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Courses / Sustainability Website: Breiner, Vine, Sharrin

Summary
The purpose of this action is to provide future IES students with a website regarding sustainability. Ideally this website would feature information explaining the concepts of sustainability, the benefits of a more sustainable world, and simple lifestyle choices that students can make in order to become more sustainable. This website will inform students and offer advice while simultaneously promoting a more sustainable IES through behavioral changes.

1. What is the action

The action is to implement a website run by IES students/staff that not only informs on topics of sustainability but also offers sustainable lifestyle advice. The goal of this action is to make those involved in the IES program more knowledgeable regarding topics of sustainability. Through the dissemination of knowledge, the IES students/staff will then be able to operate in a more sustainable fashion. Another beneficial aspect of this action is the distribution of information without the use of paper. Students will not need to receive paper handouts explaining sustainability and they will not need to use notebooks to record the information either. The website offers students/staff a single place to refer to that explains all aspects of sustainability and offers tips on sustainable living as well.

This action can be implemented at a very low cost by utilizing free website start-up services and free open source software (FOSS). Products and services such as these will allow a website to be constructed and navigated in a fairly inexpensive manner. The computer usage in the IES building will not be increased due to the availability of this website so IES will not incur additional expenses such as higher electricity bills. Similarly, it would be very easy for students/staff to access this website using personal computers or the IES provided desktop computers.

1.1. Similar actions from previous semesters

We found one action from a previous semester that used the idea of a website to encourage sustainable living. Although this past action is similar, it overlooks the fact that not everyone is well informed on the topic of sustainability. If a person is not fully aware of the scope of the term "sustainability", then they will most likely be less willingly to participate in sustainable living. When a person knows the negative impacts of non-sustainable actions they will be more likely to make a lifestyle change for the greater good. This is why we believe including articles, videos, and other important information on the website is an essential part of the action. Sustainability is not a topic that everyone is aware of. Promoting awareness will also aid in the promotion of sustainable living.

Previous similar actions:
http://ssou33.wix.com/ies4sustainability
iesgogreen.seeds4c.org

1.2. SWOT Analysis

Strengths

  • Free online website
  • No additional costs to operate
  • Unlimited information
  • Informs students & staff
  • Gives sustainable living advice
  • Explains negative impacts of everyday choices
  • Expands knowledge & awareness
  • Legitimizes more sustainable behavior

Weaknesses

  • Time commitment
  • Needs to be continuously updated/monitored
  • Not everyone has internet access
  • Students would need to be informed of the website each semester
  • Students need to add to the website over time

Opportunities

  • Website could inform people outside of IES (i.e. other study abroad programs)
  • Leads to sustainable lifestyle choices (i.e. reusable water bottles, recycling, using recycled materials, bicycles)
  • Gives students/staff more chances to get involved
  • Could lead to more substantial sustainable actions (i.e. solar panel installation at IES, high efficiency light bulbs)

Threats

  • Sustainable living limits or eliminates options (it is often easier to live in a non-sustainable way)
  • Website may have low usability
  • Students/staff may lack knowledge necessary to maintain the website
  • Large time commitment to create & implement website
  • Already established sustainability websites may be easier to use
  • Technical problems (i.e. outdated website/software)

1.3. Feedback loops

Ideally this action would exhibit a positive feedback loop that reinforces itself as time progresses. More people will become well-informed on the topic of sustainability as more people visit this website. Once people are well-informed they will begin to make behavioral changes in order to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Observers who see these well-informed people will notice their sustainable behavior and hopefully begin to copy that pattern of behavior. This will exponentially increase sustainable behavior over time. Additionally, those people who visit the website and become well-informed will be able to share information with others. They could either teach others about sustainability by themselves or they can refer them to the website. This behavior would also exponentially increase the amount of knowledge and sustainable behavior over time.

Usage of website-> (+) Level of knowledge-> (+) More sustainable behavior-> (+) Observers adopt this behavior-> (+) Exponential increase in sustainable behavior <- Usage of the Website

Usage of website-> (+) Level of knowledge-> (+) Dissemination of knowledge-> (+) More sustainable awareness-> (+) Increase in sustainable behavior -< Usage of the Website

1.4. Advertising
  • Post link to sustainable website on Moodle homepage (paperless)
  • Use IES abroad students Facebook page to post relevant sustainability information and website link (paperless)
  • Put up flyers on poster boards in IES (use recycled paper and paste them on the wall instead of laminating because of the problems that laminating would cause in regards to recycling)
  • Send sustainability e-mail via IES staff (paperless)

2. Why this action makes things more sustainable

This action makes things more sustainable for two reasons. First of all, this website informs students/staff and encourages them to adopt some simple sustainable lifestyle habits such as using reusable water bottles, recycling properly, purchasing recycled materials more often, composting, saving electricity, using high efficiency light bulbs, walking more, bicycling instead of using vehicles, using solar panels, etc. All of this information will help students/staff to live in a more sustainable manner. Secondly, the existence of this website allows students/staff to become well informed and refer to all of the information on sustainability without having to use paper. The website eliminates the need for flyers, handouts, or notebooks in which to write the information. The paperless aspect of this action adds to the overall sustainability as well.

