The University of the West Indies (The UWI) is among six universities selected for the pilot run of an international programme to embed sustainability across teaching and learning in higher education institutions. The initiative, ‘Responsible Futures’, is led by the International Association of Universities (IAU) in partnership with Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS-UK), which has been working with higher education institutions in the UK for almost ten years.
Responsible Futures is a change programme and accreditation mark that works to put sustainability at the heart of student learning by creating an institutional approach across both curricular and non-curricular activities throughout the entire institution. Over the past decade, the programme has positively impacted over 600,000 students, in the UK. As a member of the IAU, The UWI was invited to participate based on its expertise and focus on sustainable development in the Caribbean region and its leadership in the Global University Consortium on the UN Sustainable Development Goal 13 (Climate Action).
Director of Education at Students Organising for Sustainability, Quinn Runkle remarked, “We’re delighted to be working with The University of the West Indies to pilot the Responsible Futures international programme, partnering students and staff to work together to embed sustainability in student learning. The UWI has been selected to take a lead role in representing the Caribbean region in this ground-breaking initiative and we look forward to progressing this important work with the university and their students.”
Commenting on The UWI’s involvement, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Global Affairs, Ms. Sandrea Maynard, whose office is the institutional lead for the Global University Consortium on SDG 13, noted that at The UWI, Responsible Futures will be student-led through the UWI STAT (Students Today, Alumni Tomorrow) Ambassadorial Corps. The Corps is a leading regional student group with a reputation for climate action and advocacy. UWI STAT students will incorporate activities and initiatives integrating students across the University’s eight faculties and five campuses.
Founder and Regional Coordinator of the Corps, Mrs. Celia Davidson Francis, will oversee the process of working together with The UWI’s Sustainability Network, as well as with its administrative, student and academic frameworks. Mrs. Davidson Francis has emphasized that it is vital that “the next generation of leaders: our students, are involved leaders and participants in this programme because they will be living ‘the futures’ decided by behaviours practiced, as well as actions taken today.”
PVC Maynard also underscored that this latest initiative deepens the regional university’s collaboration with the IAU and further affirms The UWI’s efforts as an SDG-engaged University. She anticipates that the programme will complement the university’s research agenda on climate change and sustainable development and equip future Caribbean leaders and technical managers.
The UWI’s Office for Global Affairs also works closely with the IAU, and will be responsible for monitoring and reporting on this initiative.