Nurturing generations of Change Makers to tackle global challenges
Since its inception in 2012, all of Imperial’s students have had the opportunity to become Change Makers. Aligning with SDG 4, cross-departmental teams of students are tasked with using their skills to design broad, innovative and inclusive solutions for global challenges.
In the first-year Change Makers module, students are introduced to the SDGs by critiquing the framework through the lenses of strategy, measurement and innovation. Over 240 students registered for this optional module in 2020, demonstrating the student body’s immense enthusiasm for interdisciplinary and solutions driven learning.
Following that, the modules are directed towards teams of students designing feasible solutions for real-world sustainable development challenges. This builds upon the students’ knowledge of the SDGs, with projects focusing on the inclusion of women in development (SDG 5), smart cities (SDG 11) and health and wellbeing (SDG 3).
Postgraduate students are also offered the opportunity to experience Change Makers. Elysia Lucas, a PhD candidate in the Department of Chemical Engineering, embarked on an undergraduate module and has since returned to the programme as a co-learner. Elysia states that “The Change Maker module truly enriched my degree by allowing me to explore the wider sustainable development context. Now as a co-learner, I have the opportunity to facilitate a similar experience for current students.”
Course director Dr Elizabeth Hauke is keen to emphasise the real-world impact that every person has the power to make. She states “The first steps are for the students to build their own understandings of the issues facing humanity, alongside exploring the SDG framework. Students need to feel that the SDGs capture and frame issues that they care deeply about and empower them to create and live change in their own communities and beyond.”