Sustainability Empowerment

University of Applied Sciences HTW Chur, Switzerland, autumn term 2015

Concern for environmental and social issues we face as a society and specifically in tourism is growing. Empathetic people are realizing how their sympathy and compassion can have an effect on a more sustainable world.

Empowering people to design and implement sustainability strategies involves building bridges between science and society through communication and collaboration. The ultimate goal of sustainability empowerment is to motivate the public – and specifically tourism stakeholders – to engage in developing tourism more sustainable.

The Sustainability Empowerment course, positioned at the convergence of science and art, is designed for students who are passionate about sustainability issues and stories and who want to effectively engage, inspire and motivate people who can foster change in tourism. With a focus on a deepened understanding of the science of sustainability, on strategic messaging and technical savvy, students learn to blend science and story-telling using photography and design principles to bridge sustainability competencies with thoughtful communication.

On successfully finishing this course, students will have the capability to engage and to inform tourism stakeholders and the public about best practice in sustainability by effective means. Students will be able to lead the way in changing perspectives on our values related to tourism management and development, to empower themselves and others for taking leadership in sustainability.

Course task and graded output

Students design a vision of a sustainable future for a tourism system of their choice within Switzerland and the canton of Grison in the form of a multimedia blog.

  1. Think about an „ideal“ sustainable tourism system in the year 2050, and describe it using our „sustainabuild“ sustainability model with its six dimensions.
  1. Go then backwards in a backcasting approach to today, and describe how the situation is today, again strcutured by the six dimensions.
  1. Develop 3-5 steps that need to be taken from today to reach your vision.Describe these steps. Find relevant references and base your steps on real data and knowledge. Provide links to background information and try to quantify where possible (carbon footprint, costs, Happy Planet Index,…).
  1. Write in a story-telling blog format – tell a story of your vision and how to get there. Total text length should be between 1500 and 2000 words.
  1. Use multimedia to design an attractive piece of sustainability communication, especially photographs, short movie sections, e.g. interviews, sketches, graphics etc.

There are seven groups having designed the following blogs:

Agritourism 2050

Solar Power Village 2050

Sustained Serenity

Green Hotels Chur

Sustainable Restaurant Concept

Sustainable Souvenirs

Sustainable Freeriding Switzerland

Smoke- and Waste-Free Ski Resort