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University Alliance for Sustainability: First Network Board Meeting in Berlin

News vom 10.07.2015

Within the framework of the new „University Alliance for Sustainability“, Freie Universität Berlin, together with its four strategic partners, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel), the University of British Columbia (Canada), St. Petersburg State University (Russia) and Peking University (China), will focus on sustainability as a comprehensive topic for collaborating in research, teaching, and campus management.

The first Network Board Meeting at Freie Universität from June 25-27 built the cornerstone for the successful cooperation within the Alliance. Representatives of all partner universities discussed strategic and conceptual questions during intensive workshop sessions. Short presentations featuring facts and figures of each university, focus areas in the field of sustainability as well as each partner’s expectations for the cooperation laid the foundation for the discussions of the strategic goals and fields of joint interest.

The UAS cooperation is funded by the German Academic Exchange Service and will run until 2018. Each year will be under an Annual Topic, which is to be chosen by all partners. Prof. de Haan of Freie Universität provided an input on the topic of 2015 “Education for Sustainable Development” and the partners discussed concrete programs and projects for cooperation. As for the following years the partners decided to make “Governance for Sustainable Development” the focus of 2016. Prof. Miranda Schreurs of the Environmental Policy Research Center and Prof. Gregory Jackson of the School of Business and Economics at Freie Universität both gave inputs on governance issues in the field of sustainability and convinced the partners that this is a topic worthwhile to be explored in the framework of the UAS. The topics for 2017 and 2018 will be decided during the next meeting in 2016.

Another strategic project was the Teaching Incubator that will provide the framework for the development of joint/double degrees for M.A. and PhD programs between the partners. Furthermore, the partners looked into possible options for a joint online course on sustainability accessible for students and faculty from all universities. To realize those projects up to three teaching experts from each partner university will come to Freie Universität Berlin in fall this year.

Besides the workshops our international guests had the opportunity to learn more about sustainable campus and energy management at Freie Universität Berlin during a campus walk. Overlooking the campus and south of Berlin on one of the roof-top solar panels the strategic partners discussed options for administrative exchanges in the field of campus management and agreed to focus on the topic “Reducing the Carbon Footprint at Universities”. The team of the Sustainability and Energy Management Unit looks forward to welcoming the first administrators for a two week stay at FUB in fall this year.

Rounding off a fruitful meeting the project team took the international guests on a trip to another rather well-known roof-top in the city center – the German Reichstag – and arranged a guided tour of the parliament buildings.

Further information on the “University Alliance for Sustainability” is available here.

(An official website is under construction and will be announced soon.)

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