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The seeds of a more sustainable AU have been sown

At last week’s internal sustainability seminar, highly committed students and employees generated valuable ideas for a more sustainable AU. The next steps will be the development of a sustainability strategy and an ambassador network.

2019.03.25 | Signe Opstrup

There was a high level of commitment from the participants at AU's sustainability seminar, where 150 students and staff members attended. Photo: Lars Kruse

Inspired by three main themes and an open theme, the participants in Aarhus University’s internal sustainability seminar had an opportunity to share their own ideas and develop new ones together. A lot of creative, inspiring input came out of the seminar. Here are a few of the ideas that were proposed under each theme:

  • Transportation and purchasing: The university should develop a green transportation strategy and a sustainable strategy for purchasing. It was also pointed out that good video conference facilities will be decisive if the university is to succeed in reducing how much employees travel. The idea to introduce more bikes on campus – including rental bikes – was also discussed.

  • Food and waste management: The importance of efficient waste management at AU was emphasised, as well as encouraging the canteens to become more sustainable, a larger selection of vegetarian dishes and a reduction in meat.

  • Green campus: Participants suggested planting urban gardens on the flat roofs at AU and establishing ‘wild’ areas on campus where nature can thrive. Participants strongly supported the proposal that AU should develop a strategy to achieve CO2 neutrality.

  • Proposals generated under the open theme included courses in sustainability and the idea of an interdisciplinary sustainability council at the university. 

Read all of the ideas from the seminar on the website.

Sustainability strategy on the way

The topics discussed at the seminar and the concrete ideas generated by participants will be drawn on in the process of developing Aarhus University’s new sustainability strategy. University Director Arnold Boon sincerely appreciates the high level of engagement participants demonstrated at the seminar and values their input:

“There was a really strong will to make a difference. Not just ideas about how the university can become more sustainable, but also how students and employees can contribute. Thanks to the committed participants, the seed has now been sown for a more focused effort to encourage sustainability here at the university. The next step is to develop an ambitious sustainability strategy, and the many good ideas from the seminar will serve as input,” he says. 

Join AU’s new sustainability network and become a sustainability ambassador

In addition to the strategy, Aarhus University is launching a new network, #AUSustainability. All students and employees interested in helping to make AU more sustainable are encouraged to participate.

Monthly network meetings will be held. Ambassadors will have an opportunity to exchange ideas and inspiration with each other, as well as learning what they can do to promote sustainability at the university.

A kick-off meeting will be held on Tuesday 30 April at 16:15.

Vox pop from the seminar 

Watch a video in which a student, a professor and an administrative employee talk about their commitment to making AU sustainable (in Danish). 


Sustainability on the board’s agenda

AU’s management is very conscious of the importance of an increased focus on sustainability – in particular Connie Hedegaard, chair of AU’s board.

Although she was unable to attend the seminar, she presented her opening remarks in a prerecorded video in which she emphasised the importance of incorporating sustainability into the university’s operations. 

Watch the video welcome by Connie Hedegaard

Additional information

  • Read more about AU’s work on sustainability at au.dk/sustainability.
    Here you can find more information about the sustainability network, submit your own ideas or read examples of existing sustainable solutions at Aarhus University.
  • If you have questions, you are welcome to contact Pernille Bak Pedersen, pernillebp@au.dk
Administrative, Administration (Academic), All groups, All AU units, Aarhus University