Engaging Communities for Sustainability

Unit code: ASA5004 | Study level: Postgraduate
(Generally, 1 credit = 10 hours of classes and independent study.)
City Campus
Footscray Park


The key focus of this unit is to prepare and empower participants to work with communities in a variety of contexts to achieve effective learning and action for environmental sustainability. The unit covers the range of key sustainability issues important for communities, at local and international levels, including reducing environmental impacts on water, waste management, greenhouse gas production and biodiversity. Students will explore contemporary approaches for engaging communities to achieve productive, equitable and effective change for sustainability. Further, the unit emphasises developing appropriate approaches to community sustainability, given the diversity of contexts and challenges and interconnections between community development issues. In this context, the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) are critically appraised with particular focus upon the standpoint and perspectives of First Nations communities. Students will be encouraged to reflect upon their engagement in a practical community and sustainability project.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Advocate a multi-dimensional description of what community environmental sustainability is and why and how it is important to a particular group and its wider community;
  2. Commentate upon how communities are responding to the challenges of living sustainably including critical appraisal of implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
  3. Devise ways of using social media and other technology to enhance sustainability action and networking;
  4. Interpret knowledge of community sustainability to issues and opportunities for action in a practical arena; and
  5. Critically review community sustainability initiatives.


For Melbourne campuses

Assessment type: Review
Grade: 20%
Reflection on environmental thinking and relationship to community development.
Assessment type: Presentation
Grade: 40%
Group presentation critically engaging with SDG targets and indicators in case study, plus individual written report.
Assessment type: Case Study
Grade: 30%
Using 3 slides argue the case for an environmental policy change in 3 minutes, plus script.
Assessment type: Exercise
Grade: 10%
Photo-prompted class introduction.

Required reading

Students will be provided with an up to date resource list via VU Collaborate.

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following course(s):

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