Category: Education (Page 1 of 7)

Student volunteering story: co-creating the KEATS Sustainability and Climate Module

This guest blog post was written by student and KEATS TakeAction team member Oliver Yu Hurst.


Hello! My name is Oliver Yu Hurst and I’m in the final year of my part-time MSc Climate Change: Environment, Science and Policy at King’s. I’m a Nature-lover, passionate about transdisciplinary approaches to tackling social, environmental and multispecies justice and sustainability issues.

I had loads of spare time during the summer holidays in my first year and wanted to use it wisely. I came across the Keats Sustainability and Climate pilot module via King’s Sustainability newsletter and will never regret enrolling on this fabulous module.

Why I loved volunteering? Aside from the engaging webinars and learning about topics that don’t receive much attention (e.g., digital sustainability and the multitude of stuff King’s is doing regarding sustainability), after completing the module, I gained the opportunity to volunteer with the Sustainability team on improving it for this academic year. Working with this very welcoming team and other students, I led on the What is Sustainability, Climate Crisis, and Social Sustainability sections, contributing at least 12,000 words of content. I also gained experience in creating podcasts and organising different in-person/online events to complement the module. It was a pleasure to apply what I’ve learnt so far at KCL and my BSc Geography with Business Management (Queen Mary University of London), to diversify perspectives of sustainability because this is often framed from a Western-anthropocentric worldview.

Why should you volunteer? Making the most of extra-curricular activities on offer at King’s is one of the best ways to expand your skill/experience-set, network, and ultimately make a difference that lasts. This opportunity (and I’m sure others) also helped me feel ‘closer’ to the university, meeting/working with the staff ‘behind the scenes’ – something which I think all students should get the chance to do.

Want to volunteer, but don’t know how? Sign up to the Sustainability newsletter; browse King’s Volunteering, King’s Edge, and KCL Student Union websites; and ask classmates, teaching and/or professional services staff!


Want to learn more? You can enrol on the KEATS Sustainability & Climate module here and gain a Sustainability Award by completing it before the 8th of June.

FoDOCS students learning about the SDGs, the importance of green spaces and similarities between caring and growing

This blog post was written by Dr Flora Smyth Zahra, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Interdisciplinarity & Innovation Dental Education.


All two hundred of the new cohort of dental and hygiene therapy students at the Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences (FoDOCS) are being introduced early on to sustainable education approaches including collaborating, creative problem solving, cross-disciplinary content and critical thinking.

Within their first Clinical Humanities & Wellbeing module ‘Object Research for Beginning & Belonging’ they ‘Demonstrate through participation in all module activities a willingness to engage with new ways of looking and thinking about education and oral health care delivery with reference to the UN 2030 sustainable development goals.’ They also, ‘Relate the importance of flourishing for university learning to a commitment to life-long learning and have explored different approaches to self-care for a sustainable and healthy working life.’ (Learning outcomes taken from the Module).

As such, alongside guest speaker sessions on global oral health, cultural competency, leadership and indeed gardening and sustainability, they are also framing their learning around the SDGs and considering what they each might contribute as future change agents. Curricular time has also been given to wellbeing with students posting photographs on their KEATS discussion fora of outings across London, walking in the parks and exploring green spaces. Learning about stewardship followed by the simple activity of growing and nurturing cress seeds on their window sills and residences has struck many as a real parallel with their future roles as care givers and clinicians.

This is the first module in a yearly series of sustainable health care education over the three and five year degree programmes that is core to all undergraduate students in FoDOCS.

Vishwa's close-up picture of grass

Vishwa’s green space

Meghna's picture of sunset/sunrise by the lake

Meghna’s green space

Rita's cress picture

Rita’s cress

Nina's picture of horses

Nina’s green space

Yiran's plant growing in a bowl

Yiran’s cress

Hishaam picture of a green park

Hishaam’s green space

Hamayl's picture of information in nature

Hamayl and the Ada Salter gardens close to our Guy’s campus

We want to hear from you! Have your chance to win £500 cash 

Graphic with the text "Fancy winning £500? Complete our survey by 13th November 2022 on what you're learning and the skills you're developing and it could be you! Visit https://online.snapsurveys.com/UniSkillsSurvey" and the Students Organising for Sustainability United Kingdom logo,All students at King’s College London can be in with a chance of winning £500 by completing an online confidential survey about your time at university or college and the skills you develop for getting a job. 

