Many strategies exist for teaching students about sustainable business. Depending upon resource availability and institutional receptivity, centers can offer activities including student clubs, course development and re-training faculty.
Below are seven activities, for educators, including tips for implementation. Activities are ordered according to "magnitude of change" required for implementation, beginning with those requiring the least amount of institutional change.
1. Organize a speaker series
A speaker series brings prominent figures to engage students on sustainability topics.
• Schedule your series during the lunch hour and offer food. Food relaxes the atmosphere, fosters conversation and may attract more students.
• Use these sessions to promote other sustainability programs, including courses, certificates and student clubs.
2. Support student clubs
Passionate students may create major impact. Help students organize clubs that take on sustainability projects. Clubs can focus on sustainability generally, or on specific issues such as energy, social impact or international development. Faculty mentors should guide participants to increase their efficacy.
3. Review current courses and highlight sustainability content
Sustainability likely is already taught in many of your institution's courses, but may not be labeled. For example, the "Ikea case" taught in Introduction to Operations may teach students about sustainable supply chain management.
Work with professors to identify sustainability content they already teach and encourage them to highlight it in their syllabi by relabeling it or making it a course objective. This encourages faculty and students to think actively about sustainability.
In addition to elevating content in course materials, consider profiling sustainability teaching on the website of your center, program or school.
• Use tact and diplomacy when proposing new ideas. If you are too direct in suggesting changes to faculty, you may shut down conversation.
• Be flexible in your terminology. For example, some faculty may be comfortable talking about sustainability, while others refuse to teach sustainability but are happy to talk about climate change.
• Make changes easy for instructors. Even if they agree to syllabi changes in theory, execution is more likely if you make the edits and send to the instructor for approval.
Classroom image by bikeriderlondon via Shutterstock.
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