1. Sustainability Newsletter for IES Barcelona Professors
This action would entail sending out a monthly, one page newsletter to professors of IES Barcelona with reminders and tips related to improving sustainability in the classroom, a few facts and figures related to classroom waste, energy use, etc., and in the future, information about The IES Barcelona Sustainability Club (news, upcoming, events, etc.)
This action is designed to create a change in attitudes. By reminding teachers to use more sustainable practices in the classroom and giving them tips on how to do so, it is possible that they will start to think about sustainability on a daily basis. Hopefully those who are not already aware, will become more informed about how easy it is to create small, sustainable changes. Often all it takes is a simple reminder that classroom practices have a huge effect on the sustainability of the IES center on the whole, and teachers have a lot of power over these practices.
Also, if teachers start to think about sustainability in the classroom, it is likely that they will also consider making changes in their lives outside of school. Then our newsletter would be helping to enact a change in attitudes that would have an impact on the whole city, not just IES Abroad Barcelona.
The newsletter reminders, which will come once a month, will hopefully enact change that is resilient and long term. Because these suggested changes are designed to be easy, they are most likely to carry over into the long term. If it's not any harder to act sustainably than it is to act unsustainably, then there is no excuse for not adopting sustainable practices.
The newsletter will go out to teachers, but will include a request to teachers to remind their students to make an effort to make sustainable changes. For example, perhaps teachers can suggest that students bring laptops to class instead of requesting that students print out readings not included in the course reader. Also, for field studies, teachers can supply students with instructions on how to walk to the destinations or offer them metro directions. This will hopefully deter students from taking taxis, and encourage them to use public transportation or walk.
Future newsletters will include a number of reminders and hints, for example, how to access free software and make it available to students. Also, they can include information about our school's ecological footprint, i.e. what is an ecological footprint? How can you calculate it? How can you change it?
Our newsletter includes information about how to reduce waste by reusing classroom tools like whiteboard markers; how to reduce the ecological footprint of this building by reducing power useage; how to make our "waste into food" by reusing things like printed handouts, and therefore reduce our dependency on paper as well as energy.
1.2.1. Potential Benefits
This action could make significant advances towards improving the sustainability of IES Barcelona. Professors could do many small and simple things to reduce waste, for example, refilling whiteboard markers instead of throwing them away. Once these practices are implemented, they can easily become habit, and if our action helps to change the long-term habits of professors, we are improving the long-term sustainability of IES Barcelona. But the idea to change habits must come from somewhere, and a short and friendly newsletter with a few tips is a great way to get the word out about how simple and easy it is to make sustainable habits.
Also, if professors start some sustainable habits, it will probably save IES some money in the long-term. Reducing waste in small amounts means less unnecessary purchasing of new goods.
1.2.2. Potential Costs
There will be a few costs related to implementing this action in the long term. First, it will require someone´s time to type up the newsletter every month. This will be done by the secretary of the IES Sustainability Club. He/She will take notes at the Club meetings and hopefully include a small section in each letter about what is happening in the club. Also, it will require someone´s time to research sustainability practices and brainstorm what needs to be changed in the classroom and how to communicate this to professors.
The time required to type up this newsletter will not be too much to ask of a secretary in the Sustainability club because it only needs to be typed up once during the month, and the newsletter itself need not be more than one page. If the newsletter were any longer or if it arrived in inboxes more frequently, it may lose the interest of it´s readers. Also, if the secretary of the club is too busy, he/she could easily divide the task amongst multiple students in the Sustainability Club in exchange for EcoEuros. (5 EcoEuros will be given for each publication of the letter, to whoever types it up and sends it out.) The next students working on the letter could even use our letter as a template, and simply update the information without having to totally redesign the format of the letter. This would save time and energy.
Hopefully in the future it will be possible to create a Sustainability Club email account so that students in the club can send out the newsletter themselves and another person from administration will not have to be involved and relied upon to distribute the letter. (We asked Cesar if it would be possible to set up a Sustainability Club email account but never heard back from him).
