Sustainability Literacy:
Faculty, Staff, and Students as Agents of Change

College of Charleston

Charleston, South Carolina

Wednesday, February 12th and Thursday, February 13th, 2020





It is widely believed accepted that there is a perceived need to foster literacy about sustainability, both within and outside higher education institutions. By doing so, one can foster a deeper awareness of sustainable development and its many ramifications into both, professional and personal behaviours. However, the extent to which sustainability literacy exists or is being practiced, has not been sufficiently exploited.

The Symposium “Sustainability Literacy: Faculty, Staff, and Students as Agents of Change” will address this gap. It will focus on the means, methods and processes via which sustainability awareness and literacy may be fostered and deployed, as tools via which we can promote and support sustainability efforts, both within higher education and beyond.

Promoting participatory and inclusive approaches to sustainability, towards the use of literacy, may provide a sound basis for a broader engagement of faculty, staff, and students into matters related to sustainable development. A broader sustainability literacy may lead not only to increased awareness, but also to improvements in both teaching and research programmes.

The transdisciplinary Symposium will bring together lecturers, researchers and practitioners from a wide spectrum of the Social and Natural Sciences, the Humanities, and other domains of higher education, representing sustainability in the widest sense.


European School of Sustainability Science and Research
Inter-University Sustainable Development Research Programme
Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, Germany
Sustainability Curriculum Consortium (SCC)
College of Charleston, South Carolina
Sustainability Literacy Institute, CofC


Prof. Walter Leal
(BSc, PhD, DSc, DPhil, DL, DLitt)
Director, European School of Sustainability Science, Germany

Prof. Ira Feldman
Founder and managing director of Sustainability Curriculum Consortium.
Current research and teaching affiliations: George Mason University, City University of New York, University of Waterloo

Dr. Todd LeVasseur
College of Charleston, Sustainability Literacy Institute


The aims of the Symposium are as follows:

i.        to provide teaching, and research and sustainability staff at universities with an opportunity to display and present their works on sustainability literacy (i.e.  curriculum innovation, empirical work, activities, case studies and practical projects);
ii.        to foster the exchange of information, ideas and experiences acquired in applying sustainability literacy, especially successful initiatives and good practice;
iii.        to network the participants and provide a platform so they can explore the possibilities for further cooperation.

The Symposium will also focus on the means to integrate, promote or otherwise catalyse efforts to implement the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and will contribute to the further development of this central topic.

The Symposium is a further event organised as part of the “Accelerating Sustainable Development Series”, which consists of a series of key gatherings on the subject matter of sustainable development. Other events have been organised with a focus on research (Turin, July 2019), teaching (Stockholm, September 2019) and on campus activities (Spain, 2nd-3rd December 2019).

Last but not least, a further aim of the event will be to document and disseminate the wealth of experiences on implementing sustainability research available today. To this purpose, papers which have been accepted, presented and discussed at the Symposium may be submitted for a special issue of the International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, published by Emerald Publishing (UK), which is the world´s leading journal on sustainability in a higher education context:


Delegates attending the Symposium will come from a cross-sectoral range of areas. These are:

i.        research and teaching staff
ii.        student groups;
iii.        members of university administrations;
iv.        project officers and consultants;
v.        other people interested in the field.

It is believed that this wide range of participants will help to outline the need for integrated approaches towards sustainability and the arts, promote cross-sectorial collaboration and hence contribute towards advancing the cause of integrating sustainability and the arts in higher education even further.


The Symposium will be organized around two main strands:

Strand 1: the posters
Participating universities will be able to put-up displays describing their works, research and teaching projects, and to distribute the relevant information to the participants.

Strand 2: the presentations
A set of presentations will be organized, divided into sections. The programme will be structured when all abstracts have been submitted.

The events organized as part of the “Accelerating Sustainable Development Series” are high level events, which count on a strong participation of interested colleagues and vibrant discussions. Therefore, it is important to note that the submission of papers to the event and their subsequent consideration for the International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education are subject to the following condition: only papers from researchers who have registered, attended the event and presented and discussed their works will be considered for the special issue. Submissions which do not meet this criteria will not be considered.


Conference Images


The event will be held at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC.

The exact address is: 66 George Street, Charleston, SC, 29424.

Directions to CofC:

For more information on visiting and staying in Charleston, please visit these


All questions related to scientific inputs (e.g abstracts, papers) and strategic partnerships should be sent to:

Professor Walter Leal
European School of Sustainability Science, Germany


All questions related to registrations should be sent to:

Dr. Todd LeVasseur