Our COP21 competition has now reached the student selection phase. We have been overwhelmed by the commitment and enthusiasm we have received from our cohort. Below, is a photograph of our undergraduates holding up their 500 word response documents (addressing the question ‘how significant might COP21 be in ameliorating Climate Change?’). The group only has to wait one more week until we can announce the successful candidates.
We thought it would be worth spending a few moments explaining how the COP21 opportunity arose and the impact it could have on this group. In the Department of Organisation, Work and Technology (DOWT) in the Lancaster University Management School (LUMS), we believe we offer a unique multidisciplinary course that introduces students to the relationship between management theory, practice and the natural environment. There is a sharp focus throughout the module of the implications this has for policy making. Our course entitled ‘Management and the Natural Environment: Ethics and Sustainability 1‘, draws upon ideas from the natural sciences, science and technology studies and management theory. This module has evolved over the past seven years and our cohort has steadily grown. Our aim is to encourage student engagement and we are always on the look out for ways in which we can bring theory to life. To date we have received excellent student feedback where one student wrote, “it’s probably been the most impactful module I’ve studied so far”. We believe that students who are passionate about sustainability are key to addressing future challenges, particularly as these individuals are potentially our future industry leaders.
When Gail Whiteman, The Rubin Chair in Sustainability in Business and part-time Professor in residence for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), joined Lancaster she gained agreement from the WBCSD to allow 8 students to attend their meetings, as part of the UN COP21 Climate Change Conference. We seized the opportunity with both hands as not only is this a life changing experience for our students, due to the prestige of the event, we can give these undergraduates first-hand exposure to see how ideas are put into action. As well as the real world experience and networking potential, we have been able to create links with their coursework. The selected students will study and present the WBCSD Vision 2050 policy document as part of their assessment. Furthermore, they will be keeping a reflective diary of their time in Paris.
As can be seen from the photographs, above and below, our cohort are delighted at the prospect. So please watch this space to find out whom the 8 winners are!