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University of Zurich, the biggest university in Switzerland (25, 618 students), ETH (15, 093), PHZH (3,500), ZHDK (2000), ZHAW (11, 700) = 58, 000 students
The Sustainability Week is a student run project that takes place each year at five universities in Zurich. It is the largest student sustainability event in Switzerland. It aims to: Reach and inform as many students as possible about sustainability issues and engage them in constructive dialogue about these issues. Set concrete sustainability demands to the universities. Connect the five universities in relation to sustainability issues and support the student sustainability organisations at the five universities.
Since 2013 the Sustainability Week has had events on a wide range of sustainability topics. All events are free and open to the public. Events have included panel discussions as well as practical workshops including vegan cooking and permaculture
In 2016 the Sustainability Week attracted over 4,000 visitors, an increase of 1,500 compared to 2015.
The most popular event was a panel discussion about economic growth where almost 500 people attended.
A selection of guests at the Sustainability Week have included (from r to l) Anton Affentranger, CEO of Implenia, Switzerland’s largest construction company; Lino Guzella and Michael Hengartner Vice-Chancellors of ETH and UZH; Melanie Joy, Expert on Sustainability and meat consumption, Mark Post, developer of cultured beef;
These demands were discussed at an internal conference during the week, which was attended by student and staff representatives from the five universities. They were also presented at the main event each day.
In a national first the Swiss Student Union published a paper of demands asking all Swiss Universities to integrate a range of sustainability measures in their operation. The Zurich Sustainability Week was the official launch site of this paper. Action days were held at Universities around Switzerland to coincide with the release of the paper. A range of media as well as university representatives attended the press conference, including the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Zurich.
Photos: 1. Simon Liebi from the Sustainability Week outlines the cooperation between the Sustainability Week and the Swiss Student Union at the press Conference. 2. Representatives from four of the five Zurich Universities along with representatives from the Swiss Student Union and Swiss Student Union for Sustainability at the press conference. 3. President of the University of Zurich Student Union talks with the University of Zurich Vice-Chancellor after the press conference.4. Slide showing action day locations around Switzerland.
Organise and run the event sustainably and democratically
We promoted the Sustainability Week 2016 all over! In the lead up students distributed program booklets along with organic apples and carrots considered the ‘wrong’ shape to be sold. Sustainability Week banners hung in front of the University of Zurich’s main and Irchel campus and 100 posters hung in Zurich’s trams and buses. We rolled out a ‘green carpet’ (made from second hand artificial grass) in front on the University of Zurich based on the idea that everybody is a VIP for creating a sustainable planet. Numerous posters with catchy slogans in a mix of German, Swiss German and English were put up around the campuses. In the cafeterias posters outlined 4 steps students could take to reduce their climate impact through eating. Online we were also active, publishing videos and photos and gaining over 600 new likes on facebook and updating our website daily as well as responding to feedback via our web form.
The Sustainability Week was reported about over 20 times in a range of regional, local and university newspapers and websites.
A number of requests made by the Sustainability Week since 2013 have already been adopted by the universities. These include the creation of a sustainability delegate position at the University of Zurich, the biggest university in Switzerland; the publishing of a sustainability report by the ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology); the opening of a vegan/vegetarian cafeteria at the University of Zurich; and the introduction of a minor in environment studies at the University of Zurich.
The Sustainability Week is organised voluntarily by a group of motivated students. As the week has grown, so too has its organisational structure. In 2013 and 2014 Annuscha Wassmann coordinated the week alone. In 2015 Flora Märki and Luca Bronzini lead the team. In 2016 the leadership team grew to six. Over 60 students were involved in organising the 2016 Sustainability Week 6 and during the week over 100 new students registered their interest to help organise the week in 2017.
ALL OF THE STUDENT UNIONS OF THE 5 UNIVERSITIES BECOME PARTNERS OF THE SUSTAINABILITY WEEK FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 2016
Where to now – NHW in 2017 and beyond -follow up on ‘demands’ to the Universities - stronger collaboration at the national level on sustainability issues – through the national student union and national student union for sustainability - involvement of other institutions (including schools) and more work with satellite campuses - more cooperation with the university cafeterias (more plant-based meals and waste reduction)
2016 ISCN Awards: Student Leadership
WHAT IS THE SUSTAINABILITY WEEK?
A week of sustainability focused events
Largest student run sustainability event in Switzerland
• Reach and inform as many students
• Set concrete sustainability demands
to the universities
• Connect the five universities
• Organise and run the event
sustainably and democratically
BRINGING SUSTAINABILITY ISSUES TO OUR CAMPUSES
Over 120 events
Over 10,000 visitors
2016: THE MOST SUCCESSFUL YEAR YET
Over 4,000 visitors
ENGAGING STUDENTS IN DIALOGUE WITH KEY ECONOMIC, SOCIAL
AND ACADEMIC LEADERS
CONCRETE DEMANDS TO THE UNIVERSITIES
• More research and teaching on the limits of economic growth
• Strategies for sustainable investment (divestment)
• Sustainability report
• Concepts for reducing airplane travel emissions
• Increased sustainability focus in teaching and research
• To students: become more actively engaged in sustainability issues
COLLABORATION WITH THE SWISS STUDENT UNION
Swiss Student Union releases paper of sustainability demands to all Swiss
universities at the Sustainability Week press conference
ORGANISE AND RUN THE EVENT SUSTAINABLY AND DEMOCRATICALLY
• introduction of a minor in environment studies at the University of Zurich
• opening of a vegan/vegetarian cafeteria at the University of Zurich
• creation of a sustainability delegate position at the University of Zurich
• ETH Sustainability
• Departement Bau, Umwelt und Geomatik
• Department Mathematik
• Departement Geistes-, Sozial- und
• Departement Umweltsystemwissenschaften
• Departement Erdwissenschaften
• Institut für Evolutionsbiologie und
• Mathematisch-naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
• Theologisches Seminar
• Institut für Sozialanthropologie und Empirische
• Medizinische Fakultät
• Geographisches Institut
• Vetsuisse Fakultät
CATERING: SV Group, Universität Zürich, ETH Zürich, in collaboration with "Zum guten Heinrich"