A 'Sustainable' Competition - Martha May

1. A "Sustainable" Competition

1.1. What

A"Sustainable" Competition involves contacting teachers from the IES faculty and encouraging them to be more "sustainable" in their classrooms. Some suggestions are using online readings and encouraging students to read the articles online instead of printing them AND if they insist on printing, encouraging them to keep the printer set to it's default so that readings are double-sided. At the end of the semester going-away party; students will have the opportunity to nominate the most sustainable teacher. This teacher will then recieve a small gift from a local fair trade store in Barcelona. Teachers will be told about the incentive in the e-mail. So far I have contaced Jane from the Administration to ask for an alias e-mail so that I can contact all of the teachers in IES. I have drafted my e-mail and I have also drafted the survey for the end of the semester party. I have also surveyed 35 IES students and am in the process of determining a winner.

1.2. Why this action makes things more sustainable?

A "Sustainable" competition is designed to improve the sustainability of IES Abroad Barcelona through many different outlets. The first being changes in attitudes in regards to using resources. Teachers will not take advantage of resources such as paper and electricity. This change in attitude will affect students in their courses and go hand in hand in making IES Abroad Barcelona a more sustainable program. In addition teachers and students alike will reduce dependecy on paper and electricity. By reducing our dependency we will in turn leave less of an ecological footprint in IES Abroad Barcelona and the surrounding community. A "Sustainable" Competition also has long term effects by helping students and teachers become more comfortable with using technology which will encourage the use of reading texts online and not printing out their readings. This competition also includes an incentive from a SLEN or sustainable local enterprise network which will help the local community more then a gift from a TINA business. Finally A "Sustainable" Competition has many feedback loops that benefits students, teachers, IES Abroad Barcelona, and the city of Barcelona.

1.2.1. SWOT Analysis

Strengths:Teachers will order less readers and save paper which will also save students money because they won't have to pay for readers
Save IES money because they won't have to buy as much paper if there is an emphasis on using online readings
Incentive for teachers and staff because of a gift from the local fair trade shops in Barcelona for whoever is voted most 'sustainable' teacher
In the longrun, IES will become a more sustainable abroad program

Will teachers who have been using the readers in their classes feel comfortable switching to online texts?
How can I guarantee the teachers will pass on this knowledge of being more "sustainable" after winning the competition?

Opportunities: Knowledge (Sustainable efforts will be demonstrated by teachers and share knowledge to other faculty and staff as well as to students)
Economic (IES will save money by using less paper and spending less money on electricity bills)

Threats: :Is a small gift from a local fair trade company enough of an incentive to encourage IES staff to be more "sustainable"?
Student's lack of participation in filling out surverys at the end of the semester
The vailidity of the surveys may pose a problem
"Sustainable" efforts might not be continued in the future without incentives for the teachers and staff
Students might complain that it is too time-consuming to download PDF's and print them (when needed)

1.2.2. Feedback loops

The first feedback loop is that using online texts instead of readers which will lead to saving paper if students read online instead of printing. Using online texts also leads to students saving money because they won't have to pay for readers. Both paper and money are saved, therefore benefiting both students and the environment.

Another loop is that if teachers are sustainable they will be rewarded with a fair trade gift and my money used to buy the fair trade gift will put more money back into the local network than a souvenir from a non SLEN store, this in turn benefits the teachesr who live here. This is a reinforcing loop because the potential and benefit for the teacher will make him or her increase the first action of this loop which is by being a more sustainable teacher. This loop has been completed.

1.2.3. Potential Benefits

Not only will IES benefit but so will teachers and students beacuse money will be saved for the program on paper and electricity. And students will save money by not buying readers. IES will also save money on paper and electricity which can then be used on other things that will benefit teachers and students alike. There is also an element of knowledge that will be gained and that is the use of technology for teaching and learning. It keep everyone up to par on the current abilities of laptops and technology in general. Students will also get more practice with online engines such as IES abroad moodle, where teachers can post readings and PDF's. In addition IES should provide teachers with re-fillable pots for the white-board markers. This will help teachers be more "sustainable".

