The Sustainability Challenge is an interdisciplinary lecture series offered by all four of Vienna’s major universities. The course is intended to introduce today’s students, i.e. tomorrow’s decision makers, to the concept of sustainable development.
As an interface between science, business, and politics, the Sustainability Challenge aims to facilitate cooperation between different sectors to help ensure a just, viable, and livable world for future generations. The Sustainability Challenge approach was based on the fact that sustainable development is only feasible through interdisciplinary cooperation, and helps meet the international demand for interdisciplinary solutions in this field.
The program is offered at the University of Vienna, the Vienna University of Technology, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna. It is under the patronage of the Austrian Commission for UNESCO and is funded in part by the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW). The program is available to 80 Viennese students each year and is based on the four topics climate change, ecological business, sustainable construction and energy, and socioecological policy.
The Sustainability Challenge supplements traditional teaching methods with interdisciplinary group work assignments and service learning, a teaching method that combines classroom instruction with meaningful local community service.
Students should be provided with basic knowledge of the possible consequences of their actions in both private and professional contexts. The teaching and learning methods applied are based on sustainability education methodology, imparting system skills, trans-disciplinary skills, deconstruction and discourse skills and focusing on networks, cycles, and discourse.