We welcome you to join Sustainability Course’s midpoint meeting!

A warm welcome to the midpoint meeting on November 4th at 14 – 16!

Working groups producing teaching materials for the upcoming new Sustainability Course at the University of Helsinki present their proposals for the Table of Contents of different course modules. Meeting is open for all University of Helsinki staff members and students. The midpoint meeting’s materials will be uploaded here  including more specific schedule, table of contents drafts and feedback e-form.

We also encourage university community to peer-review table of contents of course modules via e-form to be opened soon!

Midpoint Meeting of the University of Helsinki Sustainability Course working groups

Wed 4.11.2020 at 14:00-15:00 in Zoom

(meeting ID: 626 6980 0023, Passcode: 088997)

Welcome to join the seminar to hear their ideas, give feedback and point out possible overlaps and gaps from the material in progress in these working groups:

  • 1 INTRO: Sustainability as a concept, the complexity of sustainability challenges, and systemic approach
  • 2: Solutions: Solutions to sustainability challenges the roles of students in solving sustainability challenges as future experts, individuals and as members of society. Designing the sustainability project.

    Thematic modules (perspectives, ongoing changes, processes, phenomenon and solutions)

  • 3A: Global environmental commons
  • 3B: Human well-being and capabilities
  • 3C: Sustainable and just economies
  • 3D: Sustainable food systems and healthy nutrition
  • 3E: Energy decarbonisation with universal access
  • 3F: Urban and peri-urban development

Tervetuloa / Welcome / Välkommen!

What’s up with the Sustainability Course?

It has been almost a month since the kick-off event where all the groups met for the first time and started the work for the sustainability course’s content. Time for a checkup: what the groups are doing now and what happens next?

Eight different multidisciplinary groups are forming table of contents for each module. The groups meet approximately every two weeks and discuss how to form best kind of content and what to include and how. After settling with table of contents, the next step is starting to draft teaching materials. During the work, student members are also a very important part of this; their work is to read and comment the texts for any improvements and to bring student perspective along.

We will organize midpoint seminar in early November, where all the groups are free introduce their work for other groups, staff and student members. The idea is that the groups present their ideas, comment on others, recognize any overlapping or knowledge gaps in the contents and collect feedback to fine-tune their work.

Almost all the groups are ready with their table of content; just bit refining and the next step can start!

We find it important that the course includes activating and interaction hence we highly encourage the groups to produce diverse learning materials, such as text, images, charts, videos, podcasts, and so on. We are also planning to produce introductory videos for each module.

Learning materials

Each module includes assignments and evaluations that include 1) activation of previous knowledge, 2) supporting the learning process by actively linking content to student’s own previous structures and 3) evaluations. Moreover, while planning these assignments, the working groups must keep in mind that the evaluation is based mainly on automatization, students’ own self-assessments and peer review.

Got any questions? Write them down to the comments box and we will answer them!

Pedagogical and content production guidelines of the Sustainability course 

During the fall 2020 the teaching materials are made in multidisciplinary working groups and students will conduct the first test runs of the materials. You might ask how the groups work and what kind of results are asked for.

Read the Pedagogical and content production guidelines of the Sustainability course. 

The learning objectives were approved at the Academic Affairs Council (ONE) meeting one June 17th 2020. Read the post about ONE meeting here. 

The working titles for the modular course structure are loosely based on the UN report The Future is Now (UN 2019). You can find the summary of the report here.

Sustainability – Bringing people together

The registration for The Sustainability course’s working groups has now officially closed and we are happy to announce that staggering 160 persons registered for the teams! We are truly amazed of the interest the course development has gained; sustainability theme seems to bring people together!

Staggering 160 persons registered for the teams!

We got registrations from all faculties from the University of Helsinki, just as we wished. It is important to have interdisciplinary points of view in the development phase of the course since the course is open for all students in the University of Helsinki. We welcomed great variety of students (bachelors and masters), pHd students, staff members and staff members also from University services.