Because the newsletter will be distributed by email and not printed, and students from the club will be in charge of writing it, there will be no monetary costs (aside from EcoEuros). This is good news for the resiliance of the action; it is more likely to be continued if it can be continued at no cost.
First, we contacted IES Faculty Affairs to obtain the master list of professor's email addresses. These will be the recipients of the newsletter. Next, we contacted Cesar, the head of IES Barcelona, to find out if an email account could be setup for the Sustainability Club, and then this address could be used to distribute our newsletter. Jane Ewart also offered to distribute the approved newsletter to all the professors for us. Since we never heard back from Cesar, Jane will send out the newsletter this month, but hopefully in the future the club will be able to do this themselves. Next, we began brainstorming ideas about how IES professors could improve sustainability in the classroom. We also did some online research about how to improve sustainability in the classroom. Of all the ideas to improve sustainability, we chose just 6 to focus on in the first newsletter, so not to overwhelm the reader. We also chose to include a few facts and figures about waste in schools to make the sustainability tips seem more relevant and important. The next step was to assemble the newsletter. Finally, we sent it to Jane Ewart and she will distribute it to all the professors.
Ideally, in the future, the secretary of the Sustainability Club will send out a one page newsletter at the beginning of each month. He/she can use our letter as a template. He/she should include 5 or 6 tips on how to improve sustainability in the classroom (relatively short, simple, and easily implemented suggestions that imply to almost all teachers), and he/she can come up with these by either doing some online research or taking note of things going on in the classroom and then thinking up solutions to improve sustainability. Also, they can include a few facts and statistics, as we have done, about the state of waste, energy use, pollution, etc. in schools around the world, being sure to cite their sources. This will create another section of interest on the newsletter, help to make it more visually interesting, and help to get readers interested in improving sustainability. Also, he/she should include a small new section on the letter based on the notes that they would have taken in the most recent Sustainability Club meeting. They should include news, upcoming events, changes going on within the club, how to get involved, etc. This will keep teachers informed about what the Club is all about, and perhaps teachers will be interested in the goings-on of the Club and they will encourage students to join. Also, the Club could probably use some occasional help from teachers, and this would be a good way to reach out to them.
A suggestion for the next newsletter (we wanted to include these but thought it would make the letter too cluttered--we were trying to keep it relatively simple and not overwhelming, especially for the first edition): inform teachers about how to access free software, why we should use free software, and a reminder to teachers to share that information with their students. Also, what is the school's ecological footprint? How can you reduce it? (Add a link to an ecological footprint calculator). Also, a link to the Sustainability Club promo video should be included into the first newsletter of next semester so that professor can see the video, learn a little bit more about IES Barcelona's new club, and hopefully encourage students to watch the video.
Each newsletter that is written and sent out will be worth 5 EcoEuros, and this will either go right to the secretary, if they were the one who created the newsletter, or the currency can be split up amongst the students that worked on the letter (if the secretary delegated it to someone else.)
Ideally, there would also be a newsletter sent out to all IES Barcelona apartment RA's with tips about improving sustainability in student housing (creating separate trash bins for different types of recycling, encouraging students to turn off lights when they're not in use or encouraging students to take short showers, etc.). Because of time constraints, we weren't able to implement this second newsletter this semester, but perhaps in the next semester the Club secretary could delegate this job to someone in exchange for EcoEuros. Or perhaps, this letter can be made and sent out in the next two week before our departure to the US.
This action was not included in last years actions, so we started this action from scratch.
1.4. References & Links
These websites can be referenced by future producers of the newsletter for more facts and figures about pollution, waste, energy use, etc. to add to future letters.
1.5. Students involved in this action
Caroline Elling (leader)
Assignment: Peer review form
Grades for this action report (From the PROFESSOR)