Universities as a catalyst for global change


Progress Namibia - Universities as a catalyst for global change
17 October 2017

How important are universities in advancing sustainability, and in fact, the Sustainable Development Goals? Very. In Namibia, there are some (albeit slow) moves to integrate sustainability into the overall curriculum frameworks of our universities, but how is the rest of the world doing on this front? A recent article shares some stories on how sustainability has moved forward in some universities across the world. We hope you enjoy the read, copied here from the original link (source: Greenbiz):
"Just how central are universities to advancing the practice of sustainability? Most professionals would say, "Very." Universities create knowledge relevant to sustainability, they train sustainability practitioners and they often act as beacons of sustainability leadership in their communities or even nations. A good example of this would be the ambitious climate commitment, to which more than 90 colleges and universities in the United States have signed on, facilitated by the nonprofit organization Second Nature.
Given that universities play such a central role, how much do we know about how universities pursue sustainability, in a whole-systems way?
The answer: Not much.
Journal of Cleaner Production this summer. Lead author Dana Kapitulčinová, a researcher from Charles University in Prague, led a two-year process that involved a broad literature survey on tools and methods being used in university sustainability programs, followed by a deep dive into the use of one specific set of tools for integrated sustainability planning: AtKisson Group’s Acceleratorsuite. (The other two authors were Joanne Perdue, chief sustainability officer at University of Calgary in Canada; and Marcus Will, a researcher at the University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Görlitz in Germany.)To continue with full disclosure, we initiated this study first and foremost to find out how universities were using Accelerator — in their sustainability program offices as well as in their classrooms — so that we could improve it. We surveyed university-based users from 17 institutions in 13 countries across four continents. We crunched the numbers on their answers and looked for patterns we could learn from.
But one thing led to another and soon we also found ourselves broadening our research. We wanted to understand the tools and methods being used to affect every dimension of sustainability in higher-education (HE) institutions, including teaching and learning, research, campus operations, outreach and administration, including assessment and reporting. We wanted to put our specific findings about the Accelerator tools into a general context.
The fact that no one else had performed this type of general review before is what ultimately got our study published in a major international journal. Read more here.
To access the actual journal article, click here.