BTSP transforms the learning experience by bringing alumni back to the classroom alongside current students to update their knowledge and competencies through newly introduced sustainability courses.
Dedicated to fostering a new learning environment for students and alumni alike and offering lifelong qualitative education to alumni, Back to School for the Planet (BTSP) is a French association providing guidance and tools for higher education programs to help them open their new sustainability-focused classes to their alumni. Its objective is to accelerate change in professional practices by updating the competencies of those who have or will soon have high-level responsibilities in companies and institutions. BTSP creates an opportunity for higher education institutions to develop new bonds with alumni while updating their skills and providing an invaluable experience for current students, who benefit from classroom interactions and knowledge sharing with alumni of their program, who are able to discuss current workplace obstacles to sustainable development. The BTSP initiative was piloted in autumn 2020 in the MSc in Hospitality Management at ESSEC Business School, Paris, with the participation of:
– 2 sustainability-focused courses (Sustainability Essentials in Hospitality Management and Sustainable Finance and Law for Hospitality Managers) taught online;
– 3 lecturers;
– 7 alumni program; and
– 61 full-time enrolled students.
The following testimonial from a participating student summarizes the perception and high potential of this initiative: “I probably wouldn’t have made the decision to take a sustainability course if it hadn’t been offered by the program from which I graduated. It was easy to enroll and required no financial investment. ” Following the success of the pilot, BTSP was registered as a non-profit association in January 2021 with the aim of encouraging and supporting the good practice in as many schools as possible.