As a young person, you see the world around you changing. Natural disasters are becoming more extreme, and inequalities continue to grow. These are consequences of climate change. At the same time, it’s not surprising that you as a young person may feel powerless. Companies and politicians make decisions for us and we have to deal with the consequences. That’s why we’ve been looking for ways in which we, as individuals, can contribute to a more sustainable world. We, Bine and Luca, found this opportunity last year with ‘Studenten voor Morgen’ (SvM).
Studenten voor Morgen is an organization which tries to integrate sustainability into higher education. This might sound vague, but there are four main groups which the organization focuses on. Each target group relates differently to the higher education structure. The four target groups are student inflow, current students, students outflow and educational institutions. In this article we would like to walk you through the different target groups, and how we try to impact each different group differently, to create the biggest impact possible.
1. Student inflow
One of the key areas that we at Studenten voor Morgen want to make more sustainable is “student inflow”. This relates to all students entering university life. To give some practical examples, we have, for instance, launched the website: ‘duurzamestudies.nl’. On this website we gather all sustainable bachelors, masters, and minor programs in the Netherlands. This provides students with tools to choose a sustainable field of study! Additionally, we are currently working on a sustainability ranking for orientation weeks in the Netherlands: ‘Duurzame Introductie Tijd’. This is an effort to encourage orientation weeks to facilitate the most sustainable introduction to the city for new students. By organizing a sustainability workshop for orientation weeks, we can see what is actually being implemented in practice and provide the introduction weeks with sustainable tips and stimulate knowledge sharing. This way, we can clearly see the impact we have made with SvM. Which orientation week do you think can call itself the most sustainable this year? Keep an eye on our socials to find out!
“Students” is the biggest focus of SvM due to the many projects which are focussed on this target group. One of the projects you are probably familiar with is this website: duurzamestudent.nl! Here we try to get students actively involved with sustainability, but on a low level with only a little effort 😉You can either be involved as a writer, or read the articles that are written for you. If you’re interested in the first part, check out the editor vacancy here. Either way, you contribute to a more sustainable student life.
Another project SvM is involved in is the SPRINT. SPRINT is a project led by the Dutch National Youth Council (NJR). Here, adolescents get the opportunity to do social service time in a youth-led organization. Knowledge is spread by the youth, for the youth!
3. Student outflow
We also focus on “student outflow” at Studenten voor Morgen. This means that we want to motivate students to pursue a sustainable career after their studies. We do this, for example, by organizing the “Sustainability Career Event” where we bring together companies and students.
Here, we learned that sustainability is incredibly important and applicable in every field of work. It’s great to engage in conversations at the event with fellow students who are also passionate about sustainability. This is a shared passion that you can talk about endlessly. These students are enthusiastic about the opportunities that Studenten voor Morgen offers them. It is a great way to see the impact you’re creating.
4. Higher education
Besides students, we also focus on higher educational institutions. Working together with employees of universities or universities of applied sciences, we try to impact certain decision making. For example, last year we were involved with policy writers of a certain educational institution, and stimulated them to make progressive choices. We also have close connections to a lot of Green Offices (GOs) at educational institutions. GOs are (mostly) student-led organizations which are all about sustainability at their educational institution. Take a look at the Instagram of for example @greenofficeuu or @greenofficewageningen and see what they are up to.
All in all, Studenten voor Morgen has provided us with an entry point into the world of sustainability. We have become part of a community of motivated young people who want to make the world a better place. This has led to a sense of empowerment dominating our perspective. We believe that we as young people can come together to make higher education greener and, in turn, create a greener world.