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Understanding and managing transience in student-led food gardens: Report to Students Organising for Sustainability

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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.
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UNDERSTANDING AND
MANAGING TRANSIENCE IN
UNIVERSITY STUDENT-LED FOOD
GARDENS
Report to Students Organising for Sustainability
Rebecca Laycock Pedersen
November 2019
2
Preface
This report syntheses the main findings from a 2.5 year action research study of the National
Union of Students’ (NUS) Student Eats food growing scheme. It was undertaken by Rebecca
Laycock Pedersen as part of a doctoral degree in Environment and Sustainability at Keele
University in the UK, supervised by Professor Zoe Robinson.
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.
HOW TO USE THIS REPORT
Because this report has been designed specifically to be of relevance to Student Organising for
Sustainability, some components are explained in greater detail than others. Supplementary
information is included in the appendices at the end of this report, which provide more detail
about key findings and recommendations. If you would like further information, please contact
Rebecca Laycock Pedersen at rebecca.laycock@gmail.com.
A seperate report has been written for students’ union and university staff supporting
student-led food gardens, and a video has been created for student gardeners. These may be
useful complements to this report when supporting students and university/student’s union
staff working with student-led sustainability initiatives.
There may be some sections of this report that are of greater interest to you than others. It
has been designed to accomodate this, so you do not need to read the report in full or in order.
Feel free skip to the parts that are of the most interest to you.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Student gardeners and staff from the National Union of Students’ sustainability team have
generously given their time for this research. This contribution is valued greatly.
Financial support for this research and its dissemination has been received from Keele
University, the Keele Postgraduate Association (KPA), Santander, and the UNEP-Tongji
Institute of Environment for Sustainable Development.
THINK BEFORE YOU PRINT
Only print this document if you need to. If you do choose to print this document, consider if you need to print
all pages, or only some of them.
3
…the nature of it, is like, inherently non-continuous. Because students,
they stay for a year, and then they do something else.
Student gardener, University of Warwick
4
TABLE OF
CONTENTS
STUDENT-LED FOOD GARDENS: places
where groups of university students
operate spaces on university campuses
where edible plants are grown. There are
sometimes other participants, but students
are the driving force behind these
initiatives.
STUDENTS’ TRANSIENCE: to pass through
the university community with only a brief
stay over the course of a degree and during
the academic calendar because of holiday
periods.
RESILIENCE: the capacity of a system
change (or absorb shocks’ or perturbations)
in order to maintain the same identity.
5
KEY
CONCEPTS
PREFACE……………….…………………………….3
STUDY SUMMARY ……………….………………7
IMPACT ……………….……………………………...9
RECOMMENDATIONS ……………….………..10
RESOURCES ……………….………………………13
APPENDIX A ……………….…………………….. 14
APPENDIX B ……………….……………………..15
APPENDIX C ……………….…………………….. 17
APPENDIX D ……………….…………………….. 19
6
STUDY SUMMARY
7
RATIONALE
Student-led sustainability initiatives are increasingly championed as a method to foster pro-
sustainability attitude and behaviour change. However, students are transient. That is, their degrees
are time limited, and within their degrees they spend long periods away from the university for
holidays, fieldwork, and so on. This has considerable impact on how they are managed. In spite of
this, understandings of the impacts of transience are superficial and fragmented. Therefore, there is
a need to better understand this phenomenon so student-led food gardens can be managed in order
to achieve the aims they are proported to have.
