Day 3 - Wednesday, 18th September 2013


7:00 - 8:30 am BREAKFAST
9:00 - 11:00 am
Panel Discussion
Higher education for sustainable development poses great challenges to universities because it questions the established ways in which they often function. This plenary session and the closely linked workshops that follow want to address some of the most pressing issues by asking: What can the contribution of the individual disciplines for a sustainable development be? How can universities integrate perspectives of political and societal actors? And what does education for sustainable development mean for teaching formats, for research in teaching, and for research conducted by students?
  • Alexander Holst, Managing Director, Accenture Management Consulting, Germany
  • Verena Holz, Institute for Integrative Studies, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany
  • Prof. Dr. Anne Jerneck, Associate Professor in Sustainability Science, Lecturer in Economic History, PhD in Economic History, Lund University, Sweden
  • Prof. Dr. Klaus Kümmerer, Professor for Sustainable Chemistry and Material Resource, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany
  • Dr. Harry Lehmann, Head of Environmental Planning and Sustainability Strategies, German Federal Environment Agency, Germany
  • Dr. Delia Schindler, Category Leader Governance and Stakeholdermanagement, Tchibo GmbH; Speaker, Hamburg Future Council, Germany


The panel discussion is moderated by Prof. Dr. Ulli Vilsmaier, Junior Professor for Transdisciplinary Methods, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany. 
11:00 - 11:30 am
11:30 - 1:00 pm
Group Work
In small groups, delegates will discuss the consequences of the panel discussion for their home universities. Questions that will be discussed might be:
  • How could there be an exchange between different disciplines?
  • What does this mean for university courses?
  • What does it mean for writing theses?
  • How can universities be more open and integrate more sustainability actors?
1:00 - 2:00 pm LUNCH @ MENSA
2:00 - 4:00 pm
Having developed and specified visions for sustainable teaching in the morning sessions, these workshops will give examples of how students can change the teaching in their university. Important questions which will be addressed in the sessions are: How can students offer sustainability courses that are of good quality and widely accepted? How can students influence the teaching agenda of their universities?
The World Student Environmental Network (WSEN) was created for students who are full of ideas on how to green their university and who want to make these ideas happen, who have achieved change at the local level and now want to raise it to a global scale, or who think that an international cooperation could boost their project. The WSEN was founded in 2008 during the first WSES. Each delegate of a WSES becomes a member of the WSEN. The strength of the network is the multitude of ideas, projects and experiences with sustainability at universities. It can scale up common interests and make sustainability at universities become standard!
In this workshop, members of the WSEN core team and the creators of the online Moodle Preparation Course will introduce the work of the WSEN and possibilities of online learning platforms. Participants will then work on the following questions:
  • What should the WSEN offer to students?
  • How can I add value to the WSEN?
  • What exchange between the delegates and their universities do we want after the summit (e.g. for networking or for a teaching course)?
  • How can we organize this exchange?
The main goal of the workshop is to contribute to the long-term success of the World Student Environmental Network as well as to help delegates to learn more about sustainability and to foster their own network.
The “NachDenkstatt” (Sustainability Thinkshop) is a students’ initiative at the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg (Germany), founded in 2012, which tries to induce changes towards a more sustainable society via a transdisciplinary approach. Transdisciplinarity is often referred to as the “method of sustainability sciences”. Applying its principles means engaging with experts and stakeholders from both science and practice (politics, public administration, business and civil society) on equal footing in order to develop relevant, practicable and scientifically sound solutions for social problems. A three-day conference serves as a platform, where the initiative works together with project partners and student participants in workshops on various topics. This year’s conference will deal with subjects such as “Education for Sustainable Development”, “the Energy Transition (Energiewende) in the Region Weser-Ems”, “Green Clothing”, “Regional Agriculture” and “Participatory Art for Sustainable Development”. In the forefront of the conference several kick-off meetings with partners and experts will be organized in order to initialize the processes and enable a shared understanding of the relevant problems. During the WSES workshop the initiative “NachDenkstatt” will be presented and the participants will explore what it means to implement transdisciplinary processes and conferences from a students’ perspective, what one needs to think of, which problems and challenges arise, what limitations and frustrations one might face and what successes one can achieve.
A small university is nestled in the midst of the beautiful winelands of the Western Cape, South Africa. The quaint little town of Stellenbosch and its surrounds are intricately linked with the university. As such, Stellenbosch University (SU) is in a unique position to influence South Africa’s agriculture sector, job creation, human dignity and the alleviation of poverty and much more. This is the university that will host the 2014 World Student Environmental Summit as the first WSEN summit in Africa. This workshop is birthed from this background and aims to connect environmental and social issues in the context of Africa and sustainable development. This workshop will give the delegates the opportunity to engage in what it means to host a summit in a developmental context, and how development does (and should) affect the work done by environmental student organisations across the world. 
  • To frame the discussion and summit in the context of the values system (according to the World Values Survey) and different environmental ethics perspectives
  • To engage with the South African context and perspective on environmental issues
  • To grapple with expectations of South Africa from a foreigner’s perspective
  • To discuss fundraising for an international summit
  • To develop and incorporate input from delegates into the summit theme, “Coming Back to Life”
  • To debate the interconnectedness between social and environmental issues
  • To give feedback to delegates about the 2014 summit and Stellenbosch University