1.2.4. Potential Costs

Money will be needed to buy gifts from local free trade shops. I am willing to pay for this because of the lasting benefits of spreading awareness and offering an incentive. I will also need to print surveys but I plan on putting 3 surveys on a single sheet of paper in order to not use a ton of paper. I will also need to buy some pens for students to use to fill out the surveys. As far as time I taken time to draft a survey as well as an e-mail to teachers of IES about the competition. Lastly, at the end of the year party I am going to need to make sure the surveys are readily available and I will be using two other students from my class who I have collaborated with to help facilitate and collect the surveys.

1.3. How

So far I have sent an e-mail to Cat (the secretary at IES's front desk who is responsible for sending out e-mails to faculty and staff when issues arise) which is going to be forwarded to all of the IES professors alerting them of the competition. The e-mail includes suggestions for being more sustainable as well as the incentive (gift from a fair trade shop) that will be rewarded to the 2 most "sustainable" teachers in IES as voted by the students. In the final weeks before I return to the states I am going to survey students at the IES farewell party and ask who their most "sustainable" professor is/was. The top 2 most "sustainable" professors will be given a fair trade shop gift before I depart.

Note: Two days before the farewell party, when asking a variety of the students I found that not many students were planning on attending the Farewell party. For this reason I, along with Megan Bernstein, and Sarah Cole passed out surveys during the day to IES students both in our classes and students lounging in the IES building. This proved to be effective and I collected a total of 35 surveys.

In a perfect world I would have been able to contact the IES professors before they even ordered their readers and tried to persuade them to not order readers and put all of their readers in an online PDF format. Unfortunately that just was not possible. It also would have been more effective if I had been able to contact teachers before the middle of March because there is such a short amount of time left for teachers to change their ways. In addition if I had more time, I would have designed and hung posters with the "sustainable" criterion throughout IES to put more pressure on teachers and to remind students what they should be looking out for.

Here is the e-mail that was sent to all of the teachers in IES and my survey question:


My name is Martha Tahsler and I am running A “Sustainable” Competition. At the end of the semester IES party students are going to be surveyed to find the 2 most sustainable professors in IES. The 2 winners will be rewarded with a gift from a local fair trade shop.

In order to be more sustainable…
-use recycled paper
- print on both sides of paper
- put readings online instead of ordering readers
-encourage students to also hand in paper on double-sided sheets of paper
-turn off lights when using projector so it is easier for students to read the screen and to save electricity
-use re-fillable pots for white-board markers

Thanks for taking the time to read this e-mail and for considering what you can do to be a more sustainable teacher.

Thank you,
Martha Tahsler

Survey Question: Who is your most "sustainable" professor? (In terms of paper and electricity usage)

1.3.1. "Cradle to Cradle" design

By using less paper and electricity in the IES building, money will be saved. The money that is saved can be used for other initiatives. In addition I am going to use recycled paper from the IES study lounges and recycling bins for the surveys and posters. This is a "cradle to cradle" design because I will not be creating any waste.

1.3.2. Questions for the unified survey

Have you noticed some professors, fieldtrips, or housing accomodations through IES that are more "sustainable" than others?

1.3.3. Analysis of the results in the survey

There were only 20 out of 380 students to fill out the survey which is not very helpful. I was one of the students, so in my case I only have 19 other people's opinions. I also changed my action too late and my survey question did not get put into the survey.

1.3.4. Incentives

I am going to buy fair trade shop gifts for the 2 most "sustainable" professors. I tried working with IES staff to get some money in order to fund this incentive. However, time again ran out; so I am paying out of my own pocket. I have put a limit on the gifts at 30euros total for the two. In the future students should talk with Caterina (IES front desk secretary) for my guidance as to who exactly to talk to in order to have the fair trade shop gifts funded. These gifts are good incentives because most likely professors who are interested in being more sustainable are familiar and support fair trade shops and will be interested in a reward for their efforts. In other words professors who are "sustainable" and will most likely win the competition and appreciate a gift from a local fair trade shop.

