November 30, 2023

Empowering Sustainable Education: YERUN Secretary General at European Education Summit

On 30 November, YERUN Secretary General, Silvia Gomez Recio, participare in the European Education Summit.

The European Education Summit is the annual flagship event of the European Education Area (EEA) and brings together policy-makers from EU institutions and beyond, and the European education and training communities.

Panel discussion ““Driving change, aiming for impact: Transforming green education for a sustainable future”.

YERUN Secretary General, Silvia Gomez Recio, participated as a panellist in the session “Driving change, aiming for impact: Transforming green education for a sustainable future”, together with Ligia Deca, Minister of Education of Romania, Anda Čakša, Minister of Education and Science of Latvia, Niall Collins, Minister of State for Skills and Further Education of Ireland, Aurel Laurenţiu Plosceanu, Vice-President of the European Economic and Social Committee, Jöran Mandik, “Floating University Berlin”, New European Bauhaus,` Prize winner 2023.

During the panel, YERUN Secretary General, Silvia Gomez Recio, addressed two key questions, shedding light on the role of research in modernising learning spaces geared towards sustainability and the challenges faced in transforming learning environments and fostering green competences.

YERUN Secretary General highlighted the imperative of integrating sustainability into the core narrative, strategies, and practices of universities. She emphasised the shift from working “towards sustainability” to working “sustainably,” advocating for the embedding of sustainability in research methodologies. Silvia Gomez Recio outlined concrete examples, such as the co-building of a YERUN Winter School for researchers on sustainability, and underscored the need for leadership support at both national and institutional levels.

From left to right: Tine Delva (Policy Advisor at the Secretariat-General of the European Commission), Prof. Amaya Mendikoetxea (Rector of Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, YERUN member),Vanessa Debiais-Sainton (Head of Higher Education Unit, European Commission), Silvia Gomez Recio (YERUN Secretary General), Sofia Costa D’Aguiar (Executive Director – EELISA European University), and Dana Reignier-Tayar (Student of the University of Amsterdam, part of the EPICUR European University, and board member of the European Student Assembly)

Addressing the challenges in transforming learning environments, YERUN Secretary General identified key obstacles, including the recognition of sustainability efforts by academics, the necessity for investment in teaching staff competences, community empowerment, and infrastructure support. She emphasised the importance to encourage interdisciplinary approaches and the broader implications of sustainability beyond the environmental aspect.

Silvia Gomez Recio delved into the modernisation of learning spaces with a sustainability focus, encompassing initiatives related to energy efficiency, green building design, sustainable materials, waste management, and innovative educational practices. She emphasised the role of technology, community engagement, and collaboration with industry partners in creating sustainable learning spaces.

From left to right: Prof. Amaya Mendikoetxea, Rector of Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, YERUN member, Commissioner Iliana Ivanova, and Silvia Gomez Recio, YERUN Secretary General



In conclusion, she highlighted the collaborative approach needed to create dynamic ecosystems for sustainable learning spaces. She identified research collaborations between academic institutions, communities, and industry partners as essential contributors to the holistic development of learning spaces that prioritise environmental, social, and economic sustainability.

Did you miss the event? No worries! The live stream of the Summit is available here

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