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Participation of student authors in reports on sustainability

Andreas Schoeps (Faculty of Mathematics and Geography, Roman Catholic University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt, Eichstaett, Germany)
Ingrid Hemmer (Faculty of Mathematics and Geography, Roman Catholic University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt, Eichstaett, Germany)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 15 January 2018

Issue publication date: 18 January 2018

Abstract

Purpose

Since 2012, the University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt has been publishing an annual report on sustainability as part of its whole institution approach (WIA). This study aims to examine the participation in writing this report as it is experienced by the student stakeholders involved. The overall goal is to gain expertise concerning further improvement of students’ participation in sustainability-related aspects as part of WIAs.

Design/methodology/approach

The research is based on an explorative, qualitative study conducted at the Roman Catholic University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt. Students who have been involved in writing the university’s report on sustainability were interviewed, using in-depth, semi-structured interviews.

Findings

Various categories relevant for a successful participation have been found. Foremost, there are no general barriers seen which are hindering students from participating in writing the reports. Specific students’ motivation can be gained from work-related experiences and sustainability-related university classes. Students perceived the effects of their work as mostly restricted to the university. Their intellectual contribution was regarded as limited owing to structures given and their student worker status. Positive effects included an increased awareness of sustainability-related activities at the university and increased competences regarding research and writing. Suggestions for improvement comprised the instalment of databanks, special sustainability report-writing classes and motivational measures.

Originality/value

Very few studies have addressed the issue of student participation within the WIAs towards sustainable universities. Students’ involvement in writing university reports on sustainability has so far been neglected. Given this, the study presented provides insight into students’ participation and reveals fields needing further development to ensure successful WIAs.

Keywords

Citation

Schoeps, A. and Hemmer, I. (2018), "Participation of student authors in reports on sustainability", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 249-265. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-08-2016-0155

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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