Warwick Economics in Sustainability ChallengeMonday 25 Jul 2022
Dr Lory Barile, Associate Professor in the Department of Economics and Dr Bo Kelestyn from WBS took the lead in organising Warwick Sustainability Challenge, a project fully funded and brought to staff and students at Warwick by the Warwick International Higher Education Academy - Education for Sustainable Development (WIHEA ESD) learning circle. The project, developed in partnership with Coventry City Council, proved to be a great success in raising awareness about sustainable development.
The aim of the challenge was to bring together staff and students to co-create solutions to tackle a real environmental challenge in Coventry: how to increase the use of public transport in Coventry. Participants had to present their ideas to a panel of judges:
- Bret Willers, Head of Climate Change and Sustainability, Coventry City Council
- David Pipe, Senior Officer, Transport Strategy, Coventry City Council
- Dr Lee Griffin, Associate Professor, WMG
- Dr Lorenzo Lotti, Associate Professor, Institute for Sustainable Resources, UCL
Attracting around 70 participants, the challenge started with two 3-hour workshops to facilitate a collaborative approach and to provide initial support for each team. The challenge lasted for two more weeks during which time the teams had access to further support from experts in sustainability in the form of drop-in sessions or thematic resources, before submitting their final project in the form of an e-poster or a presentation, and a video.
The challenge culminated in a final showcase event held on 8 July at Scarman (Warwick Conferences) during which 5 shortlisted teams presented their projects and answered questions from the judging panel in front of a small audience of staff, students and visitors from local schools.
The winning teams were from WMG (1st Prize): Zixin Wu, Zixian Hao, Liuming Bao, India Palmer and Daniel Dillon; Team 8 (2nd Prize): Yiwen Gao (GSD) and Dylan Davis (PPE), and Sociology (3rd Prize): Saskia Wagner, Jamie Deane, Fikayo Falade and Ilina Joshi.
The Department of Economics, represented by a team of 5 with two students and three academic staff: Yara Aziz, Yingran He, Dr Atisha Gosh, Dr Andreas Markoulakis and Dr Samuel Obeng, was commended for the best use of insights and research.
Dr Lory Barile commented:
"As an Economist with a strong interest in environmental economics (and Module Leader for UG and PG Modules in Environmental Economics), I was pleased to see how this project provided an opportunity for us all, students, staff and external stakeholders, to deepen our understanding of the importance of sustainability and good environmental practice to create a better world. I was particularly delighted to see our students come up with some excellent solutions within such a short period of time.
"I hope that the Sustainability Challenge 2022 has enabled colleagues and students to engage in a critical discourse about environmental sustainability and will encourage more participants to get involved in future initiatives supporting education for sustainable development."
One of the student participants, Dylan Davis shared his thoughts about taking part in the challenge:
"Having the opportunity to co-create and present a shared vision with academics across the University to the Coventry City Council has been rewarding and has transformed my critical approach to sustainability. From developing my green skills to learning design thinking from expert students and coaches, it enhanced my creativity and initiative to think outside the box when solving genuine environmental challenges in Coventry.
"Taking a holistic approach when designing our idea and e-poster to present in 10 days was intense, but it only highlighted even more how crucial deep collaboration and time management were to the success of our project. Overall, my experience was immensely enjoyable, as I am thoroughly motivated to apply my new competencies in tackling the real-life challenges in a working and studying environment."
Further details about the challenge can be found on the Warwick Sustainability Challenge page.
Banner/Photograph credits (final showcase 8 July 2022): from left to right: David Pipe, Bret Willers, Dr Lory Barile, Zixian Hao, Zixin Wu, Daniel Dillon, India Palmer, Dr Lee Griffin.