By the CCR Sustainability Committee
The CEMS Sustainability Committee is not the lone organization on the Erasmus University premises that is working hard to make the planet greener. For this blog post, we interview Louise van Koppen to help introduce Cemsies to all the other green opportunities on campus.
Hey Louise, Cemsies might not know you or the sustainability hub yet, so who are you and what exactly are you a part of?
The most important thing to point out is that the Sustainability Hub, located on the ground floor of Mandeville (across from Spar), is the central place for sustainability on campus. According to the current structure, I am the chair of the sustainability community on campus. At the moment this organization is called Erasmus Involved, but we are working hard on a more integrated approach with the Sustainability Hub. Next year we will probably merge and operate under the same name.
Through the community aspect, we want to connect sustainably minded students to each other and facilitate more projects and activities that contribute to a more sustainable campus and world.
The sustainability hub is a collective of multiple initiatives, what are the current initiatives?
The current initiatives consist of the following projects:
(1) The EURWardrobe is functioning as the shared wardrobe of the university. Students drop off clothes they do not wear anymore and in return they can take something home they like. Every month clothing swaps are organized to facilitate and encourage students to make use of the EURwarderobe and show second hand clothes can be very nice too. The opening times in the hub are Monday until Friday from 15:00 - 17:00.
(2) Foodlab is more than an initiative, as it it also operates outside of the Sustainability Hub. Most importantly they organize vegan cooking workshops every Wednesday and post vegan recipes and videos online. They are also open to request and personal events.
(3) Post Plastic Generation is a well-known initiative on this campus. A group of students joined forces to combat the waste issues on this campus. They organize monthly plogging sessions to clean up city and campus. They work together with multiple stakeholders to become more sustainable. https://www.facebook.com/postplasticgen/
(4) EdibleEUR is the initiative taking care of the campus garden. Across from the Smitse, next to the volleyball field, various fruit and vegetable plants are planted. There are gardening sessions and a place for compost. As the new sports-building will be build there, we are looking to find a fixed place for the garden on campus. https://www.facebook.com/edibleeur/?tn-str=k*F
Why do you think it is important for EUR to have a sustainability hub?
The Erasmus University needs to take much more action on sustainability. This can be done in three areas: (1) Operations, (2) Education, and (3) Research. Through collectively putting pressure on the university, we can inspire staff members to take more action on the subject of sustainability, mostly in terms of education and research. Generally, professors are not going to change, unless there is a big demand from the students. Through the Sustainable community we can join our forces and advocate for education that provides us with the tools necessary to deal with the problems of the future.
Moreover, the organization provides students with the opportunity to further develop themselves in the area of sustainability by taking concrete action, joining a committee or meeting like-minded students.
Does the sustainability hub function as a voice of sustainable students to the EUR?
Not yet, but one of the goals of this year is to be the student representatives for sustainability on campus.
What big events have you been organized so far?
There have been multiple documentary screenings, clothing swaps, cooking workshops, plogging sessions, a Zero-Waste week has just been organized and we had two big openings.
What events can we expect to see in the future?
The biggest events coming up are the Erasmus Sustainability Days (ESD) which will take place from 4-7 March 2019. During the ESD, sustainability will be a central topic at the whole university. We make sure that different sustainable parties are connected to each other and provide them with the opportunity to collaborate in various events, I encourage all Cemsies to join and learn more about sustainability and what we do!
Why do you personally care about all