Externalities – University of Amsterdam

This course in Externalities challenged students to think in a new way about the effects their choices have. The course broadened students’ perspective and knowledge on how the choices they make have a ripple effect on the world around them. This course created critical thinkers and informed consumers through a series of lectures, guest lectures, group work, debates, and more.

Context

PPLE at the University of Amsterdam is an intense interdisciplinary program for bright bachelor’s students. Within this faculty, international (including Dutch) students are brought together and posed with challenging courses designed to help them think critically about society and the world around them. These dedicated driven students typically have strong backgrounds in social sciences, however, lack education in the area of sustainability. TheRockGroup sees it as its mission to fill this gap by presenting practical societal perspectives on our current sustainability challenges.

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Our approach

Through this course TheRockGroup was able to use its network, areas of expertise and extensive background in education to design an entirely new interactive course on the topic of externalities.

The course took a spin off of the traditional view of economics cost to show what other hidden costs are not included in our price tags. We began with a background in classic economical thinking, our planetary boundaries and our social living boundaries. With this background in what our planet can sustainably provide and what human beings are and/or should be entitled to in order to live a decent life, we dove deeper into who plays a role in influencing this and how. We explored different governmental, business, entrepreneurial and collaborative approaches to solve externalities as well as what we as individuals can do.

Throughout this course we focused on creating an atmosphere for critical and honest conversation to determine the strengths and weaknesses of each approach to externalities. Value was added to the course through guest lectures from professionals in the field of sustainability from companies such as: NS, Nederlandse Vereniging van Banken, True Price, TheRockGroup and more. This course in externalities gave students insight into a new way of thinking and a platform for critical discussion in hopes of finding an eventual solution to the problems of externalities in society.

Areas of expertise