The ‘Sustainability in Practice’ module was launched to third-year undergraduates and postgraduate students in September 2020, led by Dr. Emma Tebbs and Dr. Helen Adams from the Department of Geography. Following its big success, it ran for the second time in September 2022 led by Dr Emma Tebbs and Dr Rowan Gard.
The module uses an interdisciplinary approach to help students learn how they can combine their knowledge to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through problem-based learning and a ‘Living Lab’ approach, students address challenges around sustainability at King’s and are encouraged to reflect on sustainability as a concept along with broader global sustainability issues. The students interacted with the Sustainability Team at King’s as well as other King’s entities and partners such as Transport for London and the Westminster City Council on sustainability-themed projects. Nicola Hogan, the Sustainability Manager for Operations at King’s, was heavily involved as a Project Host.
Projects from the 2022/23 academic year included the following:
- The benefits of street trees on pedestrian shading and cooling
- What vegetation/tree species/provenance should we plant on our network – with consideration for climate change
- Expansion of biodiversity action plan- New garden impacts
- Promotion of active travel at stakeholder universities (KCL, LSE and Westminster University) at the Strand/Aldwych as an aid to tackling air pollution
- Delivering maximum biodiversity impacts at the Strand Aldwych site through strategic urban greening to provide shading and mitigate the effects of urban heating
- Making the King’s online procurement catalogue more sustainable
- Sustainable travel at King’s post-covid
- Impact of extreme weather on travel for vulnerable groups
- Reducing the carbon footprint of food at King’s
- Urban Greenery in the Strand and Aldwych area as a means of reducing urban heat islands and urban air pollution
Students presented their project findings to the project hosts and developed a report outlining their proposed solution.
Student feedback on the module has been positive, with students agreeing particularly that the module helped develop their understanding and reflection on practical solutions for sustainability, knowledge of sustainability and the UN SDGs, critical perspectives on sustainability, and more practical skills like teamwork and interdisciplinary working.