A few years after graduating with a mouthful of a Master’s Degree (Responsible Management and Sustainable Economic Development) and many months of searching for a way to apply it to ‘real life,’ besides an unpaid internship, I finally found a great way to share the love. For the past 8 weeks I have been teaching Leadership for Sustainable Management as a professor at a local University to a small group of students, all from places outside of the US.
In my social circle, the term ‘sustainability’ is often peppered into discussion about policy, development and environmental issues. I live in Colorado, a state that is rather progressive on this front, having a local government that spouts ‘going green’ as a way of living, an expanding light rail (and bike-sharing) system as well as generally active community that supports sustainable ideology. Of course, sometimes I still come across naysayers who laugh at the term and say it doesn’t really matter.
Before this course, none of my students understood what sustainability, and more importantly, corporate social responsibility means to the world today. Something that has become so common for me, and many of my colleagues, is still rather new to most people in the world.
After finding a multitude of resources online, I settled on two amazing authors to guide my way (see below). We learned the history, terms and measurement tools and hopes for the future of sustainability. We watched videos, read case studies and analyzed businesses that practice corporate social responsibility. Finally, at the end of the course, I asked my students to summarize the course in their own words.
Aida, a student from Southern Sudan said simply: “The good life.” I was struck by her unassuming clarity.
Ultimately, after all of our studies, this is really what sustainability comes down to:
For me, thinking of it this way makes moving forward so much easier.
I practice The Good Life.
What a beautiful way to think of the world.
What does sustainability mean to you?
- The Sustainability Revolution and Thriving Beyond Sustainability, by Andres R. Edwards
- Mainstreaming Corporate Sustainability, by Suzanne Farver
- Thanks to Teri at Wash Perk Coffee for showing the students your sustainable business practices.
I am incredibly thankful to my students from whom I continually learn.