By Korneel van Dooren

On Monday, 23 September, our new students started their two-year adventure in the Master in Sustainable Development. This year has welcomed a record number of students – in total 66 students, from 36 countries representing all continents except Oceania. Women are well represented and make up 73 per cent of the group. Promising news for the advancement of gender sensitive perspectives in the master’s activities and sustainable development in general! The space and society track is the most populated with 49 students, while the ecology track has 17.  Some students come freshly out of their bachelor education, others are more mature and already have some professional experience, accordingly the age of our new batch ranges from 22 to 37 with an average of 26,3.  We are looking forward to work with this in every sense diverse group the coming two years!

The students were welcomed by prof. Anton van Rompaey, who introduced the master program and ran through the academic practicalities at KU Leuven. After that, the students were invited for a welcome drink in a Geo-garden where they had a chance to get to know each other as well as meet the staff members involved in the program.

The students started their classes with the Academic Leveling course. Through lectures and workshops, the students were provided with fundamental background knowledge in biology and geography as well as academic skills. The course is designed to ensure a common starting point for everyone regardless of his or her background and specialisation track. The series of lectures and workshops culminated in an interesting poster session at the Geo-Institute on November 5 in which teams of students presented a specific concept or sustainability problematic that was addressed during the lectures. Since everyone is now successfully levelled, it is time for the real deal!

Welcoming the new batch of students to the Master in Sustainable Development.