Cabot Institute blog

Find out more about us at www.bristol.ac.uk/cabot

Monday, 24 August 2015

University of Bristol's green heroes - Chris Willmore

In the run up to the Bristol Post's Green Capital Awards, we thought we'd highlight some of our key Green Heroes and Green Leaders at the University of Bristol.  As part of a four part blog series this week, we will be highlighting some of the key figures behind the scenes and in front of the limelight who are the green movers and shakers of our university.  There are many more Green Heroes across the University that we would like to celebrate. To find out more about who they are and what they are doing, please visit our Sustainability Stories website.
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Chris Willmore


Chris Willmore is the University of Bristol's Green Academy academic lead, Director of Undergraduate Studies and lead academic for Technology Enhanced Learning.


Growing up in increasingly over-developed London, Chris has since fostered a passion for saving open spaces and built environments. After an early career as a barrister practising environmental and planning law, Chris decided to move back into academia; “being a barrister you tend to get involved in problems when things have gone wrong. I wanted to help prevent problems” she explains.

The transition to academia lead Chris to a position in the university’s Law school. In this time, Chris has used her role to introduce a number of schemes to help educate and encourage students to be involved in green issues. This includes introducing an award-winning interdisciplinary course termed ‘Sustainable Development’. The motivation for the course was inspire students to expand their thoughts on how sustainability is an issue for all, as Chris explains:  “the whole aim was to offer students an opportunity to understand sustainable development as a holistic issue – and to see how different disciplines bring different things to the challenges”.

Her work isn’t confined to taught courses, over the last few years Chris has worked with the University’s students union to engage students in informal extra curricular activities such as the ‘switch off campaign’. In her words, this was key for “thinking about how students could change this city – after all they are 10% of the city’s population between the two universities”.

This work has drawn Chris away from pure law issues and into engaging the broader student population, through sustainable volunteering schemes. Chris is also part of a pioneering committee that aims to determine the best sustainable future for the university termed the ‘Green Academy team’.  Chris explains why this team, which was formed off the back of Higher Education Academy Initiative, has been such a success: “our low cost, networked approach has attracted a lot of interest as an alternative to top down resource intensive approaches”.

Her ambitions aren’t just for a ‘quick fix’ either - Chris has long term goals for her work with the student population; “Our biggest environmental impact as a university is the thousands of students who graduate each year with a lifetime of footprint ahead of them. We need to skill them to be able to make wise choices”.

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This blog is written by Cabot Institute member Keri McNamara, a PhD student in the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol.
Keri McNamara


If you would like to nominate your Green Hero or Green Leader in the upcoming Bristol Post Green Capital Awards, please visit the official Green Capital Awards website.  Entries close on 18 September 2015.

To learn more about the University of Bristol's activities during the Bristol 2015 European Green Capital year, please visit bristol.ac.uk/green-capital.






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Other blogs in the Green Heroes series will be posted every day this week.
Katharine Baldock
Martin Wiles
Rich Pancost

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