London Calling … for Sustainability Studies

Merging Mindsets isn’t just brand speak for Bradley University. It’s an integral approach to providing an accessible learning experience for our students, and nowhere was this more apparent than in the first study abroad convergence course on sustainability in London. 

Kerrie Schattler, professor of civil engineering and construction and Joshua Lewer, professor of economics, spearheaded the innovative Sustainability Issues in Business and Engineering course to provide a rich experience seen through multiple lenses in the most sustainable city in the world.

“It was exciting to offer the first convergence course co-taught abroad by faculty from Business and Engineering and we were able to get an MI (multidisciplinary integration) tag approved for this course to meet BCC requirements,” Schattler explained. 

Junior finance major John Sienicki excitedly signed up for the course. “I’m a big fan of convergence classes to get exposed to a new field of study, and to further my overall understanding of how a business works.”

The group toured places like Westminster Abbey and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the most sustainable stadium in the world. They even had access to exclusive areas like the NFL locker room.

To ensure students are safe and can navigate the city, they had to learn the subway system (“The Tube,” as it’s known in London) when they arrived. “All students passed their Tube test and quickly became confident exploring the city. They blended right in,” Lewer said. “They were respectful, mature and helpful to each other and to others.”

Winona Hearne, a senior studying civil engineering, was eager to explore London and learn how to apply sustainability in business. “I wanted to experience how different cultures view and prioritize sustainable practices compared to the U.S.,” she said, adding that she hoped to bring home ideas to help her be more mindful in reducing her personal footprint. 

In addition to exploring the sights and sounds of London, Junior civil engineering major, Rachel Churchman, enjoyed learning different perspectives from the various guest lecturers. For instance, Dr. Wanda Lewis, from the School of Engineering at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom spoke about sustainable design and the concept of biomimicry. “She discussed how humans often design buildings that are appealing to look at but are usually inadequate in many ways,” she recalled. “Biomimicry is truly the most structurally sound and most accommodating design because it mimics nature.” 

Convergence courses are significantly positive for both students and the faculty—especially when you can do it in another country. “London is the number one most sustainable city in the world. They live sustainably, and we soaked up how they live it with this cultural experience,” Lewer explained. 

Sienicki noted how much he valued the collaboration from working in a diverse group. “I was on a team with a marketing major, chemistry major, and engineering major. When we worked together, it was cool to see how each person was able to provide a unique perspective that furthered everyone's understanding.”

Each student came away with a positive outlook from the experience. “I highly recommend studying abroad,” Hearne said. “It opens your eyes to so many different perspectives.”

Lewer added, “Try and do at least one study abroad trip during your time at Bradley. It is a deeply valuable experience that will change your life and worldview forever.”

Emily Potts