These gifts from the fair trade shop are also going to fit the waste-food principle as a way of supporting a more "sustainable" world.

If I had more time, I would have talked with the IES administration to see if students willing to fill out the survey could have an extra glass of wine at the farewell party. Unfortunately I did not have ample time to make this incentive a possibility.

1.3.5. Relationship with the "Sustainability Club" (SC)

I am a member of the "Sustainability Club" and my action is helping to promote sustainability for teachers and students at IES through offering professors a reward for thinking twice about printing and considering using online readings in the future as well as for using re-fillable pots for white-board markers.

1.3.6. How will this action be sustained when you are not here?

Teachers will continue their sustainable actions in the future. In addition hopefully another student will continue my action next semester and be willing to contact teachers again, as well as buy a small gift to offer as an incentive.

1.3.7. Document format

This document is formatted using html.

CC BY Share alike: This license is flexible in the sense that it allows other students to remix, tweek and build upon my original work as long as they credit me for the advancements they made. The other thing that must take place is that they must license their new creation under this copyright license, this in return will allow for commercial use.

I have chosen this license because I am hoping that another student will continue with this action and I want them to have access to my research, information, and ideas in order to build upon them and improve my work.

1.4. Time-sheet / Chronogram

January- Contact Professors with ideas of how to be more sustainable in their classrooms. Contact IES about providing money for re-fillable pots for white-board markers.
February- Send another reminder to Professors encouraging them to more sustainable
March- Prepare survey for IES farewell party. Hang posters in the hallway to help put pressure on teachers to be more "sustainable"
April- Again, send another e-mail to Professors. Buy fair trade shop gifts. Prepare for survey and recruit friends in IES to help facilitate surveys and collect responses. Compile responses and reward teachers with the gift. Finally, send out an e-mail to all of the professors congratulating the most "sustainable" teacher and include bullet points that educate as to why students said they choose this professor. Work with IES to have a small plaque put in the teacher faculty lounge with the names of the annual winners of the "sustainable" competition.

Green Your: Your Guide to Green Living, 2008, http://www.greenyour.com/office/office-operations/waste-and-recycling/tips/default-to-double-sided-printing-and-copying

Source Reduction, 2011, http://www.conservatree.org/paper/Choose/SRpractices.shtml

Waste- Non-Hazardous Waste- Municipal Solid Waste, 2011, http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/nonhaz/municipal/index.htm

Jeff McNeeley, Economics and biological diversity: developing and using economic incentives,1998, http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=R9djVOkOY_YC&oi=fnd&pg=PR3&dq=benefits+of+using+incentives&ots=EsvQ1zgI65&sig=h00wMLUVuWZU8HyUser-yM_6iEs#v=onepage&q=benefits%20of%20using%20incentives&f=false

1.6. Students involved in this action

Megan Bernstein and Sarah Cole are going to work with me. I am the leader of this action but they have committed to helping contact teachers and staff as well as holding students accountable for filling out the survey and rewarding the most sustainable. This is my new action so I am the leader but I have kept an open-line of communication with them in order to bounce around ideas as well as express my expectations for them. Sarah and Megan also helped pass our surveys to students in their classes as well as in the IES building.

Sample Survey Question: Who is your most "sustainable" professor? (In terms of paper and electricity usage) List a few reasons why they are "sustainable".

