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Transcript - Liberal Arts Core Module: Sustainability

Hey there, I'm Arya and I'm a third-year Liberal Arts student studying on an Economics (Disciplinary Interest) Pathway. I want to talk to you a bit about a second-year core module called 'Sustainability' which I really enjoyed.

One of the reasons why I really enjoyed it is that it took on the Problem-Based Learning approach which every other Liberal Arts core module also takes on. In particular, I really enjoyed what I learnt about systems thinking in sustainability and the way it can be used to tackle sustainability issues, whether this is environmental sustainability, economic sustainability, or societal sustainability.

I really enjoyed that I was able to bring in my own interests to this module - my interests in Economics, specifically in developmental economics - and use the systemic approach to tackle the particular issues that I was really interested in. For example, I was actually really interested in the mass treatment of worms disease which is a really random thing but I really found it exciting that it was such an effective policy for improving outcomes of people in poverty. I thought if I used systems thinking to approach this problem, I might be able to find some other issues which interlay really intensely with the prevalence of worms disease and therefore might be able to make some recommendations towards the policy that make it a lot more effective. I actually did find that this was the case - I found that in particular, nutrition and sanitation were really significant issues which really interplayed with the issue of worms disease. This obviously wasn't something that the research paper which I originally looked at considered because it was a very focused paper on the mass treatment effect, the way it effected people's outcomes.

It was really useful to get this broader, bigger picture view of this issue and therefore create a more effective policy which is more all encompassing. It wasn't just that I was able to bring in my own interests into this module. I was also able to take what I learnt in systems thinking in sustainability issues and apply it to other modules. One particular example is when I was in 'Consumption' (another core module) when I was doing a study on electricity consumption and of course there's a lot of sustainability issues in here aswell and systems thinking is really useful at conveying your ideas in a structured and illustrative way. Within one of my assessments in Consumption, a research project I was doing, I actually used a systems map to convey some of these ideas. It was really helpful because it allowed me to save words in my project and at the same time convey some of my ideas really effectively, which I think the professor really appreciated because oftentimes you've got to be really concise and convey your ideas really clearly in these research projects.

I hope that hearing a little bit about Sustainability has excited you and if so please do check out the module page to learn more about this module.