Knowledge and Awareness of Sustainability in Saudi Arabian Public Universities

Book Chapter
Alghamdi, N . 2018
Publication Work Type: 
Book Chapter
Publishing City: 
Cham, Switzerland
Sustainability, Knowledge, Awareness, Public Universities, Saudi Arabia, Saudi Vision 2030
Publisher Name: 
Springer International Publishing AG
Book Title: 
Handbook of Sustainability Science and Research
Publication Abstract: 

On 25 September 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Declaration outlined 17 ambitious goals and 169 challenging targets. One of the most substantial goals was raising awareness of sustainable development, particularly within the context of the developing world. The following year, Saudi Arabia launched its Vision 2030; aiming at a “vibrant society”, “thriving economy” and an “ambitious nation”, through investing massively in health, education, infrastructure, among others. The Vision emphasised the significance of the youth of whom more than half are below age 25. However, to mobilise this precious segment of the Saudi society to achieve a prosperous and sustainable future, there is a need for mainstreaming sustainability, particularly in universities. Universities present a significant medium through which sustainability issues can be imbued in the youth, who are the future leaders. As critical agents of change, students, among other key stakeholders, are crucial enablers for a bright future. This paper investigates the environmental awareness and sustainable behaviour in public universities in Saudi Arabia. It provides an insight into the attitude, knowledge and awareness of sustainability. The main purpose of this research is to highlight the gaps between policy and practice. Therefore, this would be of great importance to help decision-makers formulate evidence-based strategies to ‘fill’ these gaps. A questionnaire was used to collect data from nine universities; three of which are old, whereas six are recently founded. The number of participants was almost two thousand. Results indicate, inter alia, that the vast majority of students in public universities have little knowledge about the notion of sustainable development. Therefore, special attention should be given to raising awareness of sustainability in order to achieve the goals of the Saudi Vision 2030 that is in line with the UN agenda for Sustainable Development.