An Integrative approach to sustainable development within a university: a step-change to extend progress on multiple fronts

Authors: Shiel, C. and Smith, N.

Start date: 5 April 2016

This paper adopts a case-study approach describing how one institution has sought to maintain an integrative approach to sustainable development, in an institutional context that has served to fragment holistic ways of working. The paper sets out the institutional context before outlining the interventions, designed to achieve a step-change and to take engagement with sustainable development to a further level. It is suggested that achieving awards such as ‘EcoCampus Platinum’ are important to demonstrate environmental credentials however, securing the support of a university’s senior educational committee is vital, if all students are to experience education for sustainable development (ESD). Working across the institution, particularly in partnership with academic groups and the Students Union is a further way to increase engagement and momentum. The paper argues for the importance of integrative approaches but suggests that maintaining integration poses challenges; initial successes should not be taken for-granted; maintaining momentum across all fronts requires substantial effort from academics and environmental managers. An evaluation will be provided of the strategies adopted to achieve both an award and the support of a broader group of academics engaging with ESD. A summary of the lessons learned from the experience will be of value to others.

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