We have created a website dedicated to educating current and future students who are studying abroad in Barcelona about ways to live more sustainably during their time here. Through an array of categories and sub-categories with links to “go green” blogs and articles, we have been able to create an easy and user-friendly way to both educate and provide opportunities to students.
1. What is the action
Our action has been to create a website that encourages a sustainable lifestyle to current and future students studying abroad in Barcelona. The website is organized into several categories and sub-categories, in a way that presents the information in a more coherent and user friendly way. Categories include sections such as Eats, Transportation, and Shopping. Sub-categories, on the other hand, include specific links and articles that will inform students about environmentally friendly places where they can buy food, clothing, and cosmetics, how they can travel more efficiently through the public transportation and bike systems, and other general, everyday actions that they can take to make less of an impact on our environment. Although sub-categories will combine the links to past websites created by previous IES students, we have also included outside links and articles.
Each semester, a new IES student in the Sustainability: Challenges and Responses class will be responsible for maintaining, updating, and adding on to the already created website (at www.iesbarcelonasss.blogspot.com).
In order to promote dialogue between students and the community we have also created a suggestion box that allows people to contribute their ideas, questions, and concerns and discuss them amongst each other.
Through this interactive space we hope to increase the site’s popularity and content.
Lastly, through the “IES Abroad Welcome Kit” we will advertise our website and encourage it’s use among future IES students studying abroad in Barcelona.
1.1. Why this action makes things more sustainable?
This website will make things more sustainable because it will increase the knowledge of students. Most students do not know where to go to be sustainable while in Barcelona, so having one easy to use website for students makes being sustainable an option. This website can teach students that making one small change in their daily habits can have a sustainable long term change on the environment.
Secondly, having a sustainable website can create a change in attitudes of students studying at IES.
Making this website accessible to all students at IES will give them more options for sustainable transportation, eating, and shopping while in the city. Also, if the students continue with the changes they’ve made once they get home then the sustainable website will create a long term effect. This website can also last in the long run because we used a blog in order to make it. Anyone with the link can access the blog and add their own comments to it.
Finally, this website is sustainable because it does not require the use of any paper in order to spread the information. Students do not need to have a printed booklet with all the sustainable facts in it, instead they can just access the website and find any information that they are looking for. Therefore, having the website will also reduce the dependency on using paper, and instead will focus on having all information in one place.
-Assessable to IES students as well as the general public
-Easy to use
-Includes all previously found sustainable spots in Barcelona (across multiple categories)
-Encourages students, as well as the general public, to support local businesses and sustainable practices
-Free to use
-Cannot include some previously implemented websites because of formatting issues
-Those without Internet access cannot view the website
-Difficult to advertise/publicize the need to use the website
-Could be difficult to manage which kinds of sustainable practices and businesses should be featured—too many at once could be overwhelming
-As the city changes and develops, so can the websites—i.e. easy to update, add, and delete
-Will be able to keep up with changes in technology
-Will be able to keep up with changes in social life, population profiles, lifestyles, etc.
-Local events will gain more attention
-Gradual shifting of mindset if our features are adopted on a more widespread basis
-Quality standards, possibly need to implement a review option, so that customers of the services we list can post their thoughts and concerns about the featured businesses
-Similar websites with more of a following
1.2. "Cradle to Cradle" design
Because our design has been created electronically through a website, we have been able to eliminate the waste from paper. In addition to this, the information provided on our website can be reused again and again (read and reread) to teach students about sustainability without creating waste. Lastly, our website promotes other cradle to cradle designs and the concept of the three R’s, which may trigger other sustainable actions.
1.3. Similar actions from previous semesters
In previous semesters other students have created both webpages and blogs. These include a sustainable lifestyle webpage, abroad in Barcelona webpage, a blog titled “where to eat in BCN,” an “Attainable and Sustainable” blog, and a travel blog. These websites are similar to our blog because they all include different ways to be sustainable in one location online.
