The new semester begins in France in mid-September, and some universities are already starting in Germany as well. “Hybrid” is the new operating model: as much presence as possible, as much distance as necessary. Sustainability and digitization have become two sides of a coin. A lot is changing in the course of study: semesters and internships abroad are difficult to organize under Covid-19. Discussions in online seminars are a challenge as well as working in different time-zones, technical equipment and costs for digital teaching.
n recent months, I have been impressed by the commitment of many students who, among other things, have helped to organize adequate technical equipment for fellow students who do not have the financial means to do so. That was “lived solidarity”. Generally speaking, the term “solidarity” is very often used when it comes to sustainability: many young students are involved that all people have the same educational and development opportunities.
Often in my courses the question of common values or a common maxim was asked. We quickly came up with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. They are well known. Many students have already dealt with them before but making these goals a global maxim and the basis for concrete action at all levels was a challenging new idea for them. There have been good discussions about how these 17 goals can be a guideline for everyone, but also for the economy, politics and society to change social processes. This exchange and the insight into how much the 17 goals for solidarity and sustainable action already set were certainly one of the defining moments of the courses.
In the feedback and planning process for the upcoming semester, I notice that there is great interest in “Basics of Sustainability” and therefore a willingness to help shape social processes. Covid-19 changes so much in our society, in politics and in the economy. The UN Sustainable Development Goals should be our roadmap to accompany and influence these changes.
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