The short survey, which is being run in conjunction with SOS-UK, will take about 15 minutes to complete. The closing date is 13th November 2022 and students will be entered into a draw to win £500 or one of 10 £50 runner-up prizes. 

To take part in the survey log on to https://online.snapsurveys.com/UniSkillsSurvey  

Student Review of Enrolling on and Co-Creating King’s Sustainability and Climate Change #TakeAction Module

This guest blog post was written by student and KEATS TakeAction team member Oliver Yu Hurst.


Who am I?

Hello! My name is Oliver Yu Hurst and I’m studying a part-time MSc in Climate Change: Environment, Science & Policy in the Department of Geography at King’s College London. I graduated from Queen Mary University of London in 2021 with a BSc in Geography with Business Management. I aspire to gain a career along the interface between academia and social-environmental justice working within public, social enterprise and/or non-governmental organisation (NGO) sectors.

First impressions of the pilot module?

I was pleasantly surprised to come across topics not covered in my education journey so far, which is always very refreshing! This included perception framing, digital sustainability and the various ways King’s is decarbonizing and embedding sustainability throughout its activities (with, as always, more to be done/continue doing). Seminars with professionals about, for example, the neuroscience of eco-anxiety or how to ‘bring climate change home’ by highlighting its interconnections with everyday life, are some of several events that made the module engaging.

Joining the Take Action Team

The opportunity to join the Take Action team and add/improve content, was the absolute highlight. I contributed at least 12,000 words, leading on What is Sustainability, Climate Crisis and Social Sustainability sections, whilst coming across resources to help brainstorm ideas for my MSc dissertation.

I was adamant that ‘critical lenses’ of sustainability and climate change were integrated throughout as they are often discussed/practiced through a narrow (Western, Global North) perspective. Dreaming, implementing and governing just pathways out of the climate crisis require transcending dominant narratives of development and learning/unlearning downplayed or silenced voices.

Skills & Experience Gained?

Ensuring content is understandable and accessible for all has developed my skills in science communication, adaptability, and critical thinking. I also helped organize events and create/edit audio of podcast episodes. This was a fantastic experience to interview staff from an NGO I volunteer for, the Environmental Investigation Agency. I look forward to developing public speaking skills during a Q&A event with the Collective for Climate Action (another organization I volunteer with), in February 2023 – look-out!

Greatest Challenge?

Given my passion for the topics and their infinite scope, it was difficult to avoid information-overload. Several times when I had to reflect on the bigger picture and remember key learning objectives of the module, which helped condense content. The Take Action Team’s auditing and peer-review sessions were also very useful.

Final thoughts and why you should join the module and/or Take Action team!

Joining this module will broaden your conception of sustainability and climate change and importance of understanding alternative perspectives, if we hope to transition to more just and inclusive futures for all of (non)human Nature.

The Take Action team welcomes any students, staff or alumni, to add/improve content or help with communications. You will not only gain behind-the-scenes into Keats, but also feel closer to the university by engaging with various academic and professional services staff. Finally, for anyone interested in a career in education, sustainability, climate science/action, this is an invaluable opportunity for you.


Sign up to the Sustainability & Climate Module now, launching on the 11th of October.

Sustainable education at King’s Academy Festival

This blog post was written by Tasnia Yasmin, King’s Sustainability Projects Assistant.


Image of the Sustainable Development Goal Curriculum Mapping posterThe King’s Academy Learning & Teaching Festival is an annual event which celebrates education and learning across King’s. I presented the education for sustainable development (ESD) work that the Sustainability team have been working on over this last year. This included our KEATS Sustainability & Climate module as well as our Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Curriculum mapping. These were both 2 workshops which linked to the key themes of the festival which were sustainable education as well as co-creation with students.  

Both workshops were taken very well. Many were impressed with our student co-creation model for the KEATS Sustainability & Climate module and how well we have done since its inception earlier this year (122 completed the module!). From the seminars organised alongside the module to the quizzes and interactive elements of the module; it showed everyone how broad and intersectional sustainability truly is.  