AIMS
This study aimed to better understand how students’ transience impacts university student-led food
gardens and how these impacts might be managed, through:
vReviewing academic literature to assess benefits of sustainable university community
gardens1
vMapping the patterns of causes and effects related to students’ transience
vEvaluating the resilience of Student Eats gardens
vExploring actions gardens’ stakeholders can take to address negative impacts of students’
transience and build resilience into the gardens
KEY FINDINGS
vThe main benefits of student-led food gardens are learning and education (see Appendix A),
according to the literature review
§Initial findings show that the main type of learning/education that took place was not to
do with fostering pro-sustainability attitudes/behaviours; rather it was more akin to
process-oriented types of learning (see Appendix B)
vTransience caused problematic forms of participation (like short-term, irregular, and low
participation) (see Appendix C)
§The negative impacts of problematic participation actually increased problematic
participation itself, resulting in a vicious cycle (e.g., less social interaction, caused by low
participation, further lowered participation)
§This indicates that strategies to address the impacts of transience should target both
the causes and effects of problematic participation together since they are mutually
reinforcing
vStudents and university/students’ union staff had different conceptions of time, which was a
source of tension (see Appendix D)
§Students thought of time in a linear way, whereas staff thought of time as being cyclical
vThe gardens were not very resilient to students’ transience, particularly because of:
§a lack of long-term participants
§a lack of gardener autonomy over the garden space (in some cases)
§limited time allocation for university staff (especially grounds teams) to engage with
students
§periods of cliquey-nesswithin the garden groups
1As a proxy for student-led food gardens.
8
§a lack of trust between students and university staff (in some cases)
§a lack of embeddednesswithin university/students’ union structures
§a lack of monitoring of the quality of relationships between gardeners and students’
union/university staff, the physical state of the garden, and the balance between an
emphasis on recruitment vs the ’coregardening activities
§a lack of tolerance to uncertainty and ambiguity
§a lack of knowledge/skills retention within the gardens
A portfolio of strategies to address the impacts of students’ transience was developed (see
Appendix E)
METHOD
The study used an action research approach. Action research is a method where a researcher
collaborates with other stakeholders to (1) collectively develop a common understanding of a
problem, (2) plan action to address the problem, (3) take action, and (4) evaluate actions taken.
Three student-led food gardens (at Keele, Warwick, and Sheffield Universities) funded through the
Student Eats scheme were collaborated with, and one workshop was run at the Student Eats
conference in 2017 with participants from other Student Eats gardens as well. Throughout this
process, the following methods were used:
vQuantitative systematic literature review
vInterviews
vWorkshops to plan and evaluate action
vPhotovoice (students were invited to take photos themed around transience’ and
problematic participation’ and discuss them together in a group) (see Figure 1)
vFishbowl discussion (a method for large group dialogue; used at the Student Eats conference)
vResearch diary
Figure 1. A photo and caption submitted by a student gardener to the photovoice component of the
study.
IMPACT
So it’s been kind of useful to have this engagement. Just full stop. To have some kind of
sense of outside perspective being brought in. Whatever that perspective is. It’s just helped
us to think about our own actions and what actions might be best to address the problems
we’re facing […] we are acutely aware of the problem… but not… reallyever really doing
anything about it. [laughs] It’s just, kind of, making that part of the experience of the
garden. We all struggle in summer. ‘Well, don’t you know the agricultural calendar is the
inverse of the academic calendar!’ And, you know, I just find myself saying that, for, like the
millionth time. And, it’s been like, well I guess we’d better do something about that then.
And I have done things off the back of this research that I wouldn’t have otherwise done.
Student gardener
Because this study used an approach called ’action research,’ there were some
concrete outcomes. These were:
vSparking dialogue about how to manage the impacts of students’ transience in
three Student Eats gardens and at the Student Eats conference in 2017
vStudents exhibiting photos exploring themes related to transience at the Student
Eats Conference in 2017 (see Figure 1)
vStudents experimenting with actions to address some of the impacts of students’
transience, including:
§Embedding the allotment at Warwick University in an official campus map
§Inviting friends to gardening sessions at the allotment at Warwick University
§Posting on the allotment’s Facebook page at Warwick University
§Creating signage to provide directions to the entrance of the Walled Garden
(where the Student Eats garden is located) at Keele University
§Creating a blog, Twitter account, and Facebook events for the garden at
Keele University
§Setting up elections for the garden at Keele University2
§Adding gardening sessions to at postgraduate events calendar, resulting in
the events being included in weekly emails to postgraduates at Keele
University
vReports and videos about how to manage the impacts of students’ transience
were created for students involved in university food garden schemes and
university/students’ union/SOS staff supporting such schemes
9
2 The impact of this action may not be attributable to this study given that it likely would have
taken place regardless of whether this study took place. However, it was an action that was
planned and executed within the framework of this study which is why it is included here.
