With the current rising concern over sustainable development, industries across the globe are exploring alternatives to standardize manufacturing processes and materials with more sustainable substitutes that are innovative and re-engineered to reduce energy consumption, pollution and waste generation. Despite some modest progress, there is a need for industries to take environmental responsibilities more seriously to drive immediate results. More manpower and skillsets are needed to understand the essential requirements in industrial practices for the transformational change in the environment.
With a strong support system from universities and educational institutes, the future leaders of industries can get the right foundation to take strategic and meaningful steps to build an industrial framework that is ecological friendly. Students can be in a better position to evaluate the current state of concerns and future potential of the environmental crisis when they gain a deeper understanding of technologies and design strategies while learning the subjects in their domain. There is a need for universities and institutes to make sustainable programs a universal practice to direct the bright minds of today for a better future. This way, students can be the future change-agents and set a mark on sustainable practices with a fresh perspective. Students can gain a stronger value system to build the right eco-system in industries and adopt environment-friendly practices.
Universities can act as a controlling body to bridge the gap between educational institutes and industries while designing the syllabus for the students. The curriculum needs to involve insights from the industry bodies to understand their requirement. If involving industry experts in the curriculum becomes a mandatory procedure by universities, there is more scope for students to build the right skillsets as per industry requirements.
Institutes can create multiple interdisciplinary and culturally relevant programs on sustainability wherein each program can act as a platform for students to face the sustainability challenges on a global level and allow them to construct solutions that can address these challenges. Universities and institutes can create a powerhouse of individuals that can execute effective sustainability measures through a series of programs. Major topics like energy conservation, waste reduction, dimensions of global warming, sustainability policies can be a good start for students to think as future change-agents. Apart from these topics, institutes can engage students in sustainable driven programs. Here are a few programs that can be explored:
"There is a need for universities and institutes to make sustainable programs a universal practice to direct the bright minds of today for a better future"
Industrial conferences are one of the effective platforms for students to get exposure to current industry practices, expert opinions, and research analysis. Conferences about sustainability are a strong forum for students and industrials to synergize efforts and develop key factors in the industry that are affecting the environment. The platform allows students to share their queries and thoughts about the challenges and solutions for sustainable measures. For instance, there is an increasing demand for sustainability among consumers; however, it does not translate to the same degree with their wallets in actual purchases. There is a need to close this gap and address the changing consumer behavior. Conferences can be a great forum to analyze solutions to such issues.
Similar to conferences, panel discussions can be a great platform for students to engage with industry experts and influencers to come forward with concepts that can address the crux of the matter. Panel discussions bring more perspectives and help engage students to think in all angles about the same situation.
Project Driven Events
Through project-driven events, the students can be allowed to think and create innovative sustainable plans. This gives the students more exposure and visibility in the industry and boosts their confidence to convert their ideas into tangible assets.
Workshops by Industrial Experts
Workshops are one of the best formats to engage with the students as a sustainable program. Through this method, students gain knowledge and clarity in direction. The technicalities are taught through teaching experts.
Long-term Internship Programs
Internship programs provide a practical outlook to their theoretical learning. Through long-term internship programs with organizations that are practicing sustainable measures, the students understand the organization processes, challenges, solutions and adapt to this format in their future course of a career.
There is also a need for tutorials that can juxtaposition the current industry practices with sustainable industry practices in their respective education domain. This will prepare the students about the future scenarios that can be expected when they start their career and teach a few techniques to bring a sustainable influence into industrial practices.
Institutes can also explore more platforms like quiz, exhibitions for the students to think for the environment and understand the dynamics and challenges.
Students need to apply classroom theories into real-life scenarios, working in conjunction with an external client organization before they graduate from the institute. Hence, there is a need for universities and institutes to increasingly shed light on the industry and give the students more industrial outlook programs that can motivate them to churn more innovative sustainable suggestions for the industry. This will also enhance the probability of the knowledge imparted being applied in their future course of a career.
With consistent efforts among all institutes and universities across the globe to undertake sustainability as a universal practice, the future industry will see fruitful results for the environment.
By Dr. HL Vijaya Kumar, Principal, Vogue Institute of Art & Design
Dr. Vijaya Kumar is the Principal of the Vogue Institute of Art & Design. He has 39 years of profound experience in teaching, administration, research, and development. A seasoned professional, Dr. Kumar proved his expertise in successfully growing institutes by introducing courses that stood out in the designing curriculum, building the right ecosystem for students to gain knowledge and industry exposure. He has achieved multiple awards and accolades which include ISTE National Award by UP Government for the best research work in the field of Science & Technology, and REC Calicut National Award for designing student projects.