Embedding enterprise focused education for sustainable development: lessons from undergraduate student experiences in product design

Siena, L. ORCID: 0000-0002-6908-7365, Domingues, A.R. ORCID: 0000-0002-2555-3889, Bull, R. ORCID: 0000-0002-4372-3589, Jensen, P., Cutts, A., Price, O. and Forbes, C., 2022. Embedding enterprise focused education for sustainable development: lessons from undergraduate student experiences in product design. In: P. Dobers, M. Gawell, J. Gärde and S. Silfverskiöld, eds., Proceedings of the 28th Annual Conference, International Sustainable Development Research Society: Sustainable Development and Courage: Culture, Art and Human Rights, Stockholm and online, Sweden, June 14-17 2022. Stockholm, Sweden: Södertörn University, pp. 196-217. ISBN 9789189504172

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As the world begins to grapple with numerous sustainability challenges such as zero waste, de-materialisation, sustainable consumption, zero emissions and a fair society, product design students must be educated on these key sustainability concepts. In industry, product designers are embedding sustainable values and processes within their everyday design practice when developing new products and services. The Nottingham Trent University (NTU) Sustainability in Enterprise (SiE) project is working to support local businesses within the Greater Nottingham area to help improve their environmental performance across four key areas: People, Products, Processes and Premises. We present a case study whereby for the first time, first-year BSc Product Design students at NTU act as design consultants during a focussed "Sustainability Week" to support local enterprises. During Sustainability Week, teams of BSc Product Design students undertook a project alongside a Nottingham, UK, based chocolate shop and bakery by reviewing their existing product line and packaging solutions. Students selected an existing packaging solution and designed new solutions associated with less and alternative materials for their products. Students learnt through discovery, experience, experimentation, research, practical doing, and other forms of experiential learning. During sustainability week, qualitative data through observation was collected to analyse the development of the sustainability week. Data from students was gathered at the end of sustainability week to gain insight into their learning experience. We collected quantitative and qualitative data to assess the students' experience and the project through a survey questionnaire. A mixed-methods approach was used to analyse the data. The development of Sustainability Week has improved student knowledge on sustainable product development. Delivered sessions promoted knowledge acquisition, skills development, and improved attitudes towards global issues, i.e., Responsible Consumption & Production (SDG12). Having attended Sustainability Week, a large proportion of the student cohort suggested that this helped improve their understanding of sustainable concepts within product design. Students submitted a physical model and two presentation boards to communicate their proposed new solutions demonstrating through their project outputs and vocational taught sessions improved knowledge on life cycle assessment, methods of communicating sustainable product solutions through design sketching and a basic understanding of calculating a products carbon footprint. Also, students improved their basic knowledge of designing for longevity, sustainable design considerations and material selection using material databases. Based on the developed Sustainability Week, the success and positive feedback from students resulted in its integration into the BSc Product Design curriculum, with further improvements planned to enhance Sustainability Week in the future. The implementation of sustainability week in the BSc Product Design curriculum will shape new sustainability-conscious product designers and professionals who have insight into sustainable product development whilst being equipped with dedicated tools/learnings to enhance their professional expertise.

Item Type: Chapter in book
Description: Paper presented at the 28th Annual International Sustainable Development Research Society (ISDRS) Conference: Sustainable Development and Courage: Culture, Art and Human Rights, Stockholm, Sweden and online, 15-17 June 2022.
Creators: Siena, L., Domingues, A.R., Bull, R., Jensen, P., Cutts, A., Price, O. and Forbes, C.
Publisher: Södertörn University
Place of Publication: Stockholm, Sweden
Date: 13 December 2022
ISBN: 9789189504172
Rights: Open access details available here: https://sh.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2%3A1718497&dswid=-6739
Divisions: Schools > School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 26 Apr 2023 08:46
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2023 08:50
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/48831

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