RECCOMENDATIONS
to Students Organising for Sustainability
STRATEGIES TO MANAGE THE IMPACTS OF TRANSIENCE
The recommended strategies for how SOS can help manage the impacts of transience are in
Table 1. Overall, the support for Student Eats gardens from the NUS’ sustainability team, now
SOS, was thought to be helpful and was apreciated by students. Many of the strategies
presented in Table 1, therefore, may not be any different to current practice. Rather, they are
included in order to show what strategies and actions are already working.
There are several strategies that were found to be particularly important, and therefore require
a little further explanation. These are the suggestions to do with student-staff relationships,
and student learning.
This study highlighted how important postive and productive student-staff relationships
were. Much of the work SOS, and formerly the NUS’ sustainability team, does focuses on
building effective relationships between students, students’ union staff, and university staff.
There are several suggestions rooted in this study that may help SOS continue to facilitate
effective staff-student relationship building.
In some cases there was friction between student gardeners and staff. There were several
reasons for friction in student-staff relationships. One is that universities tend to be risk-
adverse organisations, and therefore can be (at times overly) cautious about devolving
responsibility (e.g., for a plot of land) to students. Another is that students and staff have
different conceptions of time (see Appendix D). In some cases, gardeners were cautious about
having more university or students’ union involvement for fear they would lose autonomy over
the garden space.
Because of their linear conception of time, students struggled to see how their own
transience impacted the garden. This meant that students sometimes had unrealistic
expectations for what they could achieve in their garden. It also meant that students’ abilities to
take meaningful action to address the impacts of their transience was inhibited. On the other
hand, staff experienced time in a cyclical way (with recurring patterns and routines every year).
Because of this, students perceived that staff were not always mindful of the fact that
approaching staff in ”positions of powercould be ”intimidating” (Student gardener quote).
10
11
STRATEGIES ACTIONS
Support students to
maintain an appropriate
and well-managed
space
Provide student gardeners with information about low-
maintenance growing that is congruent with the
academic calendar
Run events and
activities and support
students with theirs
Continue to run conferences
Provide information to students about external events
and activities they can take part in
Fund visits, short courses, or other events or activities, as
appropriate
Ensure students feel
supported
Reassure students when they face challenges and
become frustrated or disappointed
Support students in building and maintaining productive
relationships with university and students’ union staff
Nurture students’
interest and creativity
Provide case studies of impressive or innovative
initiatives
Support students to
create organisational
infrastructure
Provide guidance to students and Students’ Union for the
sorts of roles and tasks that are appropriate to a food
growing society (in contrast to other student societies)
Support student
gardeners to document
and plan
Provide guidance (such as gardening information and
resources) and structure (such as templates) to support
record-keeping
Support student
gardeners to maintain
healthy relationships &
social networks
Pay attention to the quality of relationships between
staff and students to identify changes, especially changes
for the worse
Play a facilitative role in student-staff conversations to
create a mutual sense of trust and understanding;
mediate as necessary in the event of friction or conflict
Support students to
make connections
Use the Student Eats network to connect gardens from
different universities
Engage in reflective
learning
Be open to learning because you don’t know what you
don’t know
Reflect, and be open minded with people who might not
think the same way as you do because you never know
what you might learn from that interaction even if it is
uncomfortable!
Support students in their
learning
Encourage students to think of learning as a process
rather than an outcome
Table 1. Strategies and actions to manage the impacts of transience in student-led food gardens.
