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One student's photovoice submission explaining why they missed so many gardening sessions during the summer.

One student's photovoice submission explaining why they missed so many gardening sessions during the summer.

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Article
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In an increasingly mobile world, transience is becoming the norm. Sustainable community food initiatives, therefore, must organise to withstand high turnover of volunteers. Using a case study of the United Kingdom’s National Union of Students’ food growing scheme in universities, this paper aims to map the causes and effects of short-term, irregula...

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Context 1
... student did go beyond discussing motivation and said their habits prevented them from having more consistent involvement. They explained that their "irregular lifestyle" was one of their "bad habits" that prevented them from being more regularly involved (see Figure 4). It appeared that when students were not participating at the level they wanted to they blamed it on bad habits or a lack of motivation, but did not seem to consider developing more positive habits (such as having a more consistent schedule) to change their participation behaviour. ...

Citations

... Community gardens regularly accommodate sustainability practices, such as composting and recycling waste, and have been referred to, eloquently, as sites of embodied sustainability [44]. They contribute to sustainable ecological and urban development, generating multiple environmental benefits [45,46] including pro-sustainability attitudes [21] and sustainable food systems-in keeping with the 'Slow City' agenda [47]. Australian and US community gardens and UK allotments are regularly established in communities of low socio-economic status, and often on parcels of 'waste' land that are reclaimed for food production. ...
... CCGs can fail when design is inadequate, people are not engaged and university management is not committed (financially and otherwise) to their success [14]. Other barriers include when student turnover is high, there is a lack of guidance and limited financial resourcing [5] and an overreliance on volunteerism from a transient student community [21]. Universities aspire to be connected with the communities in which they are located, to be 'outward looking' [52] and leaders in sustainability [2]. ...
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Campus community gardens (CCGs) can potentially improve student health and wellbeing, mitigate social and ecological problems, and nurture university-community relationships. However, CCGs are located in complex socio-political and ecological settings and many community gardens struggle or fail. However, few studies have assessed the socio-political/ecological context of a garden setting prior to its development to understand the potential barriers and enablers of success. Our study assessed the socio-spatial context of a proposed CCG at a student university accommodation site. We engaged diverse university and community stakeholders through interviews, focus groups and a survey to explore their perceptions of the space generally and the proposed garden specifically. Visual observations and public life surveying were used to determine patterns of behavior. Results confirmed known problems associated with an underutilized site that provides little opportunity for lingering or contact with nature; and unknown barriers, including socially disconnected stakeholders and community distrust of the university. The research also uncovered positive enablers, such as stakeholder appreciation of the social, wellbeing and ecological benefits that a CCG could deliver. Our findings suggest that an in-depth exploration of a proposed garden context can be an important enabler of its success.
... Different working practices can also lead to frustrations from different stakeholders. Students and staff work on different timescales and as such have different conceptualisations of time which can affect their relationships (Laycock Pedersen et al., 2019). Students are often frustrated at the seemingly slow rate of progress from University operations, and University staff frustrated by what is seen as unreliable communication and response to emails from students, who may not use email as their main form of communication. ...
Purpose This paper aims to explore a single-institution case study of partnership working between students, the University and Students’ Union, through four student-led sustainability projects. The paper analyses the role and value of these partnerships and provides advice for other institutions on effective partnership working between these stakeholders. Design/methodology/approach A single case study of partnership working with multiple embedded units of analysis (four projects) is presented based on reflections of practitioners involved in the projects who have different roles within the University and Students’ Union. Findings The longevity and effectiveness of student-led projects, and disciplinary-breadth of students engaged, can be enhanced by greater collaboration with, and integration into, University and Students’ Union systems. Partnership working between different stakeholders is key to overcoming challenges and the success of student-led projects, helped by key staff “enablers”. These projects provide myriad learning opportunities for developing change agency skills, even where projects are relatively short-lived and could be seen as failures in terms of longevity. Research limitations/implications This analysis is based solely on practitioner reflections, with limited direct quantification or qualitative data on the projects’ impacts on the students themselves. Originality/value This paper draws together the experiences and reflections of four practitioners with different roles within the University and Students’ Union across four different projects and provides advice to generate student-led sustainability projects which have longevity and impact for wider student populations and future generations of cohorts.
Chapter
This chapter explores the concept of “activist learning for sustainability” and the role of activism and related pedagogies and the relationship to education for sustainable development (ESD). The chapter will reflect on a case study of student-led activism: the initiation of a “sustainable student house” devised and developed by students to allow them to “live what they are learning” and educate other students about sustainable lifestyles. Through reflections from this case this chapter explores: the relationship between the formal, informal, and hidden curricula in inspiring and supporting student activist learning for sustainability; some of the challenges of student-led activist projects, such as the sometimes-difficult relationships between students and university staff, and tensions between the students’ private and public spheres of life at university; and student learning as activists for sustainability. The chapter concludes with recommendations for ESD practitioners engaged in the development of activist learning opportunities.
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Universities have an important role in moving society towards a more sustainable future. However, this will require us to repurpose universities, reorienting and refocusing the different university domains (education, research, campus, and outreach) towards sustainability. The governance structures and processes used to embed sustainability into the activities and operations of the institution are critical to achieving the required transformation. Our current university systems which are seen as contributing to socio-ecological system unsustainability are resilient to change due to slow variables such as organisational and sector-wide prevailing paradigms and culture. Therefore, to repurpose a university requires us to destabilise our prevailing system, crossing a threshold into a new stable system of a 'sustainable university' across all its domains. This paper utilises an adaptation of Biggs et al. (2012) resilience principles for the governance of social-ecological systems to provide a framework to consider aspects of university governance for sustainability that can be utilised to repurpose universities towards sustainability, and destabilize unsustainable elements of the system. This paper draws out examples relating to sustainability governance within universities with regards to the four principles of (i) managing diversity and redundancy, (ii) managing connectivity, (iii) managing slow variables and feedbacks, and (iv) encouraging learning and experimentation within the context of complex adaptive systems. In this article, we have shown that using resilience in a non-normative way is possible (to decrease resilience of an unsustainable system), and that it can also be valuable to help understand how to shift organisational governance towards a particular end-state (in this case, university governance that advances sustainability). This paper provides an example of how to operationalise resilience principles of relevance to the resilience literature as well as providing a practical framework to guide higher education institution governance for sustainability.
Article
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Recent scholarship has examined the representation of cars, walking and rail transportation in cinema; however, it has said little about the bus. This paper examines the depiction of the bus in a series of movies filmed in San Francisco since the 1970s. While rail-based modes, especially the cable car, were depicted in a positive light in these films, depictions of the bus are almost uniformly negative. It is a site of incivility, crime and poor service. In U.S. cities, buses carry far more passengers than any other mode of transit and they are essential to low-income residents. By highlighting the worst aspects of bus service, these films may contribute to a decrease in empathy for those dependent on the bus and a decline in support for funding bus service.
Technical Report
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This report syntheses the main findings from a 2.5 year action research doctoral study of the National Union of Students’ (NUS) Student Eats food growing scheme. The intended audience for this report is Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS) (formerly the National Union of Students’ sustainability team), but it may also have relevance for other organisations coordinating student-led sustainability or food growing activities at a regional, national, or international level.