EGS welcomes her new Masters in Environment Society and Sustainability class

19 May 2016 - 19:45

Our MPhil and MSc Environment, Society and Sustainability class recently spent a night away together.  This particular degree has been running for over three decades (previously as our MPhil Environmental Management and now as our MPhil / MSc Environment, Society and Sustainability degree) and as we see our graduates enter the working world, be it in private practice, the NGO sector, or in government, we are acutely aware of the importance of the peer-relations that are established in each year. This is often an unforeseen element of a course-work programme, but one not to be under-estimated as past classmates, and fellow graduates of the programme, look to each other for support, guidance, and input in relation to individual strengths, through the years ahead.  This year we have the usual exciting combination of South Africa, African and International students, some straight out of university and others stepping out from the working world briefly to re-skill, or refine their existing skill set. The diversity of academic backgrounds is equally varied covering among others geography, botany, agriculture, anthropology and actuarial science. While the purpose of the night away together is primarily bonding, it is not all just fun and games and one exercise we did called on the students to map their current and desired skills sets to match their anticipated career trajectories. This exercise showed this class to be a switched-on and committed community of young environmental scientists. There were strong and shared interests in contributing to environmental management and sustainability through improved systems-thinking and practice, environmental justice, educating and developing our youth, and the effective communication of environmental concerns.  What also emerged in the exercise was a further layer more closely related to personal interests and abilities, such as a desire to pursue or continue to foster a particular creative art, or to travel, or to learn new languages. The students came away with a sense of their collective, shared interests and capacity, and also their various and variable personal strengths. The combination of novelty, thoughtfulness and maturity demonstrated in this self-reflection exercise is promising for the environmental field in South Africa.

The MPhil / MSc Environment Society and Sustainability class spent a night away getting to know each other (and themselves!) a little better. From the font right Grant Dyers, Lanielle Hartzenberg, Saadiq Soeker, Chifundo, Khathu Mikosi, Jess Drewett and Abbey Roggenbuck.

Sharing a meal and getting to know each other. Philile Mbatha (front left, lecturer Environmental and Geographical Science) challenges Chifundo Kamwaza (opposite her) and Robin George (to her left) on their plans for the future.