Sustainability in University of Kiel When talking about “sustainability” I always want to ask how each of us understands this word and what does it mean to be sustainable. We heard so many times about saving natural recourses, companies becoming sustainable and etc. One can get impression that politics of sustainability can be done only by big or powerful companies, or to start change one has to be an owner of threatened resources. I have heard people talking – “sustainability” is the word of populists, single individuals can’t do much that one would become sustainable and that one’s tries to change something would be visible. But even if we start from small things, if start from each of us doing something and then getting united as for e.g. communities in university do, we can become a power and small things metamorphose to the powerful gun to fight with environmental threats as such as climate change. We all can do our contribution or payback for the damage we did in such short time. That’s what German Universities are working on. They want to unite academic communities to contribute for better environment which surrounds us. Kiel University is not exception although it has still to go a long way. It has started a movement to get involved in projects and become as more as possible environmentally friendly educational institution in Schleswig‐Holstein. This essay is to show what was already done in my University to get in the road of sustainability. As you will see later, the things already implemented in Kiel University are really basic, but in my opinion it is a good start. My participation in the Summit was aimed to bring more ideas to my “Alma Mater”. While thinking which project to accentuate for this essay, I couldn’t find only one which would be the one better than other. I came to conclusion shortly to list some of them and describe couple of them. The first one which I find useful for the environment, and for the education as well, is E‐learning platform. Ecology centre, where I am studying and which is a part of Kiel University, is using so called ILIAS system (see figure 1). Teachers and students upload their presentations, handouts, homeworks and all other necessary information on this platform. Any time and in any place where internet is available students and academics can log in, students don’t need to present printed versions of their term‐papers and teachers don’t need to spread paper‐based handouts as material can be read before the class. Second issues which I would want to mention are the things applied in every day of University daily life. Our university encourages and in most cases uses recycled paper in its printing machines. University toilets don’t have hand dryer machines in order to save electricity and announcements in the toilets reminding people to turn off the light then leaving lodgment. Subsidies for public transport also should be mentioned as part of the sustainability program of Kiel University. Students are paying registration fee each semester which include semester ticket for public transport in the city. It includes not only buses but also ferries as Kiel is situated around the fiord. One more topic I want to mention as part of politics what our university is doing for sustainability is education on sustainability. It’s not enough to tell that turning off light can save electricity. Awareness on environmental issues comes with education about sustainability in worldwide scare. Different faculties and departments are involved in different research projects where research on sustainability is not the least topic there. Moreover, student organizations together with cooperation with University organize lectures as for example such as “Fish project” (see fig. 2). Understanding about sustainability comes through education.
Above mentioned things are what Kiel University is doing or trying to implement to become sustainable. These are small things but whole community of University can easily be part of it, so, in my opinion, this gives a good start to work on bigger projects.
Fig. 1. E‐learning system ILIAS in Kiel University
Fig. 2. AIESEC project together with Kiel University professors for students about sustainability.