With the lecture series "Climate crisis and consciousness change" and a poster exhibition on the same topic, the nine universities in the Austrian province of Styria set an example for overcoming disciplinary and institutional boundaries. The currently ongoing lecture series and the exhibition complement each other and thus address a large target group that includes both students and the general public. The aim of the lectures is not only to impart knowledge, but above all to promote interdisciplinary exchange and to involve the audience in the discussion.
In the fight against climate change – among other measures – a fundamental change in human behavior patterns and an associated change in consciousness are necessary. High-quality education (SDG 4) plays a central role in this. With a lecture series and a poster exhibition, the nine Styrian universities – consisting of five universities, two pedagogical universities and two universities of applied sciences – take joint responsibility and bring the topic to society in a scientifically sound manner. In doing so, they are setting an example of overcoming disciplinary and institutional boundaries, which is an imperative approach for complex challenges such as the climate crisis.
The participation of nine universities with different areas of specialization and expertise makes it possible to look at the topic from different angles and to address several target groups at the same time. In addition to the transfer and exchange of knowledge, the aim is also to enable colleagues from the universities to get to know each other and to work together.
From the point of view of the universities, the organization of the lecture series is largely decentralized. The initiative "Sustainability4U", consisting of representatives of the four universities in Graz (including CA member University of Graz), is coordinating the lecture series. The core team coordinates with the contact persons of the other universities with regard to content and administration, whereby each university has a free hand in the choice of their lecturers who can be both internal and external experts.
The format of the lectures is open; the goal is, in addition to providing interesting lectures, above all to promote interdisciplinary exchange and to involve the audience in the discussion. In addition to students, the general public is also addressed. The lectures take place in the classical sense of a lecture series, each week at the same time, alternately at one of the university locations. Livestreams, recordings and additional material are made available on a joint website. For students of the four universities in Graz, the lecture series can be taken as a free elective course.
A poster exhibition consisting of 12 posters on the same topic complements the lecture series. During the semester, these will be installed at the universities' locations to raise awareness of the climate crisis and related practical issues (e.g. consumption, nutrition, mobility). The posters stand for themselves in terms of content and are also freely available online. In addition to the universities, Styrian schools from the fifth grade upwards were actively invited to receive the poster exhibition free of charge. Almost 50 schools responded to this call, thus bringing the topic closer to another target group.
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