Workshop leader: Giorgina King

The Cradle to Cradle Association Germany is an NGO which focuses on the major environmental, societal and economic problems resulting from the dominating Cradle to Grave - economic system: Conventional production leaves today’s society and future generations with harmful products, loads of waste at the end of a product’s usage and foreseeable scarcity of resources in the near future. With its head office in Hamburg and volunteers in regional groups all over Germany the Cradle to Cradle Association focuses on the “Cradle to Cradle - School of Thought” as a solution to some of the most critical problems.
The workshop starts with a short introduction to the “Cradle to Cradle - School of Thought”, so all participants have a shared idea of the concept, followed by the possibility to raise some of the most pressing questions regarding Cradle to Cradle. In the following, the plenum is divided into groups to discuss and expose possible reasons that hinder the practical realisation of Cradle to Cradle production nowadays. In contrast, solutions to implement the Cradle to Cradle idea will be developed within the groups, whilst each groups will work from a defined point of view to determine discipline-related problems (e.g. politics, economics, social science etc.) to gain a holistic understanding of those specific pitfalls. By the end of the workshop, the participants should have gained detailed knowledge about the "Cradle to Cradle - School of Thought" and come up with reasonable answers to let societal change happen.
Workshop leaders: Nora Sophie Griefhahn & Tim Janßen
Trends of modern development lead to many institutions’ tendencies to reflect their role in the society and to strategically assess their actions vis-à-vis new challenges. Universities have an opportunity to provide knowledge and learning for the future, based on the institutional values and the science – society/policy interface they interact in. However, to fulfil this role at the national, regional and international levels, universities have to undergo a transformation towards sustainable development in their philosophy and practices.
This workshop will provide insights into global and regional (Europe, Asia/Pacific, African, N/S American) developments of higher education developments reflecting global policies and local actions. In an interactive session, participants will reflect their own cases of home universities and develop strategies of how transformation towards sustainable development could take place in the various global, regional and local contexts. Those strategies might be based upon the Rio+20 Peoples conference outcome document – the Higher Education Treaty for Sustainable Development. This treaty is an action and implementation oriented document for reference that was developed and signed by more than 80 institutions, regional and international organisations representing higher education. Focus of the treaty is the transformative development of higher education towards sustainability. This transformative development requires a local and global shared vision of sustainable development, co-creative approaches of exchange and education, learning and research as drivers for change within the institutions and the society.
As a consequence of the workshop and the conference, the students’ community of the World Students Environmental Summit has the opportunity to get involved in the global alliance for sustainable universities. This community is engaged through the treaty, regional or national networks, and by being an active part of the UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development where universities have contributed globally during the past 9 years. Having the final conference of the UN conference in Japan in November 2014, the WSES community could contribute by a clear commitment or statement that is about to be prepared in the time from WSES 14 – WSES14. So all options open and, according to the participants’ wishes, we will find out which route to follow to prepare for impact during the 2 hour workshop session.
Workshop leader: Prof. Dr. Clemens Mader
4:00 - 4:40 pm
The ongoing degradation of the life support system requires scientists to take more responsibility in society. New roles of researchers are needed to address sustainability challenges comprehensively. The traditional way of knowledge generation in university and dissemination in scientific articles is inappropriate to bring about the required change. Drawing on examples from the IPCC Lennart Olsson will discuss the obligations of students to get engaged in research and practice to systematically generate knowledge and stimulate societal change and transition towards sustainability. Researchers are not only needed within academia but also in high demand in other parts of society to initiate and inform processes of change. The activist part requires students to acquire new skills and competencies that are not yet promoted by universities. But the balance between science and activism is delicate.
  • Prof. Dr. Lennart Olsson, Professor for Physical Geography, Lund University; Lead Author, IPCC and UNEP GEO Assessment Report
4:45 - 6:00 pm BREAK
6:00 - 7:00 pm
7:30 - 8:30 pm
8:30 - 10:00 pm




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