November 9, 2023

YERUN members driving sustainable futures with a BIP!

On 26 October, partners to the Blended Intensive Programme (BIP) “Driving sustainable futures in higher education” led by the University of Southeastern Norway (USN) met online to pitch the inspiring practices that stemmed from the project.

The BIP was open to university employees from the YERUN partner institutions, with the aim to foster sustainability initiatives at the level of staff. About 20 colleagues from 8 YERUN institutions took part and joined forces in 5 different projects, whose results were presented on 26 October. Chiara Colella, YERUN Policy Officer and coordinator of the YERUN ad hoc group on SDGs, participated as external censor.

“I was truly amazed and inspired by the initiatives that were presented, and especially by their high degree of replication elsewhere. Projects like these are an enormous motivator to continue working on sustainability and see the concrete results of what policies should facilitate” says Chiara.

The five projects that were presented were:

Climate Justice Library: Tone Jøran Oredalen (University of South-Eastern Norway), Louise Foley (University of Limerick), Vincent Bellinkx (University of Antwerp) and Matthias Verstaeten (University of Antwerp) joined forces to create an online repository of resources that tackle the specific topic of climate justice. This topic sheds light on the social implications and negative effects that climate changes has on those that have no power to change the status quo. Click here to see their presentation.

Moments of wellbeing: Kathleen Andries (University of Antwerp),  Maiju Eskelinen (University of Eastern Finland), Louise O’Shea (University of Limerick), Mercedes Alonso-Gómez (University of Limerick), and Vicky Kelly (University of Limerick) initiated in their respective institutions a small scale initiative with zero cost and maximum results! It is all about walking and talking: during working hours, you set up a meeting with colleagues with whom you would like to discuss sustainability ideas, but you do that outside while walking. This way you reach multiple objectives: meeting colleagues, moving, getting to know your campus and surroundings and brainstorm on inspiring ideas! Click here to see the presentation.

European phenology: Carla Uwents (University of Antwerp), Silvia Arias Careaga (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), James Green (University of Limerick) and Katharina Kloss (University of Potsdam) brought together through this initiative the love for walking with the love for nature! It’s about walking and discovering the surrounding nature and how it changes throughout the seasons. The discovery journey is done with the help of an app called “ObsIdentify“, which is based on a citizen science approach whereby the catalogue of species is built thanks to users’ input. Will you give it a try? Click here to see the presentation.

Webinar on sustainability for students: Paula Maria Gonçalves (NOVA University Lisbon), Clare Nee (University of Limerick), Michel Thorin Joswig (University of Bremen) and Annette Bischoff (University of Southeastern Noway) with their project Team Flinch developed a webinar on sustainability for students, leveraging on the student democracy groups present in their institutions. The webinar tackles topics that are close to students’ hearts and gives them the possibility to network with their peers from other institutions. Click here to see the presentation.

Murder of Mystery Game: Artur Zatloukal (Masaryk University), Tom Spencer (University of Limerick), Ragne Brekke Hvidsten (Univeristy of Southeastern Norway) and Kathleen Andries (University of Antwerp) went the extra mile with the creation of a “murder of mystery” game! Original and fun, the game can be a fantastic team-building activity that makes participants learn about sustainability in the process. Here’s an idea for your next team-building day! Click here to know more about the practice and how to set it up in your own work.

In conclusion, the BIP was a success: it brought together many colleagues from different universities across europe and built bridges that will pave the way for sustainability to thrive in young universities.

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