By reading over these different reports we were able to find other websites and resources with more information about being sustainable, especially in Barcelona. We noticed that many of the blogs focused on something specific such as where to eat or how to travel, but they did not have more than one concept in each blog. With this we decided to include both eating, travel, and shopping in our blog. This way it covers more information in one place and students do not need to look up different websites in order to learn where and how to be sustainable. The biggest problem that we had learning from these other implementations was that we were not able to access the majority of the websites. We would have been able to learn a lot more if we had access to the other websites and blogs that people had created. Because we had such an issue accessing the other websites we decided to make ours into a blog. By having a blog it is not necessary to have a tiki installer enabled in order to use the materials from our website. Overall we learned that the website that we are creating needs to be easy to access and pass on to other students in order for it to work.
1.3.1. Why This or a Similar Action Didn't Succeed in Previous Semesters?
We believe that the website idea did not succeed in previous semesters because many of the websites were difficult to access or had been deleted by the time we tried to use them to implement our project. The majority of students are not going to spend time trying to access a difficult to use website, if the website says its not available then the students will most likely just give up. If the websites were more accessible then we believe they would have also had more success. We further think that the websites did not succeed because there was no student to take over the website at the end of the semester. Once the student who made the website or blog left there was no one to take their place, edit it, or pass the information or website link on to other students. This means that we need someone to pass on our website from each semester, and we are hoping this can be done through either a sustainability class or during the orientation period at IES.
The implementation of our design relies on the ability to get the knowledge of our website out to the class as well as future classes. While in BCN we will be blogging every other week to update the blog with more relevant information, or new information having to do with living sustainably in an urban city. This action will also work well for the future classes as it provides the students with a blog to view and gain an understanding of how they can live more sustainably while they are abroad. Hopefully, they will take the new knowledge with them back to the States and implement it in their lives back home.
Steps to Follow:
1) Tell class about new blog
2) Update information on a normal basis
3) Check in with the class to see what they would like to see in the blog
4) Give a “Keys to keep blog going” page to instructor to keep the blog alive when the current students depart
2.1. The action
Link to the website: www.IESbarcelonasss.blogspot.com
The first problem that we had was accessing old websites and blogs that had been previously designed or implemented.
We solved this by using the information that we were able to access and then doing our own research about how to be sustainable in Barcelona.
This problem also taught us that our website needed to be more accessible for future students, which is why we chose to use a blog for ours.
A second problem is that we know that in the future it will be hard to promote the website.
In order to solve the problem of promoting the website we came up with the idea of sending out the link to the website in a mass email to students. This email can be sent out by ies at any time during the semester, or the link can be added in our agendas that we were given during the orientation period.
There might be problems continuing with the blog in the future.
This problem can be solved by having a new student in a sustainability class continue on with the blog each semester.
2.3. How will this action be sustained when you are not here?
Since our action is the creation of a website, it will always be available to future IES students. We will be able to continuously update the website from the United States, based on information we find online. We hope that, by word-of-mouth, the website will gain popularity among IES students, and that it will be a helpful, reliable resource after we leave Barcelona.
Sustainability explained through animation. Real Eyes Video, 2010. Web. 21 Feb 2014. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5NiTN0chj0>.
4. Other References
Add here the references to the other sources of information, quotes from organizations or companies where you suggest to get some products from, etc.
Provide as many details as needed to help students in future semesters to get the contact, recall that quote/price, who did you talk to, etc.
The help and information that we got for the blog came from our professor, readings that we had in class, and outside websites with information about sustainability in Barcelona.
We would like to acknowledge the use of google blogger as the location of our blog page.
5.2. Students involved in this action
Daniel Glass- Set up the blog
Britany Kabakov- Why this action makes things more sustainable, similar actions from previous semesters, why they did not succeed, troubleshooting, and acknowledgements.
Leah Mothersbaugh- “Summary”, “What is the action”, and “cradle to cradle design”
Everyone contributed to editing and adding resources to the blog.
Write your names, briefly indicating your role in the action and its report. Identify which is the "official" leader of this action (if any), who the other participants, indicating the role of each student in the team. Remember that the leader is the person in charge that the team work together and all things get done in time; if some member of the team for this action does not do his/her duties, the "leader" is expected to do instead to warranty the success of the action in time.