Working in partnership: tackling sustainability challenges with a student-led virtual event

Lesley Jackson and Katie Lavender, International Office

Helen Adamson, School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

What did you do?

Students from our University took part in a successful online event with students at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi (IITD) to share ideas around environmental sustainability.

​The two institutions have enjoyed a long and successful partnership and, to help develop this relationship further, recently held a joint student-led virtual event focusing on sustainability challenges in the UK and India. The workshop was organised on the Newcastle side by ​Helen Adamson, a lecturer in the School of Natural & Environmental Sciences, along with Lesley Jackson and Katie Lavender from our International Office.

The Yamuna and Tyne rivers

As part of a pilot scheme, six students from IITD and six students from Newcastle – who are all studying courses related to sustainability and the environment – got together to share their thoughts and make comparisons of a particular environmental challenge and its management in India and the UK.

The students dived in straight away, and there was lots of lively discussion during the mixed breakout groups. Their shared mind-set was demonstrated when the students were invited to present, with IITD students delivering their first presentation on the River Tyne and Newcastle students presented on the Yamuna River, one of India’s most-sacred rivers.

Students presenting on Zoom


The remaining groups tackled the challenges presented by air pollution and waste management in India and the UK. The students compared national contexts and suggested innovative global solutions to shared challenges. The presentations were all of an exceptional standard, with real insight and thought evidenced in their work. They were joined for the presentation session by Professor Naveen Garg, Dean of Alumni Affairs and International Partnerships at IITD, and by our PVC Global, Professor Richard Davies. Suggestions for future discussion topics were diverse: climate change, plastic pollution, sustainable agriculture, people management, biotechnology, sustainable development initiatives and the UNSDGs.

Student Voice 

Students from both universities gave some excellent feedback and were unanimous in their desire to take part in similar events in the future.

“I enjoyed every bit of it, particularly interacting with students who come from such a different culture.”

A counterpart from Newcastle echoed similar sentiments:

“I really appreciated being able to collaborate with students from Delhi and hear their perceptions, knowledge and insight.”

To thank the students for their engagement, the University made a small donation to sustainability-themed local charities in the UK and India, nominated by the students in both countries. In the UK, the charities chosen were​ The Tyne Rivers Trust, Northumberland Wildlife Trust​ and Weee Charity UK​ (which recycles computers for charity). The Indian students selected ​Chintan Environmental Research Action Group and SAAHAS.​

Find our more

Take a look at our learning and teaching website to find out more about Virtual Exchange and Education for Sustainable Development here at Newcastle.

Graduate Framework

This approach develops the following attributes:

  • Future-focused
  • Globally and culturally aware
  • Socially responsible
  • Creative, innovative and enterprising
  • Collaborative

Find out more about the Graduate Framework.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *