Sustainability Education (Langley Altman and Maggie Rees)

1. Sustainability Orientation and Continuing Education (Langley Altman and Maggie Rees)

1.1. What

This action will introduce the concept of sustainability to IES Abroad Barcelona students during the orientation period. On one of the desingated orientation days the professor will present a lesson on sustainability. As a part of the presentation, students are given the option to sign a pledge where they intend to incorporate the knowledge they learned in the presentation throughout the semester. In return for pledgeing to be more sustainable the students will receive a water bottle to serve as a reminder of their commitment. Also at the conclusion of the presentation students are givent the option to go on a Green Tour of Barcelona, in hopes of gaining even more knowledge about how the city of Barcelona practices sustainable efforts.text

Link to PowerPoint Presentation for orientation session:
[tiki-download_file.php?fileId=254|action powerpoint.pptx]

1.1.1. Similar actions form previous semesters

"Barcelona Day of Service." IES Sustainability: Challenges and Responses. N.p., n.d. Web.<http://sustainability.seeds4c.org/Day of Service Barcelona&structure=2011a Spring Actions>.

"Providing Water Bottles for IES Students." IES Sustainability: Challenges and Responses. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://sustainability.seeds4c.org/Providing water bottles for all IES students - Solomon Continued Action&structure=2011a Spring Actions>.

"IES Sustainability Class Facebook." IES Sustainability: Challenges and Responses. N.p., n.d.b.<http://sustainability.seeds4c.org/IES Sustainability Class Facebook Page&structure=2011a Spring Actions>.

1.1.2. SWOT Analysis


  • Increases sustainability knowledge of the entire IES body
  • Allows more students to contribute to sustainability in IES
  • Continues sustainability education throughout the semester and into all aspects of daily life
  • Educates on sustainability in Barcelona and displays Barcelona's efforts

  • May not be of interest to all students
  • Willingness of faculty and staff for contributions is unsure
  • Potential expenses for adding to the orientation program and Student Agenda
  • Program encourages students to take it upon themselves to take action

  • Enhances sustainability education throughout the IES community
  • Possiblilites of more contributions to sustainability club, through education and know-how
  • Students are more likely to live sustainabily in Barcelona
  • Knowledge will be brought back to the home country of the students, for continuation of sustainable living at home

  • Faculty and staff could be unwilling to teach or be taught sustainability education
  • Students could take no interest in the subject matter
  • Students may not contribute to orientation learning
  • Possible lack of inplementation by students, faculty, and staff following educational components

1.1.3. Feedback loops

The ideal feedback loop for this action is a balancing loop. A balancing loop consists of reaching a different conclusion from the original idea. Starting the feedback loop with sustainbility education during IES orientation encourages a balancing loop ending at a conclusion that contained IES students and the center alike becoming more sustainable over the course of the semester. Other conclusions reached through this action with a feedback loop are that students ultimately gain more knowledge as a result of sustainability education and therefore, lead more sustainable lives once they leave IES. If the loop for this action ended up being a reinforcing loop then it would show that students did not retain much information from the sustainability orientation session and they continued about their semester without taking sustainable actions into account. However, a balancing loop is more likely.

1.1.4. Advertising

This action is advertised first during orientation (the first week during the students' stay), followed by a continuing education advertisement. Sustainability education begins during orientation; this is the initial educational component of the action. Then, for continuing education and advertising the action further, a page has been contructed for placement in the Student Academic Agenda. This advertises sustainability efforts throughout IES, ways to contribute to sustainability, as well as how Barcelona is contributing to sustainability. The page in the Student Agenda is also used to advertise the other actions by students in Sustainability: Challenges and responses, allowing for further education, implementation of sustainable actions, and green living while abroad.

Link to agenda page above

1.2. Why this action makes things more sustainable?

This action makes IES Abroad Barcelona more sustainable because it actually teaches students what sustainability is. Introducing the concept of sustainability during orientation significantly changes the attitudes of some students who did not have any previously knowledge of sustainability prior to orientation. Those students interested in environmentalism and sustainable efforts might not know about the presence of those two concepts in Europe, and particularly, Barcelona. Going on a "Green Tour" of Barcelona helps students get involved in outside activites that are not only beneficial to them, but also the environment. Teaching students about sustainability at the beginning of the semester changes their habits from the start; such as buying a new waterbottle everytime they were thirsty. Instead when students are given this sustainability education they are more likely to invest in a reusable waterbottle that they would just fill up throughout the semester. Students will also be provided with a reusable waterbottle after signing a pledge to live sustainably. Sustainability education reduces IES students' dependence on plastic and it could reduce the waste produced by the IES Center. This may only reduce the IES Center's carbon footprint by a little at first, but as sustainability education is incorporated in many future semesters the results point to a significant increase in IES Abroad's sustainable efforts as a whole.

1.2.1. Potential Benefits

The intial component of the action creates benefits for the rest of the semester, and ultimately beyond the semester abroad. Beginning education at the start of the semester allows students, faculty, and staff to understand the topic of sustainability and how to implement sustainability into a lifestyle from the moment they arrive in Barcelona. Starting education early will make students aware of the importance of sustainability throughout the entire semester. Also, aknowledging the sustainability efforts that the city of Barcelona has implemented allows student awareness and ultimately sustainabile living in Barcelona. Following the intial education, the continuing education component of this action is beneficial to remind sudents of the importance of sustainability thorughout their time abroad. This component of the action is highly important, as it enhances the students knowledge, beyond the primary education provided in orientation. Extended education keeps the momentum of a sustainable lifetsyle throughout the semester. A potential benefit is that students will take the knowledge learned back to their home country to implement sustainable habits at home and throughout their respective Universities.

1.2.2. Potential Costs

The water bottles will be a monetary costs for this action, but IES will include the cost of the waterbottle in student's tuition fees. Also the Terra Foundation and Fabrica del Sol have agreed to work with IES upon the next semester to decide a group rate for students wishing to participate in the tour. Depending on the number of students that sign up will determine the price of the tour to IES and students alike. There will be time costs to professors who have to learn what they are to be teaching in the sustainability orientation session. It would take less than an day of their time to learn and be able to have enough knowledge to answer questions for the students about sustainability.

1.2.3. "Cradle to Cradle" design

Sustainability education does not generate any waste. When sustainable advice pages are put into the student agendas for next semester then the only waste would be from a student losing the agenda or them ultimately throwing it away. Cradle to Cradle design does not necessarily coincide with this action because it is more about teaching and then the individuals taking what they have learned and applying it to their semester at IES Barcelona. Any waste generated from this action, the student will understand the concept of cradle to cradle as a result of the sustainability education introduced during orientation week.

1.2.4. Questions for the unified survey

What is your current knowledge of sustainability?
Would students be interested in going on a "green tour" of Barcelona in order to gain more knowledge of sustainability efforts in Barcelona?
Would faculty be willing to implement a sustainability section into the orientation curriculum?
Would you be interested in learning about how to live sustainabily abroad?
If so, following the educational component, would you be likely to implement sustainability practices into daily life abroad?

1.2.5. Analysis of the results in the survey

Survey results have not yet been calculated.

1.2.6. Incentives

Initially, the orientation education component of the action is mandatory. It is essential that students recieve a brief understanding of the concept of sustainability as well as important sustainable practices in a daily routine. Following this mandatory education, there are incentives to implement the conepts learned. An incentive to go on the "Green Tour" of Barcelona is to see and tour the city for free. During the first few weeks in the city, students want to take all advantages of seeing Barcelona. A free tour is beneficial to see Barcelona, learn "green" facts, and continue sustainability education. Other incentives include providing free water bottles for a pledge to live sustainably abroad. Signing a pledge increases awareness and is a strong reminder of the importance of sustainability. If the pledge is signed, providing a free water bottle gives students their own first step toward a sustainable habit (eliminating plastic water bottles) and also educates students that the water fountains in IES are more sustainable, and practical for use than plastic water bottles.

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

The Sustainbility Club will be in charge of continuing the action throughout the semester. Those students interested in joining the Sustainability Club will make sure activities of the club will be advertised on the IES Facebook page and also around the IES Center. The Sustainability Club can choose to organize more events pertaining to continuing this action as they see fit.