2.1. Potential Costs

We have determined two different categories of cost for this action: Monetary and non-monetary. Implementation of this action would include a small, up-front monetary cost to print out the flyers. However, if done correctly, we hope to only print the flyers one time. Once printed these flyers can be laminated and reused over the years in order to avoid wasting paper and increasing the cost of using paper. The non-monetary costs associated with this action are more substantial. In order for this website to operate properly, a large time commitment is needed. Initially someone will need to find the relevant sustainability information and construct the website complete with the information/links to videos&articles/etc. Once the website becomes live it will need to be maintained properly and, when needed, the website will need to be updated with new information. This will require a time commitment as well (most likely from an IES staff member due to the long term nature of this task).

3. How will you implement it

In order to implement this action whoever is going to implement this action they will need to start off by creating a website. There are many of these services available online so it is not an extremely difficult task to begin. However, if the people constructing the website lack in depth technical ability the website will most likely be very basic. After the website is live on the internet, we would like the implementers to use our advertising techniques in order to raise awareness. We hope that the combination of all of these tactics will ensure that every IES student/staff member is aware of the sustainability website and the benefits that the website offers. All of the information regarding sustainability and sustainable behavior will have already been imported into the website platform. As students in new semesters implement sustainable actions these can be added to the website in order to show real life examples of IES students exhibiting sustainable behavior.

3.1. Proof of concept

Below is a free website creation service that could be used in order to construct the website. As the website is being created the information found under section 8 "Annexes" will be included. All of this information regarding sustainability will be able to be found on the sustainability website. These links include general sustainability information, videos, and sustainable actions that previous IES students have implemented.
Wix Free Website Creation

http://ssou33.wix.com/ies4sustainability

Students can look towards this website when implementing a new website. This website was designed in previous years and could be adapted to accommodate this specific actions ideas.

3.2. "Cradle to Cradle" design

For our action we hope to have little to no waste at all. The website creation and implementation should not utilize any raw materials or other resources. This should be a completely waste-free action. However, we do anticipate the use of flyers in our advertising campaign, and this step does require a "cradle to cradle" design. To be as environmentally friendly as possible we hope print our flyers out on recycled paper. This way we take what was once paper waste and turn it into a new item (our flyer). These flyers will then be laminated in order to increase the longevity of these items. We hope the laminated flyers will be used continuously from semester to semester. In an ideal situation these flyers will never be disposed of and will remain useful to IES and the promotion of the sustainability website.

3.3. Flyers

As stated above, we will use a small number of flyers as part of our advertising campaign. "To be as environmentally friendly as possible we hope print our flyers out on recycled paper. This way we take what was once paper waste and turn it into a new item (our flyer). These flyers will then be laminated in order to increase the longevity of these items." It is in this way that we hope to decrease/eliminate any waste that may be associated with our action. Other than these few flyers, we hope to implement a completely paperless action.

3.4. Incentives

When people live in a sustainable manner and genuinely care about the environment around them they will increase the overall longevity of the environment. Students will become more knowledgeable on topics of sustainability and they will know how to live a more sustainable life. This is an incentive to use our website in order to learn and participate in a globally increasing movement. Sustainability may be the key to a better future and this should provide enough of an incentive for people to participate. Also, every semester IES could select a student volunteer to be in charge of website maintenance and updating. This may be an incentive for some students because they could use this experience to learn more about electronics, websites, etc. They may even be able to put this experience on a resume for future benefit during a job search.

3.5. Relationship with the other initiatives being implemented

This website will be directly related to the other initiatives being implemented at IES. One important aspect of the website, as mentioned above, will be to post the sustainable activities of IES students. These other initiatives will be an integral part of the website because it will provide real life examples of sustainable behavior being displayed by current/previous IES students. Things such as gardens, electronic recycling, reusable water bottles, bicycle rentals, and other initiatives will be used as examples of sustainable actions. Our website is a way in which we can tie together all of the other initiatives being implemented in order to build a list of sustainable practices. It wouldn't be possible to force this action onto new students but if they could possibly carry this website on for the next several years than the amount of sustainable information on it would be extraordinary. The website iesgogreen.org had a similar idea that failed and our hope is that our website will carry on the sustainability knowledge.

