Working with students to accelerate change
Grenoble Ecole de Management (GEM) has a long history of engaging students in sustainability strategy transversally, dating back to their participation in its first sustainability committee in 2009 and creating the first student association for sustainability in 2006.
Like many higher-education organizations, GEM has struggled to maintain links and awareness of initiatives and policies that nurture and mature sustainability projects from one year to the next, especially with the student body. The school often found itself starting from scratch or “reinventing the wheel” each academic year due to the natural turnover of students or gaps in perception and visibility of what the school is doing to integrate sustainability transversally.
Analyzing the qualitative feedback received from the Positive Impact Rating allows the school mapping of the critical areas impacted and has helped identify the gaps between reality and students’ perception of what the school should stop or start doing. The process has helped GEM better communicate with the students on 1) what it has been doing but has not been “perceived”, 2) what can’t be done yet because of financial or other constraints, 3) to identify priorities that the Sustainability Committee should be focusing on in the coming year, especially in the task force on sustainability teaching and research.
The Sustainability Hub ensures the smooth transfer of knowledge and projects from one year to the next by signing annual partnership agreements with the newly elected ImpACT administrative officers. For example, the deployment of the Positive Impact Rating, the back-to-school Sustainability integration training workshops for the CRS representatives of the 22 school associations, or the co-chairing of the Sustainability Committee are all key projects involving close collaboration between students and staff consolidated long-term through the partnership agreement.