 Assignment 4: Peer review form

You do not have permission to insert an item

Items found: 12
Grade per actionReviewerComments
90 Brian McNevinThis is a great way to get faculty and students involved. The prize at the end is also a great way to get local businesses involved. However, I might suggest that you do the contest by class so that it gives more of an incentive for both teachers and students to get involved.
100 carlafUm who wouldn't want to kill two birds with one stone and not only be environmentally friendly but also save money? I know I would. Making IES even more sustainable wouldn't hurt. The bathroom lights shut off after like 20 seconds, maybe we could use this with the computers - have them turn off after a certain time of being unused / idle.
93 CFaheySorry for the mistake in the last comment. Great Idea I am also doing a CONTEST* and I think it is a good way to get students involved in being sustainable. It is not difficult and teachers can be rewarded so hopefully this will be enough incentive for widespread participation.
94 gnardii love this idea!! it is a great way to get faculty involved. Up until now that majority of actions I have been reading having been directed towards students, but I think it is really important for faculty to be a part of becoming more sustainable also. Once students see the faculty participating, it will encourage them to participate too. I think it is really smart to give a prize to the winner at the end because that is a great incentive. Everyone loves a challenge! Also, its cool that the prize will be from the local trade store, great way to support local businesses.
97 jschayeCute idea martha! Maybe do the contest in smaller groups instead of everyone because that makes people think they can never win it if there are so many people you know?
91 Julia NuttI think this is a really good idea for everyone to get involved rather than just leaving it to the students. I think that there definitely needs to be incentives because many times students may not choose to participate. I think that it should be a prize that deals with sustainability such as a gift certificate to a local restaurant. I think seeing the teachers being more sustainable will encourage the students to be as well.
93 Kmacdonald4I think this is a great way to get the faculty involved in making IES more sustainable. Competition is a great motivator and all the actions they can take to become more sustainable are very easy for all teachers to do in their classrooms. For future semesters you should consider sending out an email to all of IES (teachers and students) about the competition so that students are aware of what they should be looking for in a sustainable teacher
87 MbowermanI really like this idea. Teachers in IES could definitely find ways to be more sustainable and offering an incentive such as a gift is a great way to encourage this.
94 seantubridyGreat idea! Instead of engaging only the students, it engages the teachers too while making the students aware of sustainable ways. I have noticed some teacher being more sustainable than others.
95 SolomonBPThis could work well, and be fun for teachers and students alike. It's even possible be could extend the competition to the students as well, with sustainable actions, community service, and sustainable contributions, would be tallied and rewarded at years end. If not with the official IES end of year party, winners and awards could happen at the SC sponsored end of year pizza and reader recycling party. I like one of the possibilities being for teachers to use online readers. All the readers are recycled at the end of each semester. No need to print them all out, they should be electronic since there are only minor changes made to articles in reader and order of contents. Having it all online would make those changes easier, and greatly reduce the amount of paper consumed at IES BCN.
90 vsienkieThis is a great idea. It is very important to get the teachers involved in our sustainable plans because they can spread the knowledge to their students. This could also be a great continued action to get all of the teachers in the next semesters to only put their readings online. I also like the idea of the gift, but who will pay for it? IES?
94 vydraI think this is an awesome idea. If you think about it, there are so many readers given out at IES; if even some of these readers were electronic rather than in paper, it would make a huge impact on the amount of paper consumed by IES, and students wouldn't have to worry about losing it either. Maybe see if you can add incentives for teachers who wouldn't normally be sustainable, because those are the ones that you want to try to get to be more sustainable.

 Grades for this action report (From the PROFESSOR)

