Sustainability Change Challenge Projects

In a course for teachers I took at Gothenburg University we were tasked with a sustainability change challenge. We planned something we considered that we could actually do to change something for sustainability. My idea was to provide support for teachers to help everyone advance their education for sustainability. The project plans started with meetings with our sustainability council at Umeå School of Business, Economics and Statistics to share my ideas about how we could support teachers through presentations and seminar discussions, guest lectures and more. I asked to share my ESD support plans at a planning day with our teachers and this is where I met Gert-Olof Boström.

Gert-Olof told me he was taking a different course for teachers about creating a sustainability change challenge project. He wanted to increase the presence of sustainability in a module he teaches. He had planned to test new activities for the students to experience practical application of their ideas. Since this experience and the creation of our collaborative project, we have come across several other opportunities where teachers are challenged to change something for sustainability.

One thing we both remember when we started our sustainability change challenge projects was the feeling that we had many questions, such as

  • What can I actually do?
  • Who can I ask about this subject?
  • Where can I get more help about my challenge?
  • Where can I get inspiration about what to do?

This is where we think we can now help. The website that we have created and continue to develop can be a helpful tool for teachers beginning their sustainability change challenge. At a course for teachers with the Baltic University program, we presented our project to show how the assessment tool can help the teachers to get a better picture of what level of education their student group are at in regard to the sustainability competencies. Then, as the teachers find out what the students need help with, they can set a sustainability change challenge goal for their student group that will help develop the competencies they need. The teachers can plan their sustainability change challenge to provide activities for the student group. Finally, the group will share their experiences with everyone on our website.

This application of assessment, activity planning and experience sharing can be applied to all teacher sustainability change challenge programs across universities. We hope that as more teachers take on a sustainability change challenge and share their experiences with us that there will be more support for everyone going forward. Future teachers will have a resource bank to find activities for their sustainability change challenge and get in touch with teachers who have worked with ESD around the world. As the network builds the ideas will come. Now that the network has extended from Umeå University in Sweden to Åbo University in Finland, Tallinn University in Estonia and soon to join at Örebro University, Gothenburg University, Uppsala University and KTH in Sweden the possibilities to advance our education for sustainability are growing.

There has already been much work at these universities to apply education for sustainability and you can learn more about what each university is doing by clicking on the links provided. Together we can help each other to advance in areas we still need to improve and be inspired by all the great work that has been done and is continuing to develop. Thank you for all the support and engaging discussions that we have had this week and we look forward to meeting more of you in the near future.

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