Reviewing the first UNI-ECO Summer School

Jul 30, 2021News

The UNI-ECO Summer School took place from July 19th to 22nd 2021, as a virtual event hosted by Trinity College Dublin. 118 participants attended the event.

Among many objectives, one of the biggest projects of the UNI-ECO partnership was to hold a Summer School. Staff and students from Barcelona, Budapest, Dublin, Montpellier, and Utrecht were welcome to join to discover more about sustainability. The event aimed to create an instructive and international atmosphere around sustainability in Higher education institutions (HEIs).

Various sessions were organized around sustainable topics. One of the sessions was focusing on the different Green Challenges projects. Indeed, 10 of the selected projects from the 5 universities were competing during the Summer School. For three days, each team introduced their project and one of them has been chosen as the winner by the end of the Summer School. Participants had the chance to hear about green finance, sustainable period products, recycling, secondhand resale service and free waste for example. On the very last day, the winning team was selected for further funding and a better exposure in its university.

Another session was dedicated to best practices among the different universities. The objective of those sessions was for each university to describe their best sustainable practices on their campus. Trinity College Dublin exposed it sustainable commitments in many areas such as biodiversity, consumption, waste management, water, and sustainable transport. Some of their initiatives are promoted through events like an annual Green Week, campaigns on waste reduction, and supports for students in Direct Provision. The university of Utrecht is also very committed in promoting sustainable transports, and students can get funds to travel with trains instead of taking the plane. In Montpellier, the sustainable approach of the Engineering school Polytech was shared. They showed their budget allowances for sustainability and how they invested their energy in getting responsible campus awards. At the university of Barcelona, sustainable development is a subject integrated in the curriculum since 2007. For instance, they organize trips to visit sustainable social and agri-food experiences. And in Budapest, student events are organized on different topics. A focus was made about waste management and how they are supporting compost, recycling, and prevention.

The third session was entitled “Tackling Community Change” and was dedicated to thematic lectures from different stakeholders. During those sessions, the Summer school participants heard about psychology of cooperation through a presentation and a discussion led by Dr Shane Timmons from the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin. The second session talked about the issue of reducing consumption. The interactive session was facilitated by Mindy O’Brien, co-ordinator from the NGO VOICE Ireland. And finally, the question of how to reimagine green spaces was addressed by Professor Marcus Collier from the School of Natural Sciences in Trinity College Dublin.

This event was the opportunity for staff and students to discover, network and exchange with people passionate about sustainability. People learned about sustainable practices all over Europe and it was an incredible moment of sharing.

The next Summer School will be hosted by Utrecht University in 2022.