The Sustainable Committee acts as the umbrella organization of ten organizations under the auspices of IE Campus Life and IE University’s Sustainability Office.
The Committee aspires to help IE achieve its substantial goals and create an environment and culture that inspire the students to become the next generation of environmentally conscious and sustainably-minded leaders.
“The ambitions of the Committee align with IE’s overarching goal of sustainability embedded into the education curriculum and the DNA of the whole of IE. The Committee echoes IE’s core value of Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Diversity, and Humanities by incorporating these themes through the different activities by the Club members.” Mia Balansag, Member Sustainable Committee.
The birth of the Environmental Students’ Sustainability Committee spawned from a mission of the different clubs to engage and empower the IE student body and community to become change agents for a sustainable IE campus to thrive. The Student leaders envisioned a collective voice to unify the efforts of all sustainability-focused clubs and initiatives within IE campuses in both Madrid and Segovia. The Committee represents the voice of the students who believe that the University is an ecosystem to cultivate learners to be aware of integrating environmental, economic, and social pillars through education.
Find more about the IE Sustainable Committee below.
Interview with Mia Balansag, Nur Younis (SDG Madrid), and Eco Club Segovia.
The Clubs that represent the committee are IE Net Impact, Rotaract Club Segovia, Campus 89 Chapter, Thirst Project Club, Eco Club Segovia, Eco Club Madrid, SDG Segovia, SDG Madrid, Charity Club, Student Leadership Team, and Student Government.
Why does the committee exist?
The Student leaders envisioned a collective voice to unify the efforts of all sustainability-focused clubs and initiatives within IE campuses in both Madrid and Segovia. The Committee represents the voice of the students who believe that the University is an ecosystem to cultivate learners to be aware of integrating environmental, economic, and social pillars through education.
What has the Committee achieved?
From 2019-2020, the Committee organized over 47 events that were participated by 800 audiences with various themes aligned to assigned action areas for each Club. Every activity organized embodied sustainability values attuned to that of the whole of IE.
To address specific challenges relating to environmental sustainability, each Club agreed with to focus on one of the five (5) areas for 2020
- Plastic– Acknowledgment of the harm of plastics litter for our marine environment and to raise awareness of choosing the sustainability of the alternatives.
- Paper– Reduction on paper wastes and increasing awareness amongst IE students about deforestation, and how valuable trees are for our environment.
- Energy consumption– Incentivizing people about a decrease in energy consumption is one of the main factors that are influencing climate change.
- Water– Incentivizing people to reduce wastewater to preserve the resources we still have. Clean essential water for everyone is a crucial part of the survival of humanity.
- Fashion – is the movement of designing, creating, and buying garments for quality and longevity. The focus of the activities will be to raise awareness on encouraging slower production schedules, fair wages, and lower carbon footprints.
What is the Sustainability Committee most proud of?
From Oct 2019 – Jan 2020, the Committee representatives participated in the Sustainability Taskforce, an initiative sponsored by IE leadership, to conduct a behavioral mapping of insights from the IE community on axes such as plastics, paper, and energy consumption. The Committee was part of the Subgroup: Expert Taskforce, who conducted a benchmarking of best practices of leading universities worldwide who have already transitioned into sustainability practices to leverage on lessons learned. The key takeaways from the expert research is that positive framing on the benefits of sustainability and making the change easy will engage the individuals to make meaningful changes. The key message from the Sustainability Taskforce demonstrates that there are a strong will and demand from both the students, the faculty, and the staff for a more sustainable university. The Taskforce presented their findings to IE’s Senior Leadership in Jan 2020, which garnered positive accolades. The IE Sustainability Office has incorporated the findings and suggestions into the sustainability thrusts of the education curriculum, which has pledged to commit to investing EUR 10million budget for a 10-year-challenge.
Our biggest achievement so far, we would say its creation! We think IE has been… struggling a lot to become more sustainable (recycling issues, excessive use of paper and plastic, few sustainability courses…). The fact that the Sustainability Office allowed and coordinated students and staff to create its own body to promote sustainability says a lot about the impact that environmentally conscious clubs like ours are having in the university.
The Committee’s main goal for next year is to achieve our 4 areas’ targets, which include reducing waste management by 20%, reducing single-use packaging by 50%, and increasing IE’s community overall wellbeing by 60% by the end of 2020, among others. Each club will be in charge of a different area and organize events and initiatives accordingly. It will definitely be a challenging beginning since we will have to think about how to effectively engage students, faculty, and staff in our new hybrid model, but at the same time, it will be an interesting and necessary step to take.
