‘Our task is to educate people about climate change’

| Michael Maurer

The first edition of the Sustainability Dialogue kicked off yesterday afternoon at the DesignLab. The event focused on what the UT is doing in terms of sustainability, and what could be improved. ‘We are here today to give you a platform.’

Photo: Frieder Mugele, member of Scientists4Future and one of the speakers during the Sustainability Dialogue.

The DesignLab, University Innovation Fellows and Green Hub Twente jointly organised the event. During the meeting several speakers took the floor. As society we are becoming more and more aware of the climate crisis, said Chiara Poli, one of the speakers and ATLAS student at the UT. ‘And as students and employees we wonder what the UT is doing about it and if it is effective enough. We are here today to give you a platform to discuss what we need to do for a sustainable future at the UT.’

‘Room for progress’

After that, several associations presented their views on sustainability at the UT. One of the presenting associations was the Student Union, which was represented by one of its board members, Joris Harbers. 'We as a student association want students to achieve more than just a degree, especially when it comes to sustainability issues.’

Harbers explained what the Student Union's current agenda is in terms of sustainability. 'We launched the Eco Challenge, where we ask student houses and unions to come up with ideas on sustainability.' The board member also stressed that there is still room for progress within the association. 'We are not the most sustainable association at the moment, but we want to be, so we are improving our sustainability within the Student Union.’

‘Educate people'

Another association that presented its views on sustainability was the vegan student association. The sustainability goals of this association are very clear. 'Our demand is that the university will be completely vegan,’ says Klaas Rah, a master's student in Psychology at the UT. 'Many people think that a university only offering vegan food is extreme, but I think that not being vegan is extreme because it means killing and mistreating animals.'

Frieder Mugele, a member of Scientists4Future, stressed that ‘in terms of sustainability, the most important task we should perform at the university is to educate people about climate change’. ‘By doing so, we create awareness and make people active to take up the challenge.’ According to Mugele, Scientists4Future has already taken measures to improve sustainability at UT in the past. 'We have developed a plan at the university to reduce business flights and travel. And one of the things I would like to implement is the introduction of a sustainable student award at the university. That would be an easy way to create awareness.'

After each association gave a short three-minute presentation, the audience was divided into five groups where different topics such as energy or waste were discussed. The ideas and opinions can be used for the upcoming events, said one of the event's initiators. The next editions of the Dialogues are scheduled for March, April and June.

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