Staff feedback from the SDG Mapping session also showed that ESD is something that they are wanting to actively incorporate into teaching and learning within modules and the faculty. As a team we are actively looking for opportunities to help staff and students embed sustainability into their module; it’s not something that sits separately but needs to be weaved into everything. Everything can be tied to sustainability whether it is social justice, the climate crisis or looking at circular economies.  

This was followed by an in-person day with poster presentations and further workshops. I presented the key findings of the SDG Mapping which included how colleagues could look at working in ESD to their own teaching as well as wider commitments from the college. It was great seeing everyone and  being able to network with colleagues who wanted to work together to further sustainability and inclusivity.  

All this work furthers on from a previous ESD report that we did in 2014 and we have seen and made progress since then. Many students themselves have led societies with specific sustainable education areas and colleagues have been including sustainability within their curricula from English to Dentistry. We are hoping we can connect and work with more students and staff to help them embed and develop sustainability within learning.  

Listen to the second series of the King’s Spotlight on Sustainability podcast

The full second series of the King’s Spotlight on Sustainability podcast is now live! This podcast aims to draw attention to sustainability at King’s and beyond. The goal is to get you thinking about some of the issues and challenges we face regarding climate change and the natural world by highlighting some of the excellent work surrounding sustainability happening at King’s and on a local, national and global level.  

Series 2 focuses on building sustainable communities, with the following episodes:

  • Episode 1: How can universities be more inclusive to migrants? With Ria Patel
  • Episode 2: Why does Equality, Diversity and Inclusion matter? With Sarah Guerra
  • Episode 3: What is the Climate Action Network? With Maria Rabanser
  • Episode 4. What is decolonisation and why is it important? With Dr Ricardo Twumasi
  • Episode 5. How can you take action to build and empower sustainable communities? With Abigail Oyedele 

Listen now.  

New series of climate education conversations

This blog post was adapted from this King’s news article.


Science education researchers from King’s and the University of York have partnered to launch a new series of online workshops bringing together teachers, teacher educators, young people and researchers to discuss climate change and sustainability education. There will be four workshops in total and the first one on 30 March will focus on Climate Conversation Big Questions.

This initiative builds on the BERA Manifesto for Education for Environmental Sustainability, to which teachers, teacher educators and youth contributed in 2021.  Among their concerns, they identified the need to have greater opportunities to explore ideas on climate education with others.

These virtual discussions will offer a supportive space where young people (16 years +), teachers, teacher educators, educators and researchers can share ideas and perspectives focused on some of the key topics in climate change and sustainability education, thus learning from each other as individuals as well as networks.

Programme:

Register now to join the climate education conversations.

Sustainability Month 2022: a true celebration

What a month! Throughout February, we welcomed hundreds of people to more than 20 social and educational events focused on taking action around the Sustainable Development Goals. Organised by students, staff members, and alumni from across disciplines, this month was a true celebration of the breadth of sustainability and the King’s community’s involvement in it.

We learned to reflect on our stories in the climate and nature crisis and got inspired to take action in the events on volunteering, recycled glass, plant-based diets, and greener ways to grow your veg. We learned how we might address the climate crisis from a policy perspective, what digital start-ups can do to advance the SDGs, and what some of the main inequality issues are in South Korea. The interconnectedness of environmental and social sustainability was highlighted during the panel for climate justice and the event on the climate crisis and refugees, and we learned how we might go about translating that into education. The Shots for Hope exhibition and the Visions for the Future workshop series helped us to stay hopeful in the face of the climate crisis.

The month brought people together socially in events such as the sustainability quiz night, stitch and pitch, and the show the love campaign, as well as professionally in the interdisciplinary sustainability research forum and the London Student Sustainability Conference. The events on careers in sustainability helped students explore the breadth of what this means for their future.

If you missed an event, you can find the event recordings here. Not all recordings have been uploaded yet, but we aim to do so as soon as possible. We will also be posting event summaries and reflections on our blog over the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for those. If you have any feedback you would like to share, please fill out this feedback form. If you would like to write a blog post on an event you organised or attended, feel free to get in touch.

A welcome from Katie Gard, King’s Climate Education Assistant

Photo of KatieHello!

I’ve recently joined King’s Sustainability Team as their Climate Education Assistant, and I’m really excited to have taken on this new role. Part of my responsibilities includes developing educational resources which can facilitate climate engagement, including the KEATS Module Seminar Series and our Vision for the Future workshops, which will take place in 2022.