Items found: 2
2.1 A 'Sustainable' Competition (Martha May - Megan Bernstein - Sarah Cole) Good Implementing this new idea that no student had attempted to implement before in previous semesters. Focusing also in the faculty, and not only (and always) on students "It also would have been move the re effective if I had been able to contact teachers before the middle of March because there is such a short amount of time left for teachers to change their ways." Don't worry, your work nowadays might have an impact later than you expect, but we have the opportunity to modify our syllabus and readers each semester. Therefore if not for 2011 Fall, faculty willing to take you advice has the opportunity to adapt it for 2012 Spring (and time runs very fast!). Improvable 1.1. "...recieve a small gift from a local free trade store in Barcelona" Fair trade, not free trade. Don't forget (I already pointed this out told your the fix at the SWOT assignment time). "... I have also drafted the survey for the end of the semester party." Ok, provide a copy of such draft survey as annexes (or similar) to your action report. This will be re-usable by students in further semesters in this way. (waste = food!) Receiving an e-mail (as faculty) is not enough. We have plenty of incoming messages per day, and lots of urgent "todos" every week. So as a reference, I confirm that I received the message weeks ago, but I completely forgot about it, until I had to provide feedback on your action. Maybe some other email reminder is needed? And some posters on walls or doors (and faculty room in the first floor, etc.) would be appropriate also. 1.2.2. Feedback loops "The first feedback loop is that using online texts instead of readers which will lead to saving paper if students read online instead of printing. Using online texts also leads to students saving money because they won't have to pay for readers." What you say feedback loops are not full loops. "…fair trade gift will put more money back into the local network then a souvenir from a non SLEN store…" "then" or "than"?. ok, this could be accepted as reinforcing loop if the potential end benefit for the teacher would make him/her increase the first action of the loop (being a more sustainable teacher). Remember to close the loop clearly. 1.2.1. SWOT. If your action is the competition, then focus in the swot on the competition aspect, and not so much on the issues of implementing measures by faculty (readers online, etc.) W: "Weaknesses:Is a small gift from a local fair trade company enough of an incentive to encourage IES staff to be more "sustainable"?" In fact, this is a threat, not a weakness (as far as you wonder whether this will happen or not, since you seem to be unsure about it). O: Whiteboard markers bought by IES Abroad Barcelona are refillable. They just need to by the refilling pots. O: "…and share knowledge to other faculty and staff as well as to students" How is this knowledge sharing going to be implemented? (just saying who is the winner doesn't ensure this "knowledge sharing"). T: "Student's lack of participation in filling out surverys at the end of the semester". Any incentive for students which participate, which might help to reduce that risk/threat? (extra glass of wine for each student who participates in the contest by means of voting? - check with IES Abroad Administration for valid extra incentives for that farewell party) Imagine this scenario: imagine that most professors use long readings, printed single sided, and in non-recycled paper. Two professors ('professor A1' and 'professor A2') using printed readers, using thin readings, double sided and printed in recycled paper. And 2 other professors ('professor B1' and 'professor B2') use online readers, with all the readings in pdf, so no waste is produced a priori from their readers. Imagine that most students from professors A1 and A2 attend to the farewell party, and less students from the courses from professors B1 and B2 attend the farewell party. Professors A1 and A2 could be the most voted ones, even if there might be a big amount of students knowing that professors B1 and B2 did better from the point of view of sustainability and their readers. A potential solution for this issue would be to have the competition in two phases/steps: Phase 1: casting votes for professor nomination, and providing arguments (as bullet points: short, concise, informative, etc) on why the student considers that this professor should be chosen. Phase 1 includes a count on the number of times a professor has been nominated and a sum of arguments on why this person is a good candidate for that. This summary of nominations with their own arguments should be read in loud to the public, in order to proceed with phase 2 just afterwards. Phase 2: is the process of casting the final vote. Once students hear the arguments on why each candidate should be considered (regardless of the fact that they attended to a course of that professor or not), students would cast their votes with a higher knowledge of the state of the art in the faculty. Additionally, I suggest that the professor of sustainability (the same one who is writing this enhancement of your action) is not counted as candidate, and therefore, he can participate in the team counting votes, arguments, etc. without any potential bias or conflict of interests if any equal amount of votes are cast for two people, etc. Maybe some students should be taking part of the committee for such counting process and resolution of conflicts, if any, during the voting? What do you think on this proposal from the professor of sustainability (Xavier de Pedro)? 