The paper hypothesises that student learning about sustainable development (SD) might usefully be configured within a broad framework combining formal, informal and campus curriculum. Student learning about sustainable development is a form of education for sustainable development (ESD), a term which has many definitions and interpretations. In this paper we refer to both student learning about SD (referring to multiple influences, actions and levels of engagement) and ESD as an overarching formal term (in our work based upon the UNESCO framework for ESD). The term campus sustainability is used when the focus of learning and engagement is based upon or designed around campus-focused projects and activities. We discuss why we believe our broad framework approach is useful and illustrate the practical development of some of these ideas through the early work of our institutional Ecoversity project. Our approach requires bringing together and meshing widely disparate institutional processes and drivers to support wide and multiple levels of student learning about SD. Such institution-wide engagement requires that a number of key ‘enablers’ are developed, including: academic policy of ESD and SD; academic school engagement with ESD and SD including staff development and training; strategically focused processes and projects around the informal curriculum; and campus management practises and processes that support open and transparent decision-making processes and treat all campus projects as educational opportunities. We describe some of the early achievements from our cross institutional ESD projects and reflect on some key learning points.
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