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TE Stories

A bridge between students and faculty: The story of oikos Barcelona

oikos Barcelona consist of a textbook example of how oikos is implementing curriculum change in universities. Since its chapter foundation in 2013, the local committee has been incredibly engaged in camp activities and university collaborations achieving a position of a bridge between students and faculty members regarding sustainability progress.

Step by step

Our community was born through a group of compromised students, motivated to bring change in their university (ESADE) both in its external image as a camp (for instance, reducing plastic in the cafeteria) and internal structure, related to syllabus and academic teaching.

After its early years of establishment and strategic planning, its fruits started to show. oikos Barcelona managed to successfully entable a communication channel with faculty members. In particular, it settled a long-term relationship with the “Identity and Mission” department of ESADE, attracted by the dedication and impressive outputs reached by the chapter in raising awareness on sustainability-related issues. Examples of such activities include emotion, an event aimed at discussing the future of mobility, which reached local newspapers, the Sustainability Cycle, which consisted on an annual case competition based on a specific sustainable-related topic or the Sustainability Week, a seven-day long event devoted to raising awareness among students, which was further implemented to teachers. You can find the Annual Reports and full activities conducted for the years 2018-20192019-2020 and 2020-2021 here.

Towards a fruitful collaboration

ESADE was looking forward to a change in its inner structure to entail sustainability as one of its core pillars, and found in oikos the perfect partner. Through a series of prolonged meetings, oikos aided the university with several action plans for the initial shift. 

During the first year of implementation of the sustainability plan in the university, the activities were mainly focused on raising awareness. ESADE alongside oikos Barcelona conducted a series of actions related to increasing consciousness about the university’s impact on sustainability, its strengths and weaknesses in relation to the topic and the perception received by all the stakeholders involved. As student representatives, oikos Barcelona’s goal was to give voice to undergraduate students in their perception of sustainability in the camp. For that objective, the chapter offered ESADE tools such as the PIR survey, which served as a rating panel of the university in its work in that concrete area. Not only did oikos Barcelona impulsed PIR implementation, but achieved through an intensive campaign a representative amount of 1,000 answers from students in its second edition last year. This supposed a qualitative jump since its first edition which achieved 126 answers. Moreover, oikos Barcelona also helped the university design a similar survey for the Law faculty as a starting point for conducting curricular review.  

Currently, the chapter is analysing, together with the Identity and Mission department, all the results compiled and conducting a report of focus areas for the university which will be presented to the Dean in November.

Other activities conducted during the “raise awareness” stage were the implementation of the Sustainability Week as an inclusive project of all the university’s student associations. This meant adapting the project for the involvement of each student organization to conduct an activity related to the SDGs throughout a week, in which we achieved a high participation rate of 550 participants from all kinds of backgrounds (staff members, students etc.). A similar week was also conducted prior to the students, one for professors only in which they were encouraged to develop innovative proposals for the improvement of ESADE as a sustainable faculty. During those days, a whole range of topics were covered, from mental health to gender parity and some impact activities were designed such as a beach clean up in the Barceloneta. 

oikos Barcelona in 2021-2022 term

Based on PIR answers and Law faculty answers, professors are starting to adapt their syllabus in order to include a vision on sustainability in their teachings. Some subjects, such as finance, are being reshaped with the help of oikos international, with the creation of a sustainable finance toolkit, which will aid such transformations in the academic field. Concretely, oikos Barcelona is helping to build a think tank on sustainable finance in ESADE, which will directly collaborate with oikos international sustainable finance Squad, in order to foster research in this area.

This term, ESADE is taking its sustainability plan to a second stage, developing concrete steps towards the achievement of its goals. For that, it has created six working groups, following six different areas of development, which involve faculty members, professors and oikos Barcelona members, as representatives of students’ voices. Concretely, oikos Barcelona is working in the “Curriculum, Investigation and Debate” field, collaborating in  the drafting of  KPIs. 

Hence, oikos Barcelona working areas for this term are the following: 

  • development of a sustainable finance think tank in connection with the sustainable finance toolkit of oikos international, 
  • collaborations with ESADE on curricular review and
  •  PIR implementation, which will be repeated in 2022.

Assessing impact:

  • Raising awareness in several topics conducting activities with a participatory rate as high as 550 people (Sustainability Week), 100 (emotion), 90 (beach clean up, twice a year).
  • Establishing a long-lasting collaboration with ESADE’s Identity and Mission Department
  • PIR implementation with a representative outcome of 1000 answers. 
  • Analysis of the survey and conclusions presented to the Dean.
  • Aiding in curricular review of some concrete subjects. Special input on the creation of a sustainable finance think tank in ESADE for term 2021-2022
  • Involvement on the drafting of ESADE’s sustainability plan for term 2021-2022