RECCOMENDATIONS
to Students Organising for Sustainability
To help maintain good quality student-staff relationships, SOS can:
Monitor the quality of relationships between gardeners and students’ union/university
staff in order to identify changes for the worse
Intervene and mediate between students and staff when changes for the worse are
identified
Help both students and staff understand and be mindful of each other’s experiences,
perceptions, and blind spots
Another key finding was that students tended to have a low tolerance to uncertainty and
ambiguity. Students tended to speak about learning in a way that showed that they thought of
learning as the passive absorbtion of information, and that being educated is an outcome rather
than an ongoing process. Active approaches to experimentation and learning, as well as
tolerance to uncertainty and ambiguity are important contributors to resilience. Helping
students with these can help address the impacts of transience. SOS can help build resilience
into Student Eats gardens by:
Encouraging students to think of learning as a process rather than an outcome by:
role-modeling and encouraging a sense of curiosity and adventure about gardening
Supporting students build their tolerance to uncertainty and ambiguity by:
reassuring students that what they are going through is normal and that they are
doing a good job when they face challenges and/or become frustrated/disappointed
REFINEMENT OF EVALUATION
From engagement in the three most student-led Student Eats gardens, it appeared that the
main outcomes were less to do with attitude and behaviour change for sustainability (e.g.,
caring more about sustainability or sustainable food, choosing to buy more sustainable food),
and more to do with learning that empowered students as change agents.
In the Student Eats baseline survey (NUS, n.d.) and sustainable food survey (NUS, 2016), there
was considerable focus on evaluating pro-sustainability attitude and behaviour change.
However, student empowerment was less-well represented. This indicates that the full
impacts of Student Eats may not be captured in existing reports.
This said, the aim of this study was not to understand what students learn from taking part in
Student Eats gardens. Therefore, these findings are tentative, not conclusive. As such, it may be
worthwhile for SOS to consider:
Undertaking research to explore what kind of intrinsic learning takes place in student
led-food gardens
§Given this sort of research is exploratory, in-depth qualitative inquiry would be most
appropriate, possibly through interviews, focus groups, or ethnography
§This research could be undertaken as part of a student dissertation project
Evaluating intrinsic learning in future surveys related to Student Eats to gather a more
well-rounded picture of the programme’s impact
It may also be of interest to:
Explore which which types of outcomes (e.g., attitude/behaviour change, intrinsic
learning, empowerment)are most prevalent in each programme run by SOS (e.g., Green
Impact, Student Eats, Student Switch Off, etc)
§This research could be undertaken as part of a student dissertation project
For more detail on recommendations related to evaluation, see Appendix B.
12
RESOURCES
Academic publications about this study
Laycock Pedersen, R., & Robinson, Z. (2018). Reviewing University Community Gardens for
Sustainability: taking stock, comparisons with urban community gardens and mapping research
opportunities.Local Environment,23(6), 652-671.
Laycock Pedersen, R., Robinson, Z. P., & Surman, E. (2019). Understanding Transience and
Participation in University Student-Led Food Gardens. Sustainability,11(10), 2788.
Instrumental and intrinsic traditions in sustainability education
Vare, P., & Scott, W. (2008). Education for Sustainable Development: two sides and an edge. DEA
Thinkpiece. Retrieved on August 3, 2019, from
https://www.academia.edu/21256086/Education_for_Sustainable_Development_two_sides_
and_an_edge
Evaluating intrinsic learning
Breiting, S., Mayer, M., & Mogensen, F. (2005). Quality Criteria for ESD-Schools; Guidelines to
enhance the quality of Education for Sustainable Development. Vienna, Austria: Austrian Federal
Ministry of Education, Science and Culture.
Hanss, D., & Böhm, G. (2010). Can I make a difference? The role of general and domain-specific
self-efficacy in sustainable consumption decisions.Umweltpsychologie, 14(2), 46-74.
Sellers, B. C., Fiore, S. M., & Szalma, J. (2013). Developing a scale of environmental
efficacy.International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice,8, 169-195.
Other references
National Union of Students (NUS) (n.d.). Student Eats Evaluation – Baseline survey | Student
summary report. Retrieved on October 24, 2018, from
https://sustainability.unioncloud.org/student-eats/research
National Union of Students (NUS) (2018). Sustainability Skills Survey | 2017-18 – Research into
students’ experiences of teaching and learning on sustainable development. Retrieved on October 24,
2018, from https://sustainability.nus.org.uk/resources/sustainability-skills-2017-18
13
Figure 2. The percent of articles reporting different types of benefits of sustainable university
community gardens.
APPENDIX A:
Impacts of sustainable university
community gardens
Figure 2 shows the number of articles about sustainable university community gardens that
discussed or demonstrated various benefits of the garden(s) they wrote about. Overall, educational
benefits dominated, followed by social benefits and benefits to the university.
