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 called ‘Green Impact’, it’s not just about planting trees or having top tier recycling. Many SUs user our framework to build impactful projects and campaigns around climate justice and equality, curriculum reform, or health and wellbeing, among other campaigns championing the student voice and experience.

We provide opportunities to partner or network with other Unions and we share good practice through resources and case studies. Our goal is for students to graduate from further and higher education equipped to deal with the global challenges we face, and 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. leading on embedding sustainability and social justice across campus, the curriculum, and wider society.

How it works

GISU works on an annual cycle. Launching each autumn, Unions implement change throughout the academic year, submitting work in late spring, receiving an audit in early summer, and awards are announced in June.

Each participating Union will be given access to the online toolkit, which houses all the actions we’d like SUs to work through during the year. 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:

  • The GISU Resource Bank – this is where you’ll find guidance documents, templates, case studies and webinar recordings
  • Join us on Workplace – join in discussions, share ideas or ask questions by joining the ‘NUS Sustainability, Ethics & Climate Action’ Facebook Workplace page.
  • Newsletterssign up to our monthly SOS-UK newsletter, which includes housing updates for Students’ Unions as well as other sustainability articles.
  • Mid-project calls – Early in 2025 we will offer calls for all participating SUs to check-in with your progress, offer support and to gather your feedback.
  • Webinars – 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.
  • Training & Networking – if you’d like more tailored on-site or remote training for your staff, Officers or students, you can request to purchase this when signing up for GISU or get in contact with us.
  • Learning and development opportunities – SUs participating in GISU will receive a 10% reduction in price to some SOS-UK’s Learning Academy offerings. Offerings particularly relevant for SUs include the Course reps & sustainability training and Campaign planning workshops.
  • Ad hoc support – please reach out to us if you’re having trouble with the toolkit or need help with ideas –

Dates for the diary: 2024-25

  • Launch: 27th August 2024
  • Intro to GISU welcome webinar: 2nd October 2024, 3pm
  • Annual sustainability survey: 28th October – 17th November 2024
  • GISU contacts virtual skills & networking day: 5th December 2024, 10am-4pm
  • Student Sustainability Summit: Date TBC
  • Progress and action planning webinar: 5th February 2025, 11am
  • GISU midway ‘check-in’ calls: w/c 10th February 2025
  • National SDG teach in: March 2024
  • Submission deadline: Friday 4th April 2025, 5pm
  • Audits: April/May 2025
  • Awards confirmed and presented: June 2025

Read our article announcing the award levels achieved by unions in GISU 2022-23. 

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