Our outward-facing ethos

We teach the value of civic responsibility. We encourage social entrepreneurship. And we provide support for those who want to make a difference.

We're proud of our students and the role they play as active and engaged citizens.

Learning and teaching

Students working in a group: Achieve More project


An outward-facing curriculum

Through our partnerships with community groups, businesses, charities and other organisations, every Sheffield student gets the chance to work on projects that make a difference to people's lives. They also develop a clear sense of how their subject relates to the world.

This might mean finding solutions to global challenges. Or applying their knowledge and skills to real-world problems through Engaged Learning Sheffield and community projects.

Our approach to learning and teaching


The University of Sheffield is an institution with a strong civic identity: we aspire to work with the communities, citizens and organisations of the region in mutually beneficial ways.

Professor Brendan Stone, Director of Learning & Teaching for the Engaged Curriculum

Community project


Engaged Learning

Our Engaged Learning initiative gives students opportunities to work on issues of public concern in local, national and international contexts.

This might include working with refugees, storying the experiences of people affected by mental illness, visiting local schools as an ambassador, or working on live architectural projects. The difference they make can be profound.



Global Learning Opportunities in the Social Sciences (GLOSS) gives students the chance to understand their courses in an international context and actively engage with international policy makers.

They can apply to work as a fully accredited policy analyst at a major global summit or gain research experience with academic staff. They could even get involved in a student-run social enterprise for international development through SIDshare.


Kettle illustration on blue background


The physics of sustainable energy

In this physics and astronomy module our undergraduates explore how day-to-day activities have global effects.

Stories: our outward-facing curriculum

Water pipes illustration: Discover


Sustainability and environmental engineering

This engineering module gives undergraduates the tools to identify solutions to sustainability challenges, such as the need for clean water.


Doctors of the future transform lives with pioneering accountability project

Our medical students are improving people’s health and wellbeing as part of an initiative unique to Sheffield. Students also learn more about being an accountable health profession


A free legal advice clinic for the community, based in our School of Law and led by law students.

Architecture Live projects

Our architecture students work with public sector or charity organisations to create sustainable structures locally and globally. In every case the project is real, happening in real time with real people.

Students' engineering ideas help people with Parkinson's

Our engineering students are helping people with Parkinson's through the Make a change module.

Undergraduate works with African start-up company using solar energy

Chemical and biological engineering student Valdemar Kirsebom Moller worked with Scale Biofuels in Uganda to find an alternative method of producing industrial ethanol using solar energy

Volunteering and fundraising



An engaged student population

We're proud of our students and the role they play as active and engaged citizens.

The University of Sheffield Students' Union is consistently rated top in the country in the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey.

Our Students' Union volunteering programme, one of the biggest in the UK, and a model of best practice, helps more than 200 local charities and voluntary groups. Sheffield Volunteering projects are created and run by students. They provide vital support networks within the community and offer services that otherwise would not exist.


Over 2,200 students and staff supported local charities in 2015-16.

Our alumni spent 16,419 hours mentoring students on career choices.

Student volunteering projects include: Philosophy in the City – run by students in the Department of Philosophy; FreeLaw, a centre offering free legal support to the community – led by students in the School of Law; and Save our Sandwiches – a student-run group that redistributes food from University outlets to local charities.

Our volunteering programme, one of the biggest in the UK, and a model of best practice, helps more than 200 local charities and voluntary groups.


FreeLaw and CommLaw

Students from our School of Law and fully qualified commercial solicitors work together on CommLaw. This service offers free advice and presentations to our internal and external partners on commercial legal issues. FreeLaw, a free legal advice clinic for the community, is also led by our law students.

Philosophy in the City

Philosophy in the City (PinC) is an award-winning outreach project, run entirely by student volunteers from the University of Sheffield’s philosophy department.

Donate, Don't Waste

This campaign, a partnership between the University and Sheffield City Council, reduces waste and supports charities. Each year, our students donate hundreds of tonnes of items to the British Heart Foundation.

Sheffield Volunteering

This list is a snaphot of the many Sheffield Volunteering projects run by our Students' Union. Sheffield Volunteering holds the Sheffield Volunteer Standard.

Wellbeing Cafe

The Students’ Union runs a weekly pay-as-you-feel Wellbeing Cafe in the View Deli. The volunteer run events use food surplus and promote student wellbeing.

Find out more on: Facebook

Save our Sandwiches

Save our Sandwiches is a student-run group that redistributes food from University outlets to local charities.

Find out more on: Facebook | Twitter

Raising and Giving

RAG is a working committee of students at Sheffield Students’ Union that organises bundles of fundraising events over the academic year. RAG also supports societies, sports clubs, working committees, groups and individuals to fundraise for the charities they choose through projects such as the Adopt-a-Charity scheme.


Alumni volunteering soars

942 alumni gave their time to the University in 2015-16. They spent 16,419 hours mentoring students on career choices, widening participation activities, and sitting on industry advisory boards.

Volunteering projects run by our alumni

Alumni volunteering event


Students, staff and organisations

Sign up to volunteer

Or visit the Volunteering Office in the Activities Zone of the Students’ Union building to find out more.

Sheffield alumni

Register as a volunteer

Enterprising students



We encourage and provide support for social entrepreneurship.

The University is recognised as a national leader in enterprise education. We were recently shortlisted for the Duke of York Award for University Entrepreneurship.

Many of our high-profile success stories are social entrepreneurs who use their knowledge to help people in the local community and overseas. Current students as well as Sheffield graduates are finding innovative ways to make a difference.


Every Thursday–Saturday University of Sheffield graduates Louis Pohl (architecture) and Jamie Wilde (town planning) lift the shutters at Foodhall, a non-profit cafe in the city.

Run by volunteers who prepare and serve food, and paid for on a pay-as-you-feel basis, Foodhall is a force for good.

Louis and Jamie were inspired by academic research into the social benefits of communal eating. They were supported by the ReNew initiative, a partnership between the University, Sheffield Hallam, the council and others that helps people turn out-of-use city centre shops into vibrant enterprises.

Read the full story


In a society where trade is growing dramatically and commercial values are transforming the economy, our students are showing that business heads can be welded to powerful empathy, a deep understanding of the needs of vulnerable people and a determination that enterprise can make a difference.

Professor Sir Keith Burnett



Enactus Sheffield

Enactus Sheffield is a student-run, not-for-profit social enterprise company based at the University of Sheffield.

A team of exceptional entrepreneurs, made up of 150 talented students, use social enterprise to improve lives locally and globally.

2014 Enactus UK champions

The team were crowned Enactus UK champions in 2014 after helping 150 people transform their lives. They went on to represent represent the UK at the Enactus World Cup in Beijing, where they reached the semi-finals.


Enactus Sheffield highlights

Tapping Potential is an international project that provides clean water and soap to rural villages in Zambia through two businesses, which give a percentage of their profits to help clinics offer lifesaving medicine.

Sheffield Soap Co empowers refugees and asylum seekers in Sheffield by transferring the skills they need to reintegrate into society through a dual stream soap enterprise.

The Hope Project empowers trafficked women, helping them gain crucial employment and economic independence as well as confidence.


There are students who inspire me every day; their passion, determination and desire to change the world is breathtaking. The Sheffield Enactus team are without a doubt at the top of this group of transformational students.

Professor of Enterprise and Engineering Education, Elena Rodriguez-Falcon


SIDShare – a student-run social enterprise that promotes partnerships with local organisations and schools, and more than 40 international development organisations and funding bodies. SIDShare gives students at the University of Sheffield practical experience of the challenges encountered in the International Development workplace and beyond.

Sheffield-based company Tutorful (formerly Tutora) – a tech business set up by a University of Sheffield graduate and supported by the University’s Enterprise Centre (USE). Tutorful connects families across the UK with the best private tutors for their children using technology. Tutorful raised £700,000 from over 500 investors through crowdfunding, which means the business can continue to grow – creating new jobs in Sheffield and attracting outside talent into the city.


If students or alumni have a great idea, where do they go? The University's Sheffield Enterprise (USE) is where they'll find support and guidance to make their ambitious ideas happen.

University of Sheffield Enterprise