S for Sustainability

Would you like to experience your degree program from a completely different perspective? Then TU Berlin´s “s Certificate” may be exactly what you are looking for. The program is open to students of all disciplines at all Berlin universities. It opens your own area of focus to new perspectives by introducing themes relevant to sustainability as well social and ecological contexts.

Need a change of perspective?

“I wanted to be more proactively involved in my studies - the Sustainability Certificate has made this possible,” explains Celina Besmer, student in the Sustainable Management program at TU Berlin and one of the participants in the Sustainability Certificate course. The Sustainability Certificate offers students from all disciplines and all Berlin universities the chance to create their own focus on sustainability within their regular degree program. In terms of content, the certificate course examines the interrelationships between technology, the individual, nature, society, and democracy and provides students with the tools to develop their own areas of expertise for creating sustainable development in both their private and professional lives.

Additional skills and competences

The certificate course has been so designed as to allow participants to acquire additional skills in another discipline. The participants can choose from the areas of natural sciences/technology or social sciences/society.

The demand is great: “If there is a truly interdisciplinary module at TU Berlin, then this is it,” says André Baier with conviction. Baier is research associate in the Chair of Machinery System Design and the man behind the “s Certificate”. “255 students from 57 subject areas have participated since winter semester 2018 in the Critical Sustainability compulsory module in the certificate course – an unparalleled level of interdisciplinarity.”

From learner to doer

What particularly fascinates Celina Besmer is the work carried out in the inter and transdisciplinary project lab: “The lectures use case studies to examine the big topics, such as power relationships, climate justice, sustainability and democracy. But it is only through working independently in the project lab that you get to become personally involved, to transition from a learner to a doer, to enlarge your own ‘handprint’ and not simply accept things as they are. To give you an example. We established our own initiative to increase the role of ethics in university teaching in general. This new project lab gives you the chance to practically test your options for participation within a democracy.” She sees this as a good antidote to the sense of resignation we often feel when confronted by the sheer magnitude of problems such as climate change or the disenchantment with democracy.

The Sustainability Certificate project is currently in a four-year trial period at TU Berlin. It will be evaluated in 2021 and it will then be decided whether to continue with the project or not. For Celina Besmer, however, there is only one answer: “In my opinion themes like these should be an integral part of every degree program at TU Berlin.”