Creating a Brighter Future: Sustainability at McGill

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Have students approached you looking for ways to get involved with sustainability at McGill? Are you wondering how to empower them to create change now and in the years to come? With the launch of a new self-access, self-paced myCourses module, students can develop their understanding of sustainability and its role at McGill, regardless of their field of study.

Creating a Brighter Future: Sustainability at McGill offers a crash course on the concept of sustainability and outlines ways students can incorporate sustainability into their time at McGill. It’s packed with resources so students can dive deeper into the topics that interest them.

McGill Sustainability Manager Krista Houser and Sustainability Officer Jessica Latus have led the development of this module. Working closely with Jasmine Parent, a Learning Technology Consultant at Teaching and Learning Services, the team created an engaging, interactive module with videos, learning activities, and knowledge checks.

This new module is an opportunity for students to learn how they can more intentionally integrate sustainability into their education, both formally and informally. One of the main components of the module is a section titled “Ways to Get Involved,” where students are introduced to ways they can contribute to a more sustainable future through relevant courses and research, as well as student groups, volunteer opportunities, and other initiatives. In essence, the module is designed to be a steppingstone for students on a path to deeper engagement with sustainability during their studies at McGill. 

Whether students are looking for an introduction to the topic, a more interdisciplinary understanding of sustainability, or a launch pad for their involvement on campus, this module is an invaluable starting point that offers plenty of opportunities for reflection. The hope is that students come away more confident in their understanding of sustainability and the ways they can get involved at McGill. Perhaps more importantly, students will feel empowered to incorporate sustainability into their lives and spark change in their communities, regardless of their field of study.

In a previous blog post, we talked about sustainability in the curriculum. While not a formal part of the curriculum, this module is a complementary resource that can serve as an entry point for students who want sustainability to play a bigger role in their learning experience. The module provides foundational information ranging from traditional ecological knowledge to how the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals can serve as a framework for change.

Additionally, the module can be a great tool for instructors to use in their own courses. At the Office of Sustainability, we have already heard from some instructors who plan to make the module a required assignment for their courses to kickstart discussions about sustainability and provide context for how McGill approaches the topic. We also encourage instructors to use excerpts from the module to enhance their existing lessons. For example, the module includes a detailed, McGill-based case study on sustainability in the food system, which faculty could incorporate into lectures or assignments about agriculture, supply chains, systems thinking, and more. We look forward to seeing how faculty members make the module work for them, and we would be happy to discuss how to best leverage the module and its resources.

Creating a Brighter Future: Sustainability at McGill is available in myCourses to all students and instructors, and takes approximately 45 minutes to complete.

Image credit: Monica Allaby

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