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SLU-Madrid Commits to Environment Sustainability in International Education

by Isaiah Voss

SLU-Madrid has signed an agreement with the Climate Action Network for International Educators (CANIE) to achieve climate change action on campus.

Mónica Pérez Bedmar of the Department of Natural Sciences and Earth Sciences piloted SLU-Madrid's partnership with CANIE. The campus' interim executive leadership and Department of Business and Economics faculty Marta Moreno, Ph.D., Laura Muro, Ph.D. and Paolo Saona, Ph.D., also participated.

The organization, a volunteer-based grassroots initiative, brings attention to climate change among international education institutions. CANIE has established definitions and standards for collaborators. It outlines each institution's dedication to climate change action by rating the following CANIE areas: definitions, commitments, purposes and principles, leadership and influencing, emission accounting and reduction, travel, operations and climate education.

SLU-Madrid has met commitments in five categories, especially in operations and climate education. This addition to the campus has made way for the creation of SLU-Madrid's Sustainable Development Goals Observatory. Pérez Bedmar and the business faculty plan to develop materials that will add sustainability components to more courses for degree-seeking and study abroad students. Workshops will be held to educate faculty, staff and students.

Students walking through Roya Bonatical Garden of Madrid during class trip.
SLU-Madrid natural science students visiting the Real Jardín Botánico in downtown Madrid. Submitted photo.

With these initiatives in mind, SLU-Madrid strives to help CANIE obtain a carbon-neutral and climate-literate international education sector by 2030.

"SLU has been one of the few international universities that has offered education on earth science and natural sciences for the past two decades," said Pérez Bedmar. "We have engaged in climate education, and over the past few years, there are several clubs that also have an environmental perspective like the student-led Arab and Human Rights clubs."

This commitment seamlessly aligns with the University's core values of social justice and environmental responsibility. Pérez Bedmar's appointment to CANIE’s board in September 2023 will further advance ties between SLU-Madrid and CANIE.

"I'm aware of the impact of international education and its impact on climate change and we are one of few study abroad programs with this approach," said Pérez Bedmar. She added that it also resonates with incoming students. "We know Gen Z looks for sustainable universities and businesses more and more, and this is recognition of that demand."