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Engaging Students in Sustainable Development for the 21st Century

University of Leeds Students’ Union
22 February 2011 10:00-16:00

Higher Education in the UK is fundamentally changing, as evidenced by recent policy developments such as the Browne Review and Comprehensive Spending Review. Central to this will be a changing relationship between HE institutions and students. As students are being asked to pay more for their education their choices are likely to become increasingly more important in terms of developing institutional strategies. A key element of this will be in students’ attitudes to, and involvement in, issues around sustainable development. This will be driven by their perceived need to participate in a more sustainable future for both ideological and pragmatic reasons. So while many will believe that future sustainability is a right, others will see the increasing focus on the green economy through new industries and new jobs that will require new skills as a motivation to become involved. It is vital, therefore, that HE understands this need, and how it is being expressed. This one day event will enable delegates to find out what students are thinking and doing with regard to sustainable development, the aims of the day being to:

  • promote the role of students as pioneers and change agents for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) issues in the HE sector;
  • examine the contribution that students make to ESD in HE in both informal and formal learning situations, and through volunteering in the community;
  • showcase student activity in sustainable development, relating especially to ESD;
  • explore ways in which HE policy and practice can better engage with students around questions of ESD.

The event will provide details of a major survey (due to be published in January 2011), commissioned by the HEA and carried out by the NUS, which looks at the attitudes of first year students to sustainability and skills – and asks what students expect from their institutions.

Central to the success of the event will be the ‘Liquid Cafe’, which will take place over the middle part of the day. It is during this time that we hope that student groups, projects, individuals and/ or module groups will showcase their activities. To this end we invite submissions as follows:

•    Sessions last no more than half an hour
•    All sessions should have some student involvement
•    Sessions can be in any format (subject to technical provision)
Please let them know when you are registering if you have something to would like to contribute during this session. There will also be space for spontaneous contributions on the day.

Who should attend:
•    Students
•    HEI Senior Managers
•    Deans/ pro-Deans
•    Academics
•    Policymakers
•    Estates professionals

Attendees will be charged £50 with the exception of students, for which there will be no fee.


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