Ambassadors for a sustainable future - facilitating students in higher education to become sustainable change agents

Research output: Contribution to conference without a publisher/journalAbstractResearch


Background: Empowering students to become sustainability change agents can foster a positive impact on the professions and hence society and the environment. Higher educations play a role in providing education for sustainable development ESD) and more knowledge is needed on how to facilitate future generations in conducting complex personal practices in a complex world and society and becoming resilient change agents and ambassadors for sustainable development.
Methods and data: The current project is organized as a multiple case study (Yin, 2003), studying a Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) ambassador corps course from a university of applied sciences, aiming at providing the students with sustainability competencies and agency. The project aims to gain context-specific insights into organisation of the course and what the students are orientated towards during the course and how they experience the course. In continuation of this, the students' participation trajectory throughout the course and subsequent orientations towards their own education, profession and in society are examined. The case data is based on participant observation in connection with course days and mentoring sessions, together with semi-structured interviews with course supervisors and students, i.e. during the course and follow-up interviews.
Discussions and conclusion: The multiple involved campuses followed an overall course plan, including a joined stay at a location working with social sustainability and a sustainability festival with presentations of the students work, and five planned campus-specific workshops. In between planned course activities, the students worked alone or in groups with their own projects and obtained mentoring sessions, if needed. The framing and content of the workshops was very diverse and context-specific between the two campus cases, and it emerged from the observations that the course supervisor’s professional expertise area and pedagogical approach contributed very much to this, as there was not described any specific topics, methods ect that should be covered during the course. The student’s engagement with the course contents was as much related to scientific methods and communication, as with specific SDG related content.

Across a lifespan a person participates in changing social configurations and contexts, composing a personal life-trajectory. Some of the students came into the project with a life-trajectory. One studntes Already was on a trajectory with social sustainability in her early youth, but she has stepped out of this for some years and participating in the course drew her back in the trajectory. Including a student-job with focus on sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2024
Publication statusPublished - 2024
EventSustainable Competences in Higher Education
Final international conference
- Tjekkiet/online
Duration: 14 May 202415 May 2024


ConferenceSustainable Competences in Higher Education
Final international conference


  • education, professions and jobs
  • learning, educational science and teaching


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