Part 1: Introduction to Sustainable Societies

2. Introductions

Instructor and students introduce themselves and the sustainability issue they are most concerned about, thereby exploring the perceived need for more intelligent approaches to social, economic, and environmental problems as the students themselves see them


      • Have nametags available for students to pick-up upon entry. They can be wearable buttons, sticky paper tags, or folded paper that will stand and display their name while at a desk. The folded paper option is preferred, as these types of tags can be easily collected after class by the professor and reused. The instructor can prepare each tag ahead of class using the student list or have the students fill them out upon arrival.
      • Issue Matrix Cards for all students
      • Student Matrix Tracking Sheet for all students

In Class

      • Have students arrange their desks to form a large circle and include yourself in it, so that all are able to see one another speak. This arrangement will facilitate class discussion and should be used for the rest of the course, with the exception of final presentations (Part 4).
      • Hand out a Student Matrix Tracking Sheet to every student.
      • Inform the students that you will be having each student stand and introduce themselves by stating their name, where they are from, why they chose to take the course (if it is not a requirement), and, referring to the Issues Matrix, the issue or issue interrelationship that concerns them personally, and why that issue or interrelationship is important to them. They might want to cite a personal experience, something learned through their studies, a current matter that is local to their home, or a particular feature they noticed in the Education for Sustainable Development Video.
      • Introduce yourself in this fashion first and describe an issue interrelationship that is important to you in order to provide them with an example. Citing multiple reasons for the issue interrelationship’s importance, such as an experience and a feature from the Education for Sustainable Development Video will help make clear what is expected.
      • Review the Student-Matrix Tracking Sheet and instruct students that taking notes on each student according to what issue or issues concern him or her will be helpful in later course assignments.
      • Ask the students to keep their introductions to about a minute, depending on class size, so that everyone will have an opportunity to introduce themselves.
      • Be sure to record each student’s personal sustainability issue concerns, perceptions, and attitudes. Return to them in Part 2 of the course when the particular issue is being discussed in class.