1. Title of the Practice:
Integration of UNSDGs into teaching-learning, research, governance, operations, and partnerships for socio-economic transformation and sustainable development.
2. Objectives of the Practice:
Integral University's mission is "to make India a self-reliant and dominant G-1 country recognized for quality education, higher economic growth, and valuable moral practices". The 17 SDGs serve as a perfect roadmap to attain this mission and have been adopted by the Integral university to transcend into a hub for innovation, creativity, and collaboration for addressing sustainable development challenges, and as an engine of societal transformation, translating the targets into tangible actions.
The objectives of this best practice:
- Successfully integrating the SDGs into teaching-learning, research, governance, operations, partnerships, and culture for socio-economic transformational networking both locally and nationally.
- Realizing the importance of economic viability, social equity, and environmental protection as important pillars of sustainable development.
- Linking the research- and education-relevant understanding of sustainable development between the goals and the academics in terms of curriculum development, pedagogical outlook, knowledge base, research and innovation, and openness between disciplines.
- General and professional education for sustainable development (ESD) skills and competencies for faculty and students, reorienting the curricula and SDG-mapping of courses to enhance awareness for optimally contributing to the United Nations' SDG Agenda 2030.
3. The Context
Integral University's vision is "To integrate the ebullience, intellect, and dynamism of youth with decency, decorum, discipline, and dedication through value-based quality education." University-led community engagement initiatives are gaining momentum, driven by shifting perspectives from knowledge producer to co-creator of solutions with greater involvement of faculty, staff, and students. Universities occupy a unique position within society and play an important role in building knowledge-based societies. With nine years remaining to achieve the SDGs, there is an urgent need to help society transform into sustainable development paths through four main areas:
- Learning and Teaching
- Organizational Governance, Culture, and Operations of the University
- Effective Leadership
Integral University is committed to playing a pivotal role and serving as the engine of transformational sustainability toward delivering solutions to the SDGs. Universities are a “living lab” participating in action-oriented research and sustainability research education with deep connections to wide stakeholders. They are embedded within communities and offer infinite opportunities for partnership, research, and actions toward improving the well-being of people and the planet.
IU promotes academic freedom and the right to free speech, and both are crucial in producing knowledge relevant to our understanding of global challenges and offering science-based solutions. The SDGs challenge us to make explicit the kinds of knowledge relevant to the problems we face, from poverty (Goal 1) to global cooperation for peace (Goal 16). Training of key competencies and the focus on problem-based learning per se may be regarded as education for sustainable development, their factual content, and their synergies and trade-offs, as the content of courses and curricula can be described as education about sustainable development.
IU has adopted SDGs 1 to 14 as the guiding principle for all its actions and decisions; this will help to achieve the Social, Economic, and Environmental goals for people and places impacted directly by the university. IU strives to stabilize these three elements of sustainable development in its eco-system and create a role model for significant scale impact on humankind and the planet.
In general, the actions, decisions, and initiatives at the university are aligned with the goals of UNSDG and evaluated based on their impact on any one or multiple SDGs. The underlying principle is that all actions must take Integral University a step ahead towards achieving sustainability goals.
Good health and well-being (SDG3)
- Regular awareness programs and seminars on healthcare and well-being in and beyond the campus.
- Curricula have been redesigned to incorporate components oriented toward diverse and marginalized populations. Example: Revision of curriculum for Health Sciences, Agriculture, and Law
- The university actively promotes extension activities beyond the curriculum and organizes events related to health / social issues in the neighborhood.
Quality education Initiatives (SDG 1, 2, 4, 11)
- Introduced Programs with academic flexibility and outcome-based education (OBE) framework to enhance students' employability skills by integrating discipline-specific and interdisciplinary/ multidisciplinary electives in curricula.
- Blended learning mode through various online and offline resources.
- Courses on relevant cross-cutting issues added to the curriculum of many programs, like Gender Equity, Human Values, Professional Ethics, Environment, and Sustainability. Example: Elective courses focusing on 'sustainable development' introduced by Architecture and Civil Engineering department; course on ‘Gender Equity’ offered as an open elective to all graduate students.
Gender equality (SDG5)
- IU is an equal opportunity campus that offers women equal learning opportunities in education and equal employment opportunities in recruitment.
- IU organizes activities to sensitize the attendees about Women's Safety and Gender Equality. Sessions for training on self-defense are organized for the girl students.
- IU provides a safe environment for all students and staff.
