses all around us, it seems no action is too big or too small. It’s important we continue to take a stand and lead the way in creating a greener and brighter future for everyone.”