Learning to change universities from within: A service-learning perspective on promoting sustainable consumption in higher education

Matthias Barth*, Maik Adomßent, Daniel Fischer, Sonja Richter, Marco Rieckmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Progression towards more sustainable consumption patterns is a key challenge of the 21st century. Higher education plays a crucial role in this in as much as it significantly contributes to building the capacity of future generations to deal with real-world problems of unsustainable consumption. However, conceptually substantiated approaches to educating for sustainable consumption in universities are still poorly developed. This paper contributes to bridging this gap. It merges two separate fields of scholarship (service learning and incidental learning) and analyses key aspects of a teaching approach to promoting learning for sustainable consumption in higher education. A case example of a series of project-based seminars is presented that illustrates how this conceptual approach can be applied in practice. This paper illustrates how the integration of the concept of transdisciplinarity into service learning can help to further develop the concept to support rich and meaningful learning settings for students. The paper concludes with a critical appraisal of the approach for moving forward the agenda of higher education for sustainable development in the context of consumption and with a call for further research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-81
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume62
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Higher education
  • Incidental learning
  • Service learning
  • Sustainable consumption
  • Transdisciplinary collaboration

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