The first Spring Campus of the University Alliance for Sustainability on the topic “Connecting Communities for Sustainability: Do Universities Matter?” took place from April 11-15, 2016 at Freie Universität Berlin.
News from Mar 10, 2016
The Spring Campus is a week-long program within the framework of the "University Alliance for Sustainability", which comprises Freie Universität Berlin, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Peking University, St. Petersburg State University, and the University of British Columbia. The partners focus on sustainability as a holistic approach for collaborating in research, teaching, and campus management.
Freie Universität Berlin is pleased to be hosting the first Spring Campus event from April 11-15, 2016 on "Connecting Communities for Sustainability: Do Universities Matter?" Following a whole-institution approach, the spring campus will bring researchers, management staff, and doctoral candidates and students together to contribute to this discussion. The program will be opened by the president of Freie Universität Berlin, Prof. Peter-André Alt, and Prof. Dr. Dr. Klaus Töpfer, the former Director of the United Nations Environmental Program and former German Minister for Environmental Protection.
Sustainability has become a key global issue in recent years. A growing number of networks, institutions, and stakeholders emphasize the significant role of universities in shaping the discourse on sustainability. Being active in research and teaching as well as managing often large and complex campuses, universities are ideal societal test-beds for sustainable solutions.
But what are the conditions for universities to become active agents in sustainability? Although more and more universities are engaging with this issue, their impact on global sustainable development remains modest. Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches are at the core of sustainability oriented research, teaching, and campus management. The UAS network therefore strives to overcome the usual segmentation of higher education institutions.
The Opening Day features key note speeches from Prof. Dr. Dr. Klaus Töpfer (former Executive Director of UNEP) and Walter Hirche (German Sustainability Council) as well as key notes from representatives from all UAS partner universities. The talks will be followed by a panel discussion on the overall topic critically discussing the role of universities in sustainable development.
In addressing the topic of "Connecting Communities for Sustainability: Do Universities Matter?" the Spring Campus of the University Alliance for Sustainability will critically reflect on the role of universities as societal actors and the integral function of communities and community engagement. Building and engaging communities to jointly develop and maintain sustainable societal solutions will be paramount in the process of a "Great Transformation". Within the framework of the UAS, the Spring Campus will also focus on how international networks can connect communities and trigger engagement in sustainability. The Alliance welcomes contributions and participants from other universities at the Spring Campus.
On Tuesday and Wednesday (April 12-13) we will continue with a program of parallel running workshops:
Researchers may choose to participate in one of the 3 Research Incubators:
Staff working in the field of Sustainable Campus Management and related fields like communication and outreach are invited to participate in the Management Workshop "From Vision to Commitment: Sustainable Campus Management".
The Spring Campus of the University Alliance for Sustainability expects 113 guests from home and abroad. Those attending are from 18 universities and 9 institutes in 11 different countries.