Complete campus engagement via embedding ecological footprinting curriculum

Richard Howitt, Sara Rickards

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


    A central sustainability goal in the tertiary sector is to equip and engage current and future generations with an understanding of interdependencies between individuals, society, environment and the economy, and to enable students to apply this understanding to their own decision-making in a resource constrained world. The Ecological Footprint has emerged as the world’s premier measure of humanity’s demand on nature. This approach provides an understanding of how much supply is available, how much is used and who uses what. In order to investigate environmental educational outcomes, a four stage (Year 1, 2, 3 and alumni) two-tiered learning strategy has been developed. The first tier engages students in a personal Ecological Footprint assessment at commencement, which is repeated at intervals through the degree and into Alumni. The second tier will engage students with a Campus Ecological Footprint analysis whereby students evaluate a Faculty’s base-case and make recommendations to reduce the impact of Faculty operations. This exercise will assist Macquarie University’s future planning for a more sustainable campus. The research hypothesis is that this pedagogical intervention will increase the students’ likelihood of taking conscious and deliberate actions to mitigate the ecological impact of their personal and business activities and show a permanent shift to this type of behaviour. This paper presents the methodological approach, examples of the program’s design and promising early stage results. Evaluation of outcomes will continue and provides the opportunity for a unique longitudinal study of how such curriculum supports students to contribute to the one planet goal.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 13th International Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS) Conference, Sydney, Australia
    Place of PublicationNathan, QLD
    PublisherAustralasian Campuses Towards Sustainability
    Number of pages16
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    EventInternational Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS) Conference (13th : 2013) - Sydney
    Duration: 25 Sept 201327 Sept 2013


    ConferenceInternational Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS) Conference (13th : 2013)


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