Students' Unions

Green Impact Students’ Unions (GISU) is our flagship sustainability support package and awards programme for the student movement. It’s designed to help unions run effective projects and campaigns, using our power as the student movement to create lasting change.

Although it’s called ‘Green Impact’ it’s not just about planting trees or getting your recycling in order. Many Green Impact students’ unions use the framework to build impactful projects and campaigns around climate justice and equality, curriculum reform, health and wellbeing and much more. Joining GISU means joining our network. We provide opportunities to partner with other unions, hold networking events and share good practice through resources and case studies. Our vision is that students graduate from further and higher education equipped to deal with the global challenges we face, and we believe students’ unions play a key role in helping students gain the skills, knowledge and experience needed to make this happen. We created the Green Impact toolkit as a framework for union staff, officers and students to collaboratively address key issues to lead on embedding sustainability and social justice across campus, the curriculum, and wider society.

View the GISU 2021-22 offering guidance here.

To take part in GISU and view SOS-UK’s full offering for SUs, visit the SOS-UK sign up page.

How it works

Green Impact Students’ Unions (GISU) works on an annual cycle. Launching each autumn, unions try to implement change throughout the academic year, submitting work in late spring, receiving an audit in early summer, then awards are announced in July.

Each participating union will be given access to the online toolkit which houses all the actions we’d like SUs to work on through for the year. If you’re interested in what the actions are before you sign up, you can see the 2018-19 action summary here. If you have a more specific question please contact us. Unions part of our GISU network will have access to a resource bank to guide, inspire and support them throughout the year. If you are a union that does not partake in GISU you can email us to request a specific resource.


Over the months you will be making progress on campus and within your students’ union, setting up, embedding and delivering campaigns and initiatives. There are a number of ways you can receive support over this period:

  • Resource bank – we have an online resource bank accessible to all GISU participants, this will house guidance documents, templates, case studies and webinar recordings.
  • Webinars – We deliver webinars to welcome & introduce you to the programme, to help keep you on track and we coordinate webinars on a range of themes to facilitate idea sharing and inspire action.
  • Peer to Peer – We have a great network of sustainability contacts, help partner SUs and support or facilitate online forum calls. There are various online platforms to join in discussions, share ideas or ask questions.
  • Phone calls, mid-way – Early in 2022 will offer calls for all participating SUs to check-in with your progress, offer support and to gather your feedback.
  • Email – we run a monthly SOS-UK newsletter, housing updates for SUs, as well as other sustainability articles, sign up for our newsletter here. We will send specific updates on GISU to all SU contacts listed in the sign-up form.
  • Ad hoc support – if you have queries at any point throughout the year, or would like to suggest an idea for a future webinar, case study or news piece, please get in touch by emailing us. We often share examples of best practice with SUs when they get in contact with questions.
  • Training and networking – if you’d like more tailored on-site or remote training, you can request to purchase this when signing up for GISU or get in contact with us. We will host a joint skills and networking day on 2nd December 2021 for our GISU contacts at an additional cost.
  • Learning and development opportunities – SUs participating in GISU will receive a 10% reduction in price to SOS-UK’s Learning Academy offerings. Offerings particularly relevant for SUs include the Officer Sustainability Bootcamp, Course reps & sustainability, campaign planning.

Use the get in touch form below to ask us any questions and find out more.

Dates for the diary

  • Launch: 30th August 2021
  • Intro to GISU welcome webinar: 14th October 2021, 11am
  • Annual sustainability survey: 25th October – 14th November 2021
  • Student Sustainability Summit: TBC
  • GISU contacts virtual skills & networking day: 2nd December 2021, 10am-4pm
  • GISU midway ‘check-in’ calls: w/c 7th February 2022
  • National SDG teach in: 21st – 27th February 2022
  • Progress and action planning webinar: 2nd March 2022, 11am
  • Submission deadline: Tuesday 3rd May 2022, 5pm
  • Audits: June 2022
  • Awards confirmed: July 2022


Read our article announcing the award levels achieved by unions in GISU 2020-21. 




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