More information about this can be found in the following article:
Laycock Pedersen, R., & Robinson, Z. (2018). Reviewing University Community Gardens for
Sustainability: taking stock, comparisons with urban community gardens and mapping research
opportunities.Local Environment,23(6), 652-671.
14
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
Social
Access to Fresh Foods
Eco n omic
Health
Reduced Crime/Increased Safety
Edu c at ion
Env iro nm ental Su stain ability *
Cultural Hertitage/Development
Life Satisfaction
Env iro nm ental Equ ity
Increased Biodive rsity
Eng ageme nt, At titud es & Beh avio urs for Sust.
Additional Benefits to Individual Participants
Benefits to the University
Percent
Benefits
Dis cus sed and
De mo ns tra te d
Benefit
Dis c us se d
Benefit
APPENDIX B:
Learning in student-led food gardens
INSTRUMENTAL VS INTRINSIC SUSTAINABILITY EDUCATION
The literature review in this study found that the main benefit of student-led food gardens was
education. In research on sustainability education (also called Education for Sustainable
Development (ESD), Education for Sustainability (EfS), Environmental Education (EE)), there are two
main traditions:
The instrumental tradition, which focuses on education for sustainability that is, education
“as a means to an end” (Vare & Scott, 2008; Sterling, 2010, p. 513). In this tradition, the focus is
on the outcomes of education, such as attitude or behaviour change.
The intrinsic tradition, focuses on education as sustainability that is, education where the
focus is on the learnersabilities ”to make sound choices in the face of uncertainty and
complexity of the future” (Vare & Scott, 2008, p. 3). In this tradition, the focus is on the process
of education.
In short, the instrumental tradition focuses more on the real-world changes facilitated by learning,
while the intrinsic tradition focuses on empowering learners to be critical change agents regardless
of what situations they might find themselves in in future. In theory, these are seperate
approaches, but in practice it is rare that these ever exist in isolation.
LEARNING IN STUDENT EATS GARDENS
In this study, initial findings suggest that the main type of learning that takes place in the Student
Eats gardens was a more process-oriented, or emancipatory, type of learning.
Students who were involved tended to have strong sustainability sensibilities and, as a result,
already had pro-sustainability attitudes/undertook pro-sustainability behaviours. However, there
was still considerable learning taking place, but of a different kind. Students were negotiating their
place in the sustainability movement, learning what realistic tasks for part-time volunteers are, and
about the types of tasks voluntary (and, indeed, professional) organisations need to undertake to
be successful, for example.
15
IMPLICATIONS
In the Student Eats baseline survey (NUS, n.d.) and sustainable food survey (NUS, 2016), there was
considerable focus on evaluating pro-sustainability attitude and behaviour change. That is to say
that instrumental learning is being well-evaluated. However, in light of the findings of this study, it
may be useful to broaden evaluations to include questions that better represent the intrinsic
tradition of sustainability education.
Some educators believe intrinsic sustainability education should not be assessed on the outcomes,
but on the process (e.g., Breiting et al., 2005). For example, a survey evaluating intrinsic learning
could ask participants the extent to which they agree with the following statements:
I ”work with power relations and conflicting interests” whilst participating in the garden
(Breiting et al., 2005, p. 25)
”All stakeholders [of the garden] exercise democracy in participation” (Breiting et al., 2005, p.
37)
All stakeholders are involved, at different levels, in the decision-making processesabout the
garden (Breiting et al., 2005, p. 37)
I take part in conversations about sustainable food in the garden
These questions assess whether conditions for intrinsic learning are present.
However, it may also be valuable to evaluate outcomes related to empowerment. This could be
done by drawing on existing survey protocols for empowerment, leadership, or self-efficacy3
concerning sustainability (e.g., Sellers et al., 2010; Hanss & Böhm, 2013). For example, a survey
evaluating intrinsic learning could ask participants the extent to which they agree with the following
statements:
”I believe my actions have an influence” on sustainable food systems (Hanss & Böhm, 2010, p.
