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Workshop: “Universities on the Way to Climate Neutrality”


Image Credit: Bernd Wannenmacher

organized by Katrin Schweigel and Andreas Wanke (Freie Universität Berlin)

Live Session on 05.11.2020: 4-6 pm CET. 

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More and more universities commit themselves to act on climate change. Cities and universities around the world have started to declare a state of climate emergency, making climate protection a priority in their own institutions. This development has triggered strong sustainability commitments and new activities on campus, based on a new understanding of the urgency of the climate crisis. Freie Universität Berlin was the first university in Germany to declare a state of climate emergency in December 2019 – pledging to become CO2 neutral by 2025. This decision highlights the universities’ commitment to systematically embedding sustainability and climate protection in their institutions and international networks.

In our workshop, universities that have declared an emergency, such as Freie Universität Berlin and the University of British Columbia, will introduce their strategic plans for the climate emergency. Speakers will address the following questions:

- What factors or developments led to the decision to declare a climate emergency or issue a strong sustainability commitment?

- What does a climate-neutral strategy at universities look like? What are the major milestones in achieving climate neutrality?

- Beyond reducing CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions, how can climate protection and sustainability be implemented in the whole institution?

The workshop is organized in the framework of the University Alliance for Sustainability and is open for interested universities. For further information on the workshop and registration please contact Katrin.Schweigel@fu-berlin.de.

Katrin Schweigel

Program Manager ‘University Alliance for Sustainability’, Freie Universität Berlin

Katrin Schweigel has been working in the field of international education, blended learning programs and network building for the past eleven years. She studied Political Science and English Cultural Studies in Germany and England. In 2009 she started working at Freie Universität’s Center for Global Politics (CGP), teaching the module "Media and International Politics" at the Moscow State University for International Relations (MGIMO). As program manager she worked for the blended learning M.A. International Relations Online, the Seasonal Schools and the CGP Alumni Network. Katrin coordinated various summer schools and workshops in Eastern Europe and Asia. Since 2015 Katrin is the Manager of the "University Alliance for Sustainability" (UAS) at Freie Universität Berlin. In the framework of the UAS she is building and managing the international network of researchers, students and campus management experts. The UAS unites Freie Universität Berlin and its four strategic partner universities: the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel), the Peking University (China), St. Petersburg State University (Russia) and the University of British Columbia (Canada) in fostering sustainability as a comprehensive topic for collaborating in research, teaching, and campus management. The UAS receives funding from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).


Andreas Wanke

Director of the Sustainability and Energy Management Unit, Freie Universität Berlin

Andreas Wanke, worked from 1990-2001 as a political scientist at the Environmental Research Centre (Forschungszentrum für Umweltpolitik) at the Department of Political and Social Sciences of Freie Universität Berlin focusing on consultation projects in the field of energy and environmental management. Since 2001 he has been working as the coordinator for energy and environmental management in the university administration. In that capacity he was e.g. responsible for the development and implementation of annual energy efficiency programs, the establishment of environmental teams in the scientific departments and the design of a university-wide bonus scheme for energy conservation which gives the scientific departments financial incentives to save energy. Since 2015 he is head of the Sustainability and Energy Management Unit, which manages and implements the university´s commitment to sustainability in research, teaching and campus-management. The unit is assigned directly to the executive board of Freie Universität Berlin.