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

In order for this action to be sustained when we are not here, an IES staff member will need to assume responsibility of the website. However, this particular staff member does not necessarily have to have the technical ability to maintain and update the website. Once the website is created, this IES staff member will simply need to find a student volunteer each semester who is willing to assume the responsibility of updating and maintaining the website. This task should not be an overwhelming one if the website is continually updated each semester. The design new action plans by new students would need to be added and any interesting developments in the area of sustainability should be added as well. In order for this action to work and remain usable, future IES students will need to contribute to the website.

3.7. Comparison to similar actions from previous semesters

As stated above under section 1.1, the one previous sustainable website addressed sustainable behavior. The idea of that action was to compile a list of ways to maintain a sustainable lifestyle. Our website action also implements sustainable behavior as an element, however we also included general educational information about sustainability in order to better inform those who aren't familiar enough with the concept of sustainability. This is an important aspect of our action because we believe it offers a more educational aspect that is essential for the success of sustainable actions.

4. Time sheet/Chronogram

September

  • Students examine actions and look into constructing a website
  • Sustainability information, tips on sustainable lifestyle, and previously implemented actions are researched

October

  • Student 1: Begin constructing website using free website services
  • Student 2: Compile all general information on sustainability and input onto website
  • Student 3: Compile all sustainable living tips and input onto website
  • Student 4: Compile list of previously implemented actions and input onto website
  • Whole group finalizes website

November

  • Website link is added to Moodle homepage for all IES students
  • Flyers are printed, laminated, and put up on IES bulletin boards
  • IES e-mails all students explaining the sustainability website
  • Post website to IES Facebook page

December

  • Choose IES staff member to oversee website maintenance for upcoming semesters
  • Collect flyers and return them to chosen IES staff member
  • Leave website as up to date as possible at the end of the semester

Post December

  • New students are given option about which old action they will implement
  • Students choose to carry on the website
  • In order for the website to survive it must be updated as new actions are implemented
  • Incentives will help keep the website alive

4.1. What has been done this semester

We have made a sample flyer that could be used to promote the website on the IES bulletin boards. The flyer should work sufficiently however the address of the website would need to be included in order for the flyer to be fully effective. Additionally we've laid out all of the items that need to be included on the website and the most effective way in which to do this. We have also included links and documents in the "Annexes" section that can be used to input information onto the website. These annexes provide a lot of useful information and potential sustainable actions that people can take to help the environment.
Image Sustainability Final

4.2. What needs to be done to repeat the action in the future

September 2014

  • Students examine actions and look into constructing a website
  • Sustainability information, tips on sustainable lifestyle, and previously implemented actions are researched

October 2014

  • Student 1: Begin constructing website using free website services
  • Student 2: Compile all general information on sustainability and input onto website
  • Student 3: Compile all sustainable living tips and input onto website
  • Student 4: Compile list of previously implemented actions and input onto website
  • Whole group finalizes website

November 2014

  • Website link is added to Moodle homepage for all IES students
  • Flyers are printed, laminated, and put up on IES bulletin boards
  • IES e-mails all students explaining the sustainability website
  • Post website to IES Facebook page

December 2014

  • Choose IES staff member to oversee website maintenance for upcoming semesters
  • Collect flyers and return them to chosen IES staff member
  • Leave website as up to date as possible at the end of the semester

January 2015

  • Chosen IES staff member finds a student to maintain/update the website
  • Student volunteer puts up flyers and ensures the advertising steps are taken

February 2015

  • Student volunteer updates website with new information/articles related to sustainability

March 2015

  • Student volunteer updates website with new sustainable actions implemented by current students

April 2015

  • Student volunteer returns flyers to IES staff member
  • Student volunteer leaves the website as up to date as possible

(Each semester a new student volunteer will be chosen and this volunteer will complete the same steps as the previous volunteer throughout the semester)

5. Document format

6. Bibliography

http://www.epa.gov/sustainability/basicinfo.htm
http://www.worldwatch.org/resources/go_green_save_green
http://sustainability.dartmouth.edu/purpose/what-can-i-do/live-a-more-sustainable-life
http://www.naturallyclean.com.au/sustainability.html

7. Other References

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5NiTN0chj0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5r4loXPyx8

8. Annexes

Previous group sustainability website action
Previous garden implementation
Previous reusable water bottle action
Basic sustainability information
Go green save green
Live a more sustainable life
Live Sustainably
Sustainability video #1
Sustainability overview through animation
Sustainability video #2
Sustainability explanation
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5Oo8MQZecE
Ies Sustainability Video





Page last modified on Wednesday 09 of April, 2014 19:40:26