As another academic year draws to a close, a group of transformed (yet familiar) faces gather once again for what might be their last time in the cherished space that has held them over their PGDip journey. On the 23rd and 24th of November, the CST held its second annual End of Year Student Review online and in-person, respectively. As a complement to the formal end-of-year review attended by teaching and administrative staff, the CST now offers an official End of Year Student Review – a space for students not only to gather, reflect and celebrate the journey that has been but to envision potentials for the programme going forward.

The review comprises a range of student-led engagements that are co-designed and co-facilitated by recent graduates of the programme. Creating the space for a constructive look back and reflection on the specifics of the academic year that has passed, students are offered the opportunity to harvest lessons, diagnose challenges, and use their experience as input for forward-looking planning. The PGDip in Sustainable Development is in the midst of ongoing programme renewal efforts, and it is believed the student’s interests should be at the heart and centre of this process going forward.

Surrounded by choirs of birds, the day began with a grounding meditation in the outdoor classroom as everybody landed back in the space. Students were invited to share what non-human animal best encapsulates the essence of their PGDip journey; from armadillos and meerkats to slugs and phoenixes, chuckles of light-hearted reflection ensued. After that, students moved to the indoor classroom to more attentively reflect on the specifics of the academic programme; that which should stay, that which should be enhanced, and that which requires more attention, amendment or adjustment. Considering that the PGDip is a learner-centred programme, gaining these insights from the students themselves proves invaluable in enriching the journey for future students. After these engagements, staff met students at the Sustainability Institute’s Green Café whereby they celebrated their efforts over iced tea, salad, and the rightfully-renowned butternut lasagne!

After a strenuous year (or two) of academically rigorous demands, the End of Year Student Review provided students with the space and time to connect and reflect at ease and in peace – gathering once more in the ecological holding space that helped shape their journey, build their community, and inspire their future.