Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Universities as the Engine of Transformational Sustainability in Delivering Against the Sustainable Development Goals: Livitabng Labs for Sustainability

Version 1 : Received: 28 October 2018 / Approved: 29 October 2018 / Online: 29 October 2018 (09:43:58 CET)

How to cite: Purcell, W.M.; Henriksen, H.A.; Spengler, J.D. Universities as the Engine of Transformational Sustainability in Delivering Against the Sustainable Development Goals: Livitabng Labs for Sustainability. Preprints 2018, 2018100665 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201810.0665.v1). Purcell, W.M.; Henriksen, H.A.; Spengler, J.D. Universities as the Engine of Transformational Sustainability in Delivering Against the Sustainable Development Goals: Livitabng Labs for Sustainability. Preprints 2018, 2018100665 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201810.0665.v1).

Abstract

Universities can do more to deliver against the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), working with faculty, staff and students as well as their wider stakeholder community and alumni body. They play a critical role in helping shape new ways for the world, educating global citizens and delivering knowledge and innovation into society – universities can be engines of societal transformation. Here, using a case study approach, different ways of strategizing sustainability in a university setting are explored with an example from the UK, Europe and USA. The first case is a public UK university that adopted enterprise and sustainability as its academic mission to secure differentiation in a disrupted and increasingly marketized global higher education sector which then became a source of inspiration for change in regional businesses and the local community. The second case study is a business sector-led sustainability-driven transformation working with a private university in Bulgaria to catalyze economic regeneration and social innovation. Finally, the case of Harvard’s Office for Sustainability engagement program is given to show how this approach connects faculty and students with institutional sustainability plans and external partners.  Each case is a living lab, positioning sustainability as an intentional strategy. Leadership at all levels, and by students, was key to success in acting with purpose. Partnerships within and with universities can help accelerate delivery of the SDGs, with higher education making a fuller contribution to sustaining the economic, cultural and intellectual well-being of our global communities. 

Subject Areas

university and higher education; sustainability; change and transformation; sustainable development goals; living labs

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