Every student can become a sustainable development actor. Helping every student do so is a mission UCL takes to heart. The university envisions the teaching of sustainable development in every faculty and incorporated in both the subject matter and the learning experience of each programme.
This process is already underway, supported by the creation of a specific minor and a master’s programme – two opportunities, at two distinct moments of the student’s career, to dive into the subject.
The minor was first offered during the 2016-17 academic year. Administered by the Faculty of Economics but drawing content from both the exact and the social sciences, the minor is a detailed introduction to the sustainable development challenges facing society. It offers tools for understanding scientific debates, considering each actor’s position and analysing the reality from a multidisciplinary perspective.
This master’s programme is aimed at training students who already hold a master’s degree to become professionals capable of collaborating with sustainable development actors and addressing environmental issues.
By the end of the programme, each student must be able to integrate all the factors and dimensions that comprise a balanced strategy for managing tomorrow’s scientific, economic, ethical, social and technical challenges. Possessing a practical global vision, the student will be able to imagine synergies and turn them into concrete action.
MicroMasters and MOOCs in sustainability are offered online. They’re open access and intended for everyone. Online offerings are growing and it’s a quick and effective way to get an education.
For example, UCL offers access to the edX MicroMasters programmes ‘Communicating Corporate Social Responsibility’ and ‘Ressources naturelles et développement durable’.
Seminars and conferences in various faculties incorporate sustainable development as a crucial issue for society.
Several lifelong learning programmes encourage working adults to centre their interests on sustainable development, for example, those in the fields of architecture and construction.
Our professors and graduates talk about sustainable development…
Sustainable development is a pluralistic concept that is giving rise to very real career opportunities. But in what sectors? UCL students met with professors and UCL graduates involved in or working for a more sustainable future. The ‘Filme ton métier durable’ (‘Film your sustainable job’) project aimed to promote university and professional sustainable development expertise, by producing videos (in French) that are particularly thought-provoking for students interested in sustainable development careers.
« What we are really after is a way of living that is sustainably generalizable…across the globe...and could be perpetuated across generations. »
Philippe Van Parijs, Hoover Chair of Economic and Social Ethics
« We can change society without necessarily seizing power, without having to expect everything from the state, without waiting for solutions to come down from on high. They can come from below, from the choices we make every day as consumers and producers. »
Olivier De Schutter, Centre for Legal Philosophy, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
« The agroindustrial system is outdated, from the 20th century…The challenge of the coming four or five years will be the confrontation between niche, pioneering, and agroecology experiences and agrifood industry crises. »
Philippe Baret, Earth and Life Institute, President of the Interdisciplinary Agroecology Research Group of the Belgian Scientific Research Fund (GIRAF)
« We have a role to play in health through nutrition but also through telling people how important a balanced lifestyle is. »
Cécile Bolly, Ethics Professor, Institute of Health and Society, General Practitioner
« Water really plays multidimensional roles. All the services, all the products we consume, everything we use is characterised by a “water footprint”. »
Marnik Vanclooster, Earth and Life Institute
« The forest has always been central to questions of wood production but most people are unaware of all the other ways it can serve humanity: biodiversity…its full recreation potential…carbon storage, its role as a climate buffer, river water purification. »
Christine Farcy, Earth and Life Institute
“We have to ask ourselves about tomorrow’s challenge: How do we reconfigure the use of what we call “land”? »
Yves Hanin, Centre for Land Use Research and Analysis (CREAT)
« In a world with less energy, how do we get on? The economy and energy are bound together. All human and economic activity requires energy. We need to rethink how we function in our societies. »
Hervé Jeanmart, Louvain School of Engineering
« A company must do everything in its power to minimise its negative impact on society, the environment, its employees and commercial partners, and/or maximise its positive impact by trying to meet society’s greatest challenges. »
Valérie Swaen, Louvain School of Management