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

After the inital orientation lesson plan is set and implemented, the curriculum does not need much change in the long-term. Obviously, environmental issues, policies, and facts are changing at a rapid pace every year; however, the overall sustainable practices used by IES students abroad are long-term habitual changes and very general facts and knowledge. As this is only a primary lesson on environmental sustainability, the lesson plans need little assistance following our departure from Barcelona. Also, the sustainability page in the Student Agenda has been written before hand and will need little assistance following the initial writing. Other activities such as the Barcelona Green Tour, etc. require more depth reinforcement after we leave. The Barcelona Green Tour has a set route, script, and guidelines; however, the person guiding the tour may vary semester to semester, based on interest in the field and knowledge of the matter. It has not yet been decided who will lead the tour. Possibilities include students, faculty, staff, volunteers, etc. Volunteers and faculty are more permanent positions, meaning a more sustained future for the project.

1.2.9. Who will do what

Maggie and Langley have worked mostly together on all aspects of this action. Additional work will be completed by the IES Sustainability Club. It mostly takes place within IES and only needs the cooperation of the orientation directors and other people in charge of the center. Together, both members of the group have created a page to go in the student agenda that gives tips on how to be sustainable while studying abroad in Barcelona. IES professors will lead the "Green Tour" at the beginning of the semester. Maggie and Langley both have access to the Action Page and will continue to edit it in their own time.

1.2.10. Comparison to similar actions form previous semesters

_Barcelona Day of Service__
This action will be included in a number of optional activities stated on our Action Page. A day of service helps students continue their education on sustainability in Barcelona. This is only a small part of the action. As a means of continuing education, this is helpful for students, but the most integral aspect of the action is the inital education component.

Providing Waterbottles for all IES Students
This previous action conincides with introducing the concept of sustainability during orientation. Providing water bottles encourages students to not by plastic ones and educate the importance of reusing materials. This is also only one aspect of the action. By signing a pledge to live sustainably, the students will recieve a free water bottle. The pledge is a necessary part of this action, as it encourages a sustainable lifestyle. The free water bottle also works as an incentive for students to continue their sustianblility education.

Creating an IES Abroad Barcelona Facebook Page
This previous action updates students on sustainable initiatives in Barcelona, therefore, continuing their sustainability education introduced during orientation.
Clearly indicate in which aspects your action is different to each other similar action from previous semesters.

1.2.11. Document format

If you produced some documents to support your action, did you choose some document format which can be edited with multiplatform FLOSS tools without loosing the layout? [Multiplatform = at least, the main three O.S.: GNU/Linux, Mac OSX & MS Windows]. For instance, for word documents, .odt or similar (odf) is better choice than MS Word .doc/.docx documents, since odt/odf are standards format for office documents recognized internationally by the ISO (ISO/IEC 26300:2006), and editable by OpenOffice, among others (or MS Office with a Plugin). Or for images: .svg for vectorial graphics (editable by Inkscape), or .xcf for bitmaps (editable by GIMP), etc.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

1.3. Time-sheet / Chronogram

The timing of this action is to take place at the beginning of each semester at IES Abroad Barcelona. Because the sustainability education course takes place during orientation, the events are planned before the students arrive. If students become interested during the session on sustainability they will most likely take part in the Green Tour of Barcelona, which is to take place within the first took weeks of the semester. After the Green Tour it is up to the students still interested in sustainability abroad to continue their education alone or continue to participate in days of service or reorganize the Sustainability Club. Students enrolled in the Sustainability: Challenges and Responses course have the option to continue and modify this action. They will need to take what they learned at the beginning of the semester and adjust it as they see fit for the semester upon their departure. It is important that plans are in place for the upcoming semester because once the next group of students arrive, there is little time left to modify the program.

1.4. Annexes


This is a link to the page that will be inserted into the student agendas for the small semester. This page can be modified in the future if the Green Tour of Barcelona is to be changed or if the advice on sustainability is to be changed.

1.5. Students involved in this action

Maggie Rees and Langley Altman both contributed to this action equally. They will continue to work on the action until they leave Barcelona.

Sustainability education during orientation and continuing education throughout semester (i.e. water bottle collection, etc.)
Advertising ways for students to continue sustainable practices throughout the semester.

Page last modified on Monday 03 of November, 2014 19:16:16