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09 June 2023

Switzerland

University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons (FHGR)

University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons (FHGR)

One of the SDG integration Challenges

An example of embedding a specific SDG / or the overall challenge of the SDGs in the content of a module/project

The Action

‘Easily Sustainable’ (Easy Nachhaltig) is a platform which brings together articles and contributions on the topic of sustainability in different disciplines on one centralised website. As a part of the module ‘Media Relations’ for second-semester Multimedia Production students, students are responsible for curating and maintaining the platform, as well as driving content as a part of their semester project. The platform addresses the public with everyday tips and resources to strive towards a more sustainable world, such as by switching to a mostly plant-based diet, producing less waste, or planning the next holiday to be in Switzerland rather than abroad. The project itself was concepted by an individual faculty member, Ines Jansky, in an effort to introduce sustainability into a typically orthodox module, and has been running successfully every spring semester since 2019.

The module itself is structured as a mock newsroom, with the students taking on the different roles and functions of an editorial team. Through the module, the students learn the ins and outs of producing content for different types of media, including the Easily Sustainable platform, whilst having a sustainability-driven focus to the content. Guest lecturers from industry and academia, as well as partners, most notably from WWF and the scnat (Swiss Academy of Sciences), offer their support and inputs throughout the semester which students can report on.

The Easily Sustainable platform showcasing the student's work can be found here: https://easynachhaltig.ch/

The Outcome and Impact

Throughout the module, students learn how to build their own editorial, as well as the responsibilities associated with this. The students also learn the implementation process for creating content for different social media and news channels.

The platform Easily Sustainable in particular forces students to be confronted intensely with topics related to the 17 SDGs and their sub-goals. Multimedia producers are an important contact point when it comes to presenting complex topics to a broader audience. In an educational environment, the Easily Sustainable semester project allows students to apply what they have learnt in the course of their degree programme, to effectively communicate sustainability-related topics to the public in various forms, whether through creating explanatory videos, animated graphics, audio (podcast, audio book) or a comprehensibly illustrated brochure. The freedom was also given to students to explore their creativity and upload creative works of personal choice to the platform. By having an almost unlimited creative scope, students were able to experiment with ideas that were ‘outside the box’.

From the perspective of partners such as the WWF and the scnat (Swiss Academy of Sciences, they have the opportunity to work with multimedia professionals of the future, receive a new outlook through having the students’ perspective, and thereby attracting new target groups.

The results, outputs and impact of the Easily Sustainable project was additionally presented by a student at the Bürgenstock Conference 2022 in Luzern, Switzerland. This helped to showcase and discuss the work done to other HEIs and business schools in Switzerland.

Lesson Learned: issues / challenges when introducing the innovation, and how to resolve them

The programme is constantly evolving in response to student feedback. For instance, the Easily Sustainable semester project was initially part of the ‘Corporate Communications’ module for fourth semester students. It was later integrated into the ‘Media Relations’ module to better reflect the design, nature and overall student learnings from the project.

Student satisfaction surveys at the end of the semester showed that students enjoyed the semester project, found it motivating and felt it beneficial to their future careers. However, the survey also raised the question of the workload, stating that this was rather high for a 2 ECTS module. The lecturers have acknowledged the student’s concerns about the workload, and efforts are being made to resolve this issue. For instance, trials have been made to see if it is possible to combine the project among several modules so that the load is more evenly distributed.

Resources in Need to Adopt or Adapt this Approach

Aside from the teaching and planning hours, partnerships were a vital resource for the success of Easily Sustainable. Partners with NGOs such as WWF, as well as academic guest lecturers from other disciplines such as the Tourism Institute, provided valuable inputs for the students in terms of sustainability challenges and content to report on.

Short, medium, and/or long term Goals

In the short term, the Easily Sustainable semester project will continue to be rolled out to Multimedia Production students. However, efforts are still being made to combine the semester project with other subjects to address the concerns of students about the workload. Easily Sustainable is additionally being expanded throughout the whole Multimedia Production degree programme through a second initiative – Digezz. Digezz is a second platform which is available to all Multimedia Production students that they can freely upload content to throughout their degree programme to practice the skills they have learnt. High quality and sustainability related content published on the Digezz platform is also being published on the Easily Sustainable platform, and vice versa, thus broadening the reach.



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