73)
I take action that influences the sustainbility of my [local, national, global] food system
I believe my actions can inspire others to take action
When I am faced with unpredictability, I feel extremely uncomfortable
These questions are just examples of how intrinsic learning in student-led food gardens could be
evalutated. To effectively assess intrinsic learning in any future evaluations of Student Eats,
consideration would need to be given to what sorts of intrinsic learning might be expected. The
academic literature on this is currently under-developed. However, the sustainability skills annual
survey run through the NUS already includes some questions related to empowerment (e.g.,
Thinking of your time at university / college, [has understanding how to create change been]
covered in the teaching so far?” (NUS, 2018)). These may be a useful starting point.
3Self efficacy is ”the degree to which a person believes that that they can effectively engage in an activity
(Sellers et al., 2010, p. 169).
16
APPENDIX C:
Dynamics of the impacts of transience
Figure 3, below, shows the relationships between the different factors impacted by students’
transience. Green arrows show that an increase in the factor the arrow leads away from increases
the factor that the arrow is pointing towards. Red arrows show that an increase in the factor the
arrow leads away from decreases the factor that the arrow is pointing towards. For example, when
the amount of potential new recruits increases, the amount of new participants also increases,
however when barriers to participation increase, the amount of new participants decreases.
Three reinforcing feedback loops can be seen. Reinforcing feedbacks exponentially increase all
factors until a system (in this case, the garden) becomes unstable (unless there is something to
balance it). The only balance here is that students’ transience, while directly increasing problematic
participation, also decreases it by refreshing the pool of potential new recruits every year. This
shows that the gardens tend to be very vulnerable (that is, not very resilient) to students’
transience.
More information about this can be found in the following article:
Laycock Pedersen, R., Robinson, Z. P., & Surman, E. (2019). Understanding Transience and
Participation in University Student-Led Food Gardens. Sustainability,11(10), 2788.
17
Potential new recruits
New participants
Problematic participation
Problems
Barriers to participation
Students’ transience
Figure 3. The relationships between different factors impacted by students’ transience.
Barriers to getting people
‘through the garden gate’
Cultural barrier
Busy, lack of time,
competing
commitments
Lack of external
support
Expectations and
misconceptions
Lack of confidence
Do not see the
benefits
Cost
People haven’t heard
of it
Physical space
Barriers to continued
engagement
Unwillingness to
commit
Students
experimenting
People forgetting to
come
Poor weather and
seasonal issues
Extent of
organisational
structure
Ownership issues
Lack of opportunity to
self-determine
Cliquey-ness and
cohesion
Conflict and internal
politics
Lack of vision
Lack of responsibility
Lack of initiative
Lack of motivation
Expectations and
misconceptions
Barriers to participation Potential new recruits
New participants
Low participation
Irregular participation
Short-term participation
Problematic participation
Problems
Constant need to recruit
Fast-changing and
unpredictable
organizational structure
Friction between short-
term and long-term
stakeholders
Discontinuity and
difficulty in ensuring
longevity
Not seeing the results of
your work
Short-term thinking and
lack of insight into
transience
Knowledge/skills deficit
and lack of
knowledge/skills transfer
Lack of funding
Overburdened,
Overwhelmed, and just
burned out
Inadequate maintenance
Less social interaction
Negative emotional
responses
+
Students’ transience
Figure 4, below, builds on Figure 3 to show the specific barriers to participation and impacts of
problematic participation.
18
Figure 4. The relationships between different factors impacted by students’ transience including specific
barriers to participation and impacts of problematic participation.
APPENDIX D:
Student and staff conceptions of time
Students and university/students’ union staff appeared to have different understandings of time.
Students saw time in a ’linearway because they saw their involvement in the gardens as a time-
limited activity or a ’one-off mission.’ In other words, participation in the gardens was seen as an
activity with a beginning, middle and and end. For university/students’ union staff, time was seen
in a more ’cyclicalway. Their involvement in the garden took place over a longer time. Therefore,
they saw recuccuring patterns and routines that came in cycles.
The implications of this were that each year or so, new students joined the gardens and
experienced the challenges of being involved in such a project for the first time. For example, new
students would have to approach university or students’ union staff that they found intimidating
and be challenged by the power dynamics at play. For staff, however, these interactions were
routine. Furthermore, possibly because students had linear perceptions of time, many struggled to
see how their own transience impacted the gardens. This inhibited their ability to take
meaningful action to address the impacts of their transience.