The first kick-off event is 18.9.! Things are getting real and 2021 coming closer: we are ready for the teams to get working!

Great to have so many people onboard!

Sustainability course mentioned in the university’s opening speech!

The autumn semester has officially started! Hopefully it will be a good one!

We are happy to tell you that our sustainability course has gained some interest and was mentioned in the University’s opening speech by the rector Sari Lindblom on Monday 31.8.2020.

Rector Lindblom sees that the sustainablity course can give the students skills in both ecological sustainability and in taking care of one’s own wellbeing:

”Sustainability is a necessity in terms of both individual wellbeing and the environment, which is why we have decided at the University of Helsinki to offer all students the opportunity to take a multidisciplinary course in sustainability from this academic year onward. This course provides tools for making responsible decisions and maintaining personal wellbeing. I would like to encourage you students to participate in this course. It is stimulating to develop new skills!”

Moreover, the importance of knowledge, the central role of teaching and future experts, collaboration and multidisciplinarity – along with this year’s exceptional circumstances were present in the speech. ”We educate experts who will change the world”, rector Lindblom said.

Also, the biggest newspaper in Finland Helsingin sanomat recognized the course in their article on Monday 31.1.2020! The article had citations from Lindblom’s speech and offered information that it will be a five-credit course, build online and its pilot will be launched in the spring of 2021.

The whole opening ceremony is visible here and read rector Lindblom’s speech in Finnish, Swedish or English on the University of Helsinki website.

Get to know our new trainees!

It is time to thank the old trainees Lotta, Arttu and Heidi and introduce new faces that will start working with the sustainability course. Sometimes it is too easy to forget how much work and effort there is behind each magnificent project so to say the least these triplets’ work has been indispensable. You all will be greatly missed, and it’s been truly a pleasure to work with you and get to know you!

Here are our new people working with university’s sustainability course:


I am Meri Mäkelä. Two years ago I moved from northern Finland to the countryside of Viikki to study in Environmental Change and Global Sustainability master’s programme. Currently I am working on my thesis about ecosystems and long-term climate change in the Arctic. In my studies, I have especially focused on arctic studies, sustainable forestry and changing environments, but I have also gained a wider interest in sustainability themes in general. My main responsibilities in this course planning will be to work with the groups producing content for the thematic modules. Also as a former biology and geography teacher, the pedagogical side of sustainability teaching interest me. I am super excited about this project! It is an amazing opportunity to be a part of the team developing so important course. I am looking forward to meet the working groups, start developing the material and learn more about sustainability!


My name is Ville-Pekka Niskanen (Viltsu in short) and I am currently conducting my non-military service at HELSUS. In the sustainability course development, I will take part in communicating about the course and content production. Moreover, I’m working with University of Helsinki sustainability initiatives, HELSUS communications and events. I come from the ECGS Master’s Programme, where I have focused on science and technology studies. Music and photography are my hobbies.

Last year, I participated in a project , where we interviewed five students about sustainability. The interviewees found that sustainability is not only about the environmental or economic aspects that often receive the most attention. Equality, friendships, and finding and accepting new viewpoints are central, too. This way sustainability is present in our everyday actions, in addition to the enormous changes that are soon necessary. I view the sustainability course as an opportunity to give its participants (all of our students!) tools for acting for sustainability – understanding and friendliness – in their future tasks.


Hi! My name is Saara Pörsti and I’m super excited to work with this project for the next five months! This fall starts my second year in Environmental change and global sustainability master’s programme (ECGS) and in my studies I’m focusing on sustainable cities and sustainable development. I also have a minor in adult education, so I’m thrilled to challenge what I’ve learned there so far considering this course project.

During my HELSUS traineeship I will take part in communications, event organizing and developing the sustainable course. In detail, my responsibility areas considering this course are content production, communications and I will also take part in managing the groups that will start working during September. This course offers a great deal of new learning experiences and I’m truly looking forward what kind of new visions might occur during this fall when the teams gather.