Prior to working at King’s, I taught in multiple international schools and most recently worked as an Academic English Tutor at the University of Exeter. I also volunteer within the Child’s Rights sector, in which climate change is becoming an increasingly urgent part of the conversation. My work experience has allowed me to meet so many people across the world and taught me that addressing climate change effectively is dependent on the needs of different individuals, societies, and communities. It has also shown me that there are many perspectives on how we can address climate change, which I hope means that there are many solutions, too.

During the pandemic, I decided to change my career and am now studying Social Sciences at King’s. It’s great to be part of the sustainability initiative at my own university. Given that I’m studying Social Sciences, I’m mostly focused on the societal aspects of sustainability, an example of which is climate justice. I believe that climate initiatives must also consider, and strive to mitigate, the degree to which climate change will further exacerbate social inequalities. I believe that ensuring equity shouldn’t only occur when addressing the negative impact of climate change but should also be enacted within any potential solutions. One of my personal aims within this new role is to ensure that social sustainability is central when discussing climate.

I look forward to meeting many people across the King’s community as we work to make the university more sustainable.

Sustainable education at King’s: what’s new?

What is King’s doing to strengthen sustainable education? Find out about three key projects we are working on at the moment below.

KEATS Sustainability Module

King’s Sustainability has launched an online, open-access, interdisciplinary KEATS sustainability module, aiming to offer everyone, no matter their field, a broad understanding of sustainability.  The module is being put together by a team of incredible students, staff and King’s alumni. This year will still be a pilot, but with the involvement and support of this year’s enrolled students, we hope to officially launch it as a finalised module in the new academic year. This pilot year, we have been releasing a new content section every two weeks.

So far, content on “what is sustainability”, the climate crisis, and sustainable food are live. There is also a section with tips on how to take action and an overview of our favourite sustainability resources. The contents include engaging short videos, text, and padlets to encourage discussions. There is also a short quiz at the end of each section to test participants’ knowledge, and evaluation forms to continue to shape the module according to people’s feedback.

Boost your knowledge of sustainability and help shape sustainable education at King’s by enrolling via this link By signing up, you will test the sustainability module and shape it with your feedback and ideas.   

Sustainability Seminar Series

Alongside this module, we have been hosting a Sustainability Seminar Series which is running throughout the academic year covering some of the biggest topics in sustainability. It offers the entire King’s community an opportunity to learn more about climate science, justice, sustainable agriculture and much more from seminal speakers in the field. Through these monthly 90-minute sessions, participants get the opportunity to fully engage with the subject in the breakout room discussions and Q&As with the speaker. The series aims to be interactive, empowering and motivate everyone to take action!

The first seminar featured climate expert Dr George Adamson on Bringing Climate Change Home. He discussed how we can address climate change at the scale of the everyday by understanding climate change as an interaction between place, personal history, daily life, culture and values. You can watch the lecture hereThe second seminar focused on climate, perception framing, and culture. We were joined by Dr Joachim Aufderheide from the Philosophy Department who helped us think critically about the concept of sustainability, understand how different disciplines tend towards different conceptions of sustainability, and consider moral issues around sustainability. You can watch the recording here 

The next seminar on the 25th of January 2.00-3.30 PM will focus on “Rethinking the Economy for a Sustainable Future”. We will host a very special panel with experts Enrich Sahan (Business & Enterprise Lead at the Doughnut Economics Action Lab), Julia Steinberger (Professor of Ecological Economics at the University of Lausanne), and Vincent Liegey (spokesperson for the French degrowth movement). Save the date to make sure you do not miss out on this special session.  

Sign up for the series here.

SDG Curriculum Mapping

We are also very excited to have embarked on a new journey: mapping out all modules at King’s alongside the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). All students and staff can sign up as volunteers to support this project. It is a great opportunity to find out where environmental and social sustainability currently sits within the curriculum at King’s while building key skills such as auditing, research, and analysing data. 

The first training session led by SOS-UK took place on 13th December, where participants were trained to do a guided audit across programmes and modules and equip them with the knowledge and skills needed to do the mapping. The full volunteer description is available here. 

Register your interest here.

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