19
Figure 6. The cyclical perception of time held by university/students’ union staff.
Second semester
Freshers' fair and
introductory activities
Spring break
Exams
First semester
Freshers' fair and
introductory activities
Winter break
Exams
Summer holiday
Second semester
Freshers' fair and
introductory activities
Spring break
Exams
First semester
Freshers' fair and
introductory activities
Winter break
Exams
Summer holiday
Figure 5. The linear perception of time held by students.
I welcome dialogue about
my research and any of the
topics in this report.
If you have any questions or
comments, please contact:
Rebecca Laycock Pedersen
Environment &
Sustainability
William Smith
Keele University
Keele ST5 5BJ
UK
rebecca.laycock@gmail.com
+46 (0) 733448523
Twitter: @bekkika
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
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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, irregular, and low participation using a causal loop diagram to understand how to mitigate their negative impacts and improve participation. Data was gathered through interviews, workshops, photovoice, a fishbowl discussion, and a reflective diary. We found three amplifying feedback loops increasing short-term, irregular and low participation, their causes, and their impacts. These feedback loops were precariously buffered by a continuous in-flow of new potential participants each academic year. We also found that the stakeholders of these gardens conceptualised time akin to both temporary and permanent organisations, and these differing conceptualisations were a source of tension. Furthermore, although ‘organisational amnesia’ was a problem, the gardens were still learningful spaces. We recommend both upstream and downstream solutions are implemented to buffer the impacts of transience and suggest that university and students’ union staff could play a crucial and subtle supporting role.
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The Quality Criteria for ESD Schools booklet (Breiting S, Mayer M, Mogensen F, Quality criteria for ESD schools. Guidelines to enhance the quality of Education for Sustainable Development. ENSI/SEED & Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science & Culture, Vienna, 2005) has been the most widely distributed publication of the “Environment and School Initiatives” (ENSI) network. It has been translated into 18 languages, quoted by international and national publications, presented in international conferences and training courses, used by schools, teacher trainers and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Centres and adopted by national authorities. At the end of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development 2005–2014 (DESD) this chapter discusses the concept and context of the booklet and its approach as a contribution to ESD development at the local level. Among other themes, its vision of ESD is compared to the aims of the Decade, with a special focus on a ‘whole institution approach’.
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We report a study which explored sustainable development self-efficacy (SDSE) beliefs, that is, domain-specific self-efficacy beliefs concerning one’s ability to foster sustainable development. We propose that the following aspects be considered when studying SDSE: The three dimensions of sustainable development (environmental preservation, social fairness, economic welfare) and direct as well as indirect behaviors influencing sustainable development. In an online survey among Norwegian consumers (N = 402), we measured SDSE, general self-efficacy (GSE; Schwarzer, 1993), and two indicators of sustainable consumption. A factor analysis yielded four separable facets of SDSE: The perceived ability (i) to encourage others to act sustainably, (ii) to promote environmental preservation by one’s own actions and consumption decisions, (iii) to promote social fairness and economic welfare through one’s consumption, and (iv) to promote social fairness and economic welfare through one’s actions in general. Self-efficacy concerning encouraging others turned out to be the strongest predictor of sustainable consumption behavior, stronger than self-efficacy concerning directly preserving the environment. The latter was a significant predictor only for choices of ecological produce. GSE did not contribute to predicting sustainable consumption. We discuss the structure of the SDSE concept, its role in shaping sustainable consumption decisions, and how it might be extended in future studies.
Other references National Union of Students (NUS) (n.d.). Student Eats Evaluation -Baseline survey | Student summary report
  • B C Sellers
  • S M Fiore
  • J Szalma
Sellers, B. C., Fiore, S. M., & Szalma, J. (2013). Developing a scale of environmental efficacy. International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice, 8, 169-195. Other references National Union of Students (NUS) (n.d.). Student Eats Evaluation -Baseline survey | Student summary report. Retrieved on October 24, 2018, from https://sustainability.unioncloud.org/student-eats/research