What are the upcoming plans of the Sustainability Committee?
SDG Challenge of the Year
The Committee aligns with IE’s sustainability challenge of 2020 on SDG 12: Responsible consumption. SDG 12 calls for rethinking the current unsustainable patterns of the way we consume goods and resources to achieve sustainable development by “doing more and better with less”.
One of the communication strategies envisioned by the Committee is to raise awareness of the SDGs by unleashing the power of viral social media. The SDG Filter project is a brainchild of three (3) Masters in International Development students from the IE School of Global and Public Affairs. The founders have participated in the SDG Challenge organized by SDG Club in February 2020 to come up with proposals for raising awareness. The Committee targets to coincide with the launching of the SDG filter campaign with SDG’s 5th Anniversary in September 2020.
Green Week 3rd Edition
The Committee is currently planning the 3rd edition of Green Week that will take place in November 2020 in both Madrid and Segovia on campuses and virtually. The objectives of the weeklong celebration will be to create awareness on improving waste management practices and creating a shared responsibility for achieving the focused SDG 12 through workshops, exhibitions, forums, and other networking events.
What have you learned as part of the committee?
As part of the committee, I have learned not only about sustainability but also about organization and timing because we work towards a specific goal and once it is set we start to break it down and each of us has a specific task which makes it really easy to work in and really efficient. We also work with deadlines and from people from many professional backgrounds which gave me the opportunity to develop my analytical skills and look at sustainability from different perspectives. It has been a very enriching experience and I will continue to help IE with this incredible endeavor they are doing. – Nur Younis, SDG Madrid.
“That it is always good to collaborate with other clubs. Sometimes we talk about ideas we have, and every club gives perspectives that end up polishing that idea, either because they have experience in a particular activity, they know somebody that might be of help or because they have a similar idea and would like to collaborate! It is great that sustainability clubs now have a direct, common channel of communication.” – Eco Club Segovia
We need to spread our values and this is now our new way of life. Sustainability is not only about the environment, it entails many other aspects such as business and technology. Sustainability aims to increase and improve our wellbeing and health while ensuring that of the future generations by driving innovation. There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals and I am sure that everyone feels identified with at least one of them due to the fact that they are specifically designed for our common wellbeing.
Take part and be involved with the Environmental Sustainability Students Committee because the beautiful planet we live in needs more of changemakers like you and me.
How can we take part in the Sustainability Committee?
Step 1. Log into your Campus Life IE credentials and search the Club with the sustainability thrust that appeals to your interests.
Step 2. Attend the events and network with fellow like-hearted sustainability advocates
Step 3. Be a role model by sharing awareness with your friends, families, and the community.
Step 4. Get to know of the Clubs of the Sustainability Committee along with their focus areas for 2020:
Eco Club (Water & Energy)
Segovia & Madrid Chapters
The joint mission of the Chapters is to change people through education and to inform students about the existing alternatives and help them become more conscious about the actions they take. Both campus chapters have a shared vision of awareness on topics such as recycling, waste management, etc.
Charity Club (Fashion)
The charity club envisions social inclusion within the Madrid community by promoting volunteering efforts among the students.
Campus 89 Chapter (Paper)
IE Campus89’s goal is to raise awareness of children’s rights and the limits they are currently facing, inspire students by showing the constant work done by UNICEF and highlight possible actions for change.
Thirst Project (Water)
The Thirst Project Club partners with a non-profit organization, Thirst Project, that works with the support of young people to END the global water crisis by building freshwater wells in developing communities that need safe, clean drinking water.
Net Impact Club (Plastics)
The IE Net Impact Club is a member of the broader, international Net Impact organization that seeks to empower students and professionals to drive positive change in the workplace and the world.
Rotaract Club – Segovia (Food)
The Rotaract Club aims to serve the people, environment, and animals of the local community in Segovia by working with NGOs. The Club achieves its thrusts through fundraising and active volunteering, in addition to growing a network of like minded people.
SDG Club (Plastics & Energy)
The overarching vision of the Madrid and Segovia Chapters is to bring awareness to topics regarding economic development in support of the UN’s Sustainable Development agenda while fundraising to bring real impact abroad through projects related to economic development.