Student Activism with Sustainability in Higher Education


  • Jaylene Murray University of Saskatchewan


With the increasing awareness and acceptance of the anthropogenic impacts on the environment, universities are being pressured globally to lead the way to fostering sustainable societies. As a result of global pressures, increasing numbers of higher education institutions are addressing sustainability issues in relation to curriculum, facilities operations, research, and stakeholder engagement. As a large university stakeholder group, students contribute significantly to campus sustainability initiatives, yet limited research has examined their roles in any detail. This research seeks to expand knowledge about student activism with campus sustainability by exploring how and why they choose to become involved. The methodological approach of rapid assessment process using interviews, focus groups, and sidewalk surveys is used to investigate the drivers and barriers to student engagement with campus sustainability at six Canadian universities. Understanding the drivers and barriers that impact the ability of students to effectively engage with sustainability may inspire other university stakeholders to better support and empower this critical stakeholder group.