- An active Women Grievance Cell focused on gender-related grievances exists on the campus to deal with all such grievances. Click Here
Counselling & Reduced Inequalities (SDG10)
- The University Law Department conducts regular free legal aid clinics in the nearby villages. It helps draft and file petitions with sufficient legal assistance to the needy and underprivileged section of society. 100+ locals have benefited from this initiative in the last five years. Click Here
- Women Grievance Cell does regular counseling sessions which help to build trust and camaraderie amongst women on campus.
Affordable and clean energy (SDG7)
- The institution has installed facilities for alternate sources of energy and energy conservation, viz. Solar energy, wheeling to the grid, sensor-based energy conservation, and switching to LED bulbs and power-efficient equipment.
- Integral University has adopted SPV Technology to reduce its reliance on conventional power and installed a 1 MWp Rooftop Grid Interactive Solar Power Plant as per Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) guidelines & specifications. Click Here
Industry innovation (SDG9)
- University has a Centre for Incubation & Entrepreneurship Development (CIED) to encourage and foster an entrepreneurial culture on the campus and develop an environment of innovation and creativity.
Training to farmers (SDG 8,12)
- Department of Agriculture actively engages in farmer training in the vicinity. Farmers are trained in organic farming and modern farming techniques, helping them improve the quality and output of their produce.
Clean Water and Sanitation (SDG6)
- Cleanliness drives and activities like Shramdaan are undertaken in five villages adopted by the university under the Unnat Bharat Abhiyaan scheme.
- As a step towards zero liquid discharge, Integral University has a biogas plant and a Sewage Treatment Plant of 1 MLD capacity to treat sewage and organic waste, respectively.
Environment Consciousness (SDG13, 14)
- IU is contributing to environmental conservation through several initiatives. IU has a lush green campus with a 30 % green cover with the conservation of flora, fauna, and genetic resources for agriculture. Tree plantation drives are organized to add to the green cover.
- University has implemented rainwater harvesting on campus as part of the groundwater recharge strategy. IU has secured 29th rank in India and 684th rank in UI Green Metric World University Ranking 2021.
- Waste management, energy conservation, use of solar energy, no horn campus, the ban on plastics, etc., are some regular activities helping in environmental conservation.
6. Evidence of success
A focused approach with actions aligned with UN SDGs 1 to 14 ensures that Integral University progresses in leaps and bounds towards the objective of sustainable development in all three categories of SDGs, namely, social, economic, and environmental.
- Activities to promote government initiatives like Swachh Bharat Mission, Atma-Nirbhar Bharat, Mission Shakti, and others. The university has adopted five villages and undertakes several activities there, benefitting a population of 15,000 residents.
- The District Magistrate awarded Integral University's IIMSR a certificate of appreciation for outstanding work towards the treatment of Covid-19 patients in the neighboring areas and participation in covid-19 vaccination drive.
- Law Department's Legal Aid office conducts regular camps on the campus, and more than 100+ residents from nearby areas have benefited from this initiative.
Value-added courses are conducted regularly for the skill development of students to increase employability.
- CIED launched an ambitious program, "STARTUP PATHSHALA," which offers students a series of entrepreneurship education programs.
- Training program on Mushroom Cultivation arranged for female farmers on International Women's Day.
- IU also contributes to the upliftment of nearby communities by employing them at varying levels.
- IU has installed a 1MW solar PV plant for fulfilling a part of its energy requirement through renewable energy, which results in an estimated 1460 Tons of reduced carbon emission per year.
- University has implemented rainwater harvesting on campus as part of the groundwater recharge strategy. The rainwater from the rooftops is collected through a separate pipeline, filtered, and stored in sumps for re-utilization.
- Integral University was recognized for its Green Initiatives and awarded the 557th ranking by UI Green Metric World University ranking in 2017.
- Concerned with the seriousness of the Parthenium threat, IIAST, Integral University organizes awareness rallies in nearby villages to make the local farmers aware of the menace of the deadly famous Parthenium weed.
- Elective courses focusing on 'sustainable development' introduced by Architecture and Civil Engineering department. Example: "CE653 Sustainable Design and Value Analysis" and "CE316 Sustainable Construction Techniques"
6. Problems Encountered and Resources Required
- Though we are decisively moving towards achieving sustainable development and social transformation through a series of actions, these are just baby steps.
- One of the greatest challenges is silo-thinking and to make substantial progress towards the fulfillment of Agenda 2030, academia must furthermore increase collaboration with all stakeholders of society.
- Quality evaluation systems for self-evaluation to reward initiatives about sustainable development.
- Bringing about a change on the ground level requires sustained activities and grants/financial support to maintain the momentum that will go a long way to make a more significant impact.