Four days of envisioning how we, students, can make our universities more sustainable
One month ago, more than 80 students, staff, and associated partners out of 6 countries came together to share their experiences and learn about sustainability in higher education. The purpose of the European Green Office Summit was to inspire, motivate and connect the Green Offices of Europe.
The European Green Office Summit lasted for four days filled with numerous activities: from talks about ‘How to sell sustainability’, learning how to lobby for a GO, exchange of best practices between the GOs, to inspiring keynote speeches of Dopper and World Merit. Informal fun activities such as a pub crawl and a pub quiz were also organized, so that the non-Dutch participants of the summit from Belgium, Sweden, Italy and Germany could enjoy the touristic side of Amsterdam.
Diversity and awkward games
I asked Ines and Yorick from GO Wageningen how they liked it. Yorick: “The great diversity in how GOs are functioning surprised me. Before going to the summit, I thought Green Offices were similarly organized, but this is definitely not the case. I think this diversity is something good! Besides this, I found that the organization of the summit was excellent. Even the smallest details were taken care of. An example of this is the introduction game on the first day. We had to ask specific personal questions to as much people as possible and we had to give a description of each other’s character without knowing the other person. Although some people might have found it awkward, I liked it and I think it worked to accelerate the process of getting to know each other.”
Ines: “what I liked most is to meet students that are also working on making their university more sustainable. This is in contrast with the depressing day-to-day news. Knowing that there are plenty of people outside doing the same gave me a lot of inspiration and energy to keep on trying to making this world a little bit better.”
GO VU’s organizational skills contributed to the success of the summit
Green Offices already have a whole bunch of work to do within their universities. Still, Green Office VU found time next to their daily activities to take up this big task of organizing the summit together with rootAbility and Studenten voor Morgen. Megan, offline community coordinator of the VU: “We were most proud of all of the separate parts of the program coming together to form one whole out of the Summit During the weekend it seamlessly flowed into one exciting rollercoaster of activities. Seeing the result of the Summit was magical for us. It made all of the hours of hard work, brainstorm sessions and Skype meetings with SvM and rA completely worth it, every single second of it!”
Want to get a feeling how the summit was and what the Green Office movement is about? These pictures and this video give a good impression of the atmosphere of the summit. The notes of all of the sessions of the summit are available here.