If you’re considering studying Media and Environmental Communication BA (Hons) at University of Brighton, you’re probably already aware of the city’s student-attracting features. From the beach and its infamous pier to nightlife and culture for all tastes and interests, it’s no surprise that in recent years Brighton has been dubbed ‘the best student city in the UK’ and, more recently, the ‘happiest city to live and work in‘. This post, however, is more concerned with why Brighton is a fantastic choice for an environmental mind to flourish.
Above all, the city is a hub of opportunity for students who are eager to engage with the world around them, both within the University itself and, perhaps more importantly, outside of it – where the ‘real world’ awaits.
The University of Brighton encourages and rewards environmentally-aware students, with award-winning campaigns such as c-change, which facilitates sustainability activities throughout the year. Specifically to Media and Environmental Communications BA (Hons), students can take advantage of the Sandwich Year option, in which they can spend time working, applying their learning and thinking critically, and gaining that priceless ‘E’ word – experience. MEC students can also opt for modules which require them to volunteer in a community of their choosing. Although unknown to me at the time, my voluntary placement at AgeUK Brighton & Hove would lead to a job offer where I found a true passion, resulting in an opportunity to gain a Ph.D. in researching ageing and care work (yes, this is still relevant to Media and Environmental Comms!)
Course-leader, Patricia Prieto-Blanco, is committed to MEC and is fantastic at organising extra-curricular activities for students. This includes those all-important practical activities, such as Beach Cleans, as well as academic events, such as ‘Mediating Climate Change: Migration, Constructed Environments’. Both complement the learning experience and help students situate their newly-acquired knowledge in relevant contexts. Other talks and events can be found across campuses and should be taken advantage of.
Brighton is a unique hub of opportunity, and if you’re willing to seize and embrace it, you will reap the benefits.
Although slightly hectic at times, travelling within and beyond the city is easy thanks to its intricate bus system, with buses operating regularly, twenty-four hours a day; students can travel unlimited for a subsidised price using the B&H bus app. If you prefer travelling by bike, the BTN Bike Share initiative is a fantastic way to travel economically and environmentally, without the need for storage space. If you’ve got your own bicycle, the c-change campaign offers free bike maintenance sessions where you’ll also be rewarded with a free high-vis back pack cover or puncture repair kit – who doesn’t love a freebie?
Escaping the Chaos
Surrounded by the Sussex Downs, Brighton is the perfect home for the green-hearted. Although the city buzzes with activity and life, you don’t have to go far for those essential moments of quiet and calm. Stanmer Park, the city’s largest green space, is perfect for that pre-deadline meditation and is accessible by bus, car, bike (I personally have not been brave enough to try Brighton’s cycle lanes), and foot. Stanmer hosts a variety of organisations which might be of interest to the environmentally-aligned, such as Brighton Permaculture Trust, Brighton Centre for Ecotherapy, and Stanmer Organics. Other parks across the city include Preston Park, Hove Park, and The Level (popular amongst skateboarders and circus groups, so don’t be alarmed if you see a hula hoop or two!)
A Vegan Delight
If you’re vegan, vegetarian, or generally mindful of the food and products you consume, you’ll be spoilt for choice across Brighton’s alternative restaurants, cafes, and shops. Brighton is said to be the UK capital of veganism, with everything from vegan pizzas at Purezza, sushi burritos at Happy Maki or seitan kebabs at The Hope and Ruin, to higher brow restaurants such as Food for Friends or The Mesmerist. Even the supermarkets stock impressive selections of alternative meat brands (particularly the Waitrose on North Street!); whatever your budget, you’ll have plenty of options. For the eco-buyer, you can check out Infinity Foods or HISBE, and if you’re new to the veggie/vegan life, you can dip your toe in at Brighton Vegan Festival.
For many, Brighton has a reputation as being an inclusive, diverse city which welcomes all – above all, Brighton is also the unofficial ‘gay capital’ of the United Kingdom, but also hosts a variety of communities spanning across gender and sexual identities. Although important to be critical of the assumption that Brighton is completely benevolent, the city is doing much for the promotion of equality and freedom of expression. Brighton Pride, which took place just last weekend, is only one example of how difference is embraced and celebrated, and how values of kindness and acceptance are being advocated for.
Featured image property of Patricia Prieto-Blanco