1.2.3. Potential Benefits 1.3. "So far I have sent an e-mail to Cat..." Who is Cat? For next editions, add the info about refilling whiteboard markers (provided that IES Abroad Barcelona buys de refilling pots - talk to them in advanced?). "Survey Question: Who is your most "sustainable" professor? (In terms of paper and electricity usage)" Ok, fair enough as a short and clear question for the survey at the farewell party. But regardless of who are chosen, I suggest that you prepare some short (but longer than the question for the survey) explanation of "what type of things make a professor more sustainable". Something like a short speech (< 2 minutes) to be given just before or just after the names of the chosen professors, etc. So that everyone (students and faculty listening to that moment) might learn which things they might incorporate in the present and future activities in order to be more sustainable, like those 2 people did (according to student votes). Another option is preparing some small flyers where students can vote, and which have the basic criteria needed to cast their vote (maybe the same type of items as the ones sent on the email to the faculty?) 1.3.1. "By using less paper and electricity in the IES building, money will be saved. The money that is saved can be used for other initatives" Cradle to Cradle design doesn't mean (or doesn't just mean) saving money, but designing things in a way that there is no waste (as we usually refer to waste), or that the waste/subproducts/materials used can be used for something else (technical nutrients) later on, and the end of the life of that product. So, if you use some paper for casting the votes... why not using some paper recovered from the paper recycling bins from IES Abroad Barcelona? (waste = food!) . Or similar with whatever materials you use for your action... (if posters are designed in the future, etc). As a prize/present for the 2 winners, search for something which can fit the best into the "Waste = food" principle... 1.3.2 Question for next editions: I wonder if the incentive for faculty is good enough as incentive to participate. Maybe a question regarding the type of incentive (that would be good enough as incentive for faculty) would be appropriate, to prevent failure because of the threat that this incentive is not enough for faculty. 1.3.4. & 1.3.6. How much money do you have allocated for such prizes? I understand that you got that money from IES Abroad Administration or Direction, isn't it? I suggest that you indicate who is the person from the staff to talk to, so that future students will know in advanced who should they talk to (inside IES Abroad Barcelona structure/organization-chart) to request some money to buy those gifts, etc. 1.3.8. See 2011a General comments about this section. 1.4. Timesheet (& 1.3.4) If you have some difficulties to find some students which might help you (I have no clue whether this is a real case or not), you might consider providing some extra incentive for students helping in this process. Like giving them some ecoeuros for their participation, which would be equal to the ecoeuros needed to get an extra cloth bag, or water bottles, or a full-day worth rental of the IES Abroad bicycle, or similar, as a reward for their help. Talk to Sean to consider adding this type of reward in ecoeuros and product/service in exchange of student help. The bicycle (which I) refurbished for staff of IES Abroad Barcelona is not being used at all, and maybe providing this free rental of that bicycle for a day or weekend might be a good incentive for students? For next semesters, more bicycles could be used as incentive?... (just brainstorming in loud... "Finally, send out an e-mail to all of the professors congratulating the most "sustainable" teacher." Why not just having some space accepted to be allocated permanently to list the winners of that contest every year, with their name, picture, and arguments provided for students for such a candidate? If that was hold permanently year after year, it might settle some precedent/history among IES Abroad Faculty so that professors remember this contest for next semester, and they have that in mind during the following months... That might produce a bigger effect in faculty participation, consideration and reputation for the winners, etc. What if that information is also posted in the IES Abroad Barcelona blog also?... (brainstorming again also...) 1.5. See 2011a General comments about it. The last two paragraphs look like some leftover from the initial brainstorming. Am I wrong? (remember not to leave information waste; use it as food, and clean the room after you eat it!): Many people like competitions, which is why I am going to focus on contests within IES. These contests will focus "sustainable" efforts within the IES abroad Barcelona program. The three contests I am going to have are on the most "sustainable" classes in IES, the most "sustainable" IES fieldtrip and the most "sustainable accomodation/housing through IES. In order to hold these competitions I am going to contact the IES abroad teachers and staff via e-mail about the incentives of being sustainable. At the end of the semester party, students will fill out a short survey which will help determine who was the most sustainable. Whoever wins the most votes will recieve a small gift from the fair trade shops in Barcelona. My goal is that by having competitions teachers and IES staff will be motivated to be more "sustainable" because of the incentive and will then continue to do so in the future. Teachers who are aware of paper usage and other issues in the classroom such as heating, lighting, etc. will make a difference and help to make this program more sustainable. A picture of the gift/s would be nice!
Congratulations for the improvements. However, this looks to me still unfinished, since I see no result from those surveys you collected, etc. Nor a picture of the prizes, or who won that competition and why, etc. 2nd

Page last modified on Wednesday 04 of April, 2012 17:13:35