The Student Voice: Experiences of Student Engagement in Education for Sustainable Development

  • Rachel Drayson
  • Charlotte TaylorEmail author
Part of the World Sustainability Series book series (WSUSE)


Significant policy level action aimed at driving implementation of education for sustainable development (ESD) across Higher Education Institutions is currently taking place in the UK. Taking a student focused perspective; this paper looks at student attitudes, skills and experiences of sustainable development ‘on the ground’. The paper presents findings from longitudinal research (2010–2014) conducted by the National Union of Students (NUS) on behalf of the Higher Education Academy designed to ascertain student understanding of sustainable development and their experiences of ESD in teaching and learning. The research also assessed the link between skills for sustainable development, employability and employment. The longitudinal nature of the research provides an insight into the changes that occur throughout students’ university careers and how attitudes have changed over time. These findings are coupled with an insight into the approaches adopted by NUS and the wider student movement in this field. Approaches across the formal and informal curriculum are presented as case studies in student engagement with sustainable development. This paper will be useful to anyone interested in understanding more about the student voice in relation to sustainable development, and learning about some of the practical steps that have been taken to engage the student body.


Education Sustainable development Research Students Skills Employability 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Union of StudentsLondonUK

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