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Campus - 12.08.2022 - 00:00

HSG student interlinks sustainable student initiatives worldwide

The HSG student Anna Kurth spent a year working for the UN initiative Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME). In the process, she interlinked student initiatives with a focus on sustainability at an international level and provided them with support.

12. August 2022. "I found it exciting to see how the requirements of student initiatives vary in different countries", says Anna Kurth. The 22-year-old is an undergraduate in the HSG’s International Affairs programme. From summer 2021, she was engaged for one year in interlinking and supporting hundreds of student initiatives worldwide which take their bearings from the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. In the UN initiative Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), she was the Regional Leader responsible for Western Europe. With another eight students, who together covered all the world’s regions, Anna Kurth established the PRME Global Students network (PGS). "First of all, we wanted to find out how student initiatives and their impact could be strengthened through being internationally interlinked," says Anna Kurth. For this purpose, the Regional Leaders engaged in discussions with student associations from 25 countries in several online meetings.

Development of the PGS "Journey4Impact" project

One of the results of this was the development of the PGS project Journey4Impact. This is intended to support student initiatives in measuring their impact. "Often, students are so busy with their voluntary work that they have little time left to measure the impact of their work," says Anna Kurth, who headed the Journey4Impact project. Impact measurement is intended to encourage students to think more in terms of strategy: "If student initiatives are aware of the impact of their activities, they can make use of this knowledge for communication and long-term planning." The project resulted in open-source guidelines. These indicate various approaches to impact measurement which student initiatives worldwide can apply to their projects and can help to develop with their local experience.

Student associations and oikos St.Gallen

Anna Kurth was interested in sustainability, international interconnection and cultural diversity early on: as a pupil of an international school in Singapore, she was already involved in projects and youth conferences about this issue when she was 15. Back in Switzerland, she started her studies in International Affairs at the HSG. "I liked the fact that there are many student associations at the HSG. In oikos St.Gallen I found a like-minded community where people pitch in and inspire each other," she says. oikos is a student initiative which was set up at the University of St.Gallen in 1987 and has established itself at more than 40 universities by now. The association is committed to sustainability in education and teaching at business schools. "In oikos and in my HSG studies, I’ve learnt how to deal with complexity and how institutional change can succeed. My role as president of oikos St.Gallen and later on the committee of oikos International also provided me with contacts to PRME." After a year of development work, Anna Kurth’s stint for PRME is now over. Recently, PRME emphasised the "excellent contribution" that Anna Kurth had made to PGS.

In the context of PRME, further sustainability initiatives pursued by HSG students were honoured: Student Impact, which offers consultancy for sustainable companies, was a finalist in the PRME Student Award 2022. In particular, Student Impact was praised for its "exemplary achievements in the promotion of sustainability practices and responsible management education at the University of St.Gallen".

Photo: Copyright Anna Kurth

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