‘Green’ University of Winchester Will Unveil Statue Honouring Greta Thunberg, Costing £24,000

The University of Winchester will reveal a statue of Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg on March 30th, the first life-sized depiction of the 18-year-old.

The statue of Thunberg, the Swedish activist who gained international attention in 2018 after inspiring worldwide school climate strikes, cost the university a total of £23,760.

Set to be unveiled on March 30th, the statue, named “Make a Difference,” was commissioned by the university as an “inspiration for all students.” A spokesperson for Winchester University stated:

“The statue of Greta Thunberg was commissioned in 2019 and [was] funded by the University as part of the West Downs Centre development. The statue cost £23,760, within the overall £50m budget for the West Downs Centre.”

The statues sculptor, Christine Charlesworth, told the Hampshire Chronicle:

“Originally the interview committee were talking about her sitting on the ground, wearing her yellow coat, but I felt strongly about portraying her telling more about the person she is. The university wanted a sculpture of Greta because it is a very 'green' university, feeling that Greta will be an inspiration to all the students.” 

However, the statue has faced heavy criticism from Winchester residents, with many citing the statue’s cost and lack of relevance to the city.

Hampshire Chronicle reader Mark Robinson stated

“To be fair Greta probably is inspirational to many of the current generation of students and given that it’s at the university I don’t think there is a particular reason for a strong Winchester connection. Usually, statues are erected to reflect a long-lasting legacy and that will be the test with this one.”

Another reader said: 

“I think the sculpture itself is very good but Greta has no connection with Winchester, or am I wrong?”

Others gave more scathing opinions, with Simon Dixon calling the statue a “total waste of money” and others asking who had the “bright idea” to commission the statue. A Winchester University student, Henry Osbourne, asked: “As a student, why weren’t we given a vote over who to have a statue of?”