High Overall Rating for Wittenborg's Climate Change Project Week

High Overall Rating for Wittenborg's Climate Change Project Week

Wittenborg's Climate Change Project Week 2, which was held from 3 to 5 November, received an overall high rating of 4.47 from students. The event, which coincided with the United Nations Climate Change Summit in Glasgow (UK Cop26), involved students from its three different study locations: Apeldoorn and Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and Munich in Germany. Throughout the three days, students and faculty members immersed themselves in presentations, a Climate Action Simulation game, role-play, as well as the Climate Change Summit.

As part of the final assessment, students were required to complete a compulsory online questionnaire that provided feedback on the activities involved and a self-reflection of their own learning experiences. Results of the survey were compiled in a Climate Change Project Week Report.
In his editorial note of the report, Wittenborg President & Chief of the Executive Board Peter Birdsall said, "We were lucky to have found a 'window of opportunity' during the COVID-19 pandemic when it was possible for us to hold this event and have so many people together. The theme of climate change is such an important issue for our students, both now and in the future, and they grasped the significance of that through their commitment and overall involvement in the activities."

The online survey was completed by 163 students from 40 different countries and nationalities.

High Overall Rating for Wittenborg's Climate Change Project Week

From the survey results, it was found that 97.5% of students believe that climate change is a global emergency but only 44.8% of them believe that we will be able to reach the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees. On the other hand, students' opinions were split between the statements that "Climate Change will affect me in my lifetime" (45%) and "Climate Change will affect my children and the next generation" (47%). To the question on what the governments of their countries should do to tackle the climate crisis, the majority of students ranked first the action "Criminalise activities that lead to pollution or over-excessive use of natural resources", followed by "Encourage transportation that does not rely on fossil fuels, such as electric vehicles and bicycles".

Reflecting on their learning experiences during this Project Week, most students stated that after this Project Week, they have a better understanding of global warming and climate change and that they are concerned about the adverse effects of climate change. They also indicated that they would like to be more involved in contributing towards efforts to remedy the climate crisis. They believe that it is their moral obligation to act and reduce the adverse effects for the sake of those disadvantaged by climate change, like children, the poor, marginalised societies, etc. Students would like to contribute towards finding solutions whether through personal or professional actions. One of the students stated, "I am certainly on board with this campaign. I am starting with changing the way I am as a person. I will be sure to minimise my electricity and water consumption. It starts with me." Another student who wanted to do something professionally said, "I am planning to create a start-up, a little organisation of garbage recycling. It will be a good contribution to climate change problem-solving."

High Overall Rating for Wittenborg's Climate Change Project Week

A significant percentage of students also reflected that this Project Week has provided them with a valuable intercultural experience and a better understanding of the UN international negotiations. Others mentioned that they have learnt more about the challenges faced by the world, about presentations, their countries and Wittenborg values. All these are important feedback as they are a manifestation of Wittenborg's infusion of its core values of internationalisation, diversity and ethics into its curriculum.

Judging by the positive results of the Climate Change Project Week, Wittenborg's innovative initiative to infuse themes into its curriculum, teaching and learning and university-wide activities may bring many benefits to students, faculty and Wittenborg itself. Wittenborg envisages that such initiatives may help students and faculty to be more aware of the local, regional and global contexts in which they live and equip them with the skills to make ethical choices or apply systems-thinking approaches to serious societal and global challenges.

If you would like to know more about the survey results, you can access the report here.

WUP 16/12/2021
by Hanna Abdelwahab with contributions from Kriszta Kaspers-Rostás
©WUAS Press