Innovative research advancing sustainable campuses in Mexico and Canada

A board game and an e-book are the two major outputs of a research project that spanned four years and brought together academic and community partners in Canada and in Mexico.

“Research is usually something researchers do and they produce academic articles for academic journals,” said Dawson College’s Gisela Frias, Profile Coordinator of North-South Studies. “We used a collective process in our research, and our work is accessible because it speaks to the average person.”

30 campus sustainability projects

Gisela led the research project, named the Sustainable Campuses Initiative, which was funded by a SSHRC grant.  The overarching goal was to engage students, professors, researchers, administrators and community partners and to motivate them to take action for greener and healthier campuses and communities. The project itself carried out over 30 campus sustainability projects.

The board game has been distributed to various campuses in Mexico and the e-book, featuring  articles by members of the educational communities of all the participating institutions, is available free online in Spanish.

“By playing the Sustainable Campuses Initiative board game, participants get to ask questions and collaborate on the answers. Sometimes the game can take a long time if there is a lot of discussion,” Gisela said.

Playing the game

“The game builds community and encourages the group who is playing to assess where they are in terms of sustainability and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their campus/community. We worked on this game for three years and had to think through what campus sustainability means to us and how it can be developed.

“We have had a lot of fun with this project and now we are taking it to new audiences in this promotion phase,” Gisela said.

Trip to Mexico last month

The four-year project culminated in the launch of the Spanish language board game and e-book last August. In March, Gisela travelled to Mexico on a grant from Global Affairs Canada to promote the game and e-book at three events.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gisela’s trip was cut short. “I presented at the Centro EcoDialogos at the Universidad Veracruzanain Xalapa. It went very well, but unfortunately, the other two events with the Technologico de Monterrey in Cuernavaca and at the Ministry of Environmental Education in Mexico City were cancelled.”

Going forward

Currently, the game and the e-book are only available in Spanish. “We are working on translating the e-book into English and the game will soon be available as a digital download for printing on demand.”

The Sustainable Campuses Initiative, led by Dawson College, counted four partners: three universities in Mexico and an NGO.

Last Modified: April 7, 2020