Fulbright scholar, Dr John Callewaert, from the University of Michigan, spent three weeks at the University learning about its initiatives and sharing his own knowledge on the subject with students, staff and alumni.
Dr Callewaert’s visit was part of the Fulbright Specialist Programme Exchange sponsored by the US-UK Fulbright Commission, which encourages cultural understanding through educational exchange.
The Fulbright Programme offers scholarships and grants helping around 50 UK and 50 US citizens to study, lecture or carry out research at leading institutions in the two countries each year.
The University of Worcester was last month ranked fifth most sustainable higher education institution in the country in People and Planet’s University League.
Sustainability academic Dr Callewaert, who is Emerging Opportunities Programme Director at the University of Michigan’s Graham Sustainability Institute, provided ideas for possible next steps that the University could take towards greater sustainability.
These included regular courses on sustainability problem solving, a database of staff with sustainability experience and bringing together the University’s different surveys on sustainability.
On his visit, Dr Callewaert toured the University, including The Hive library, met sustainability students, spoke with leading figures at the University and presented the University of Michigan’s green strategies to key staff.
He talked with a representative from Energize Worcester, a student-led project supported by the University, which helps students save energy in shared housing.Dr Callewaert said: “I found my time at the University to be very rewarding and learned a great deal.
“The University of Worcester is known as one of the fastest growing universities in the UK and also widely recognised for its sustainability efforts.
“Those characteristics present a range of opportunities and challenges. An impressive array of sustainability efforts is in place led by students and staff through courses, research, and innovative partnerships with the local community. I hope my ideas have the potential to develop the University’s sustainability strengths at a time of growth.”
University of Worcester Director of Sustainability, Katy Boom, said: “John’s insights and experience have been immensely valuable.
“We are now also working together to put both universities’ sustainability data into the public domain through an online platform.”
University of Worcester representatives visit the University of Michigan in May next year to present papers at the World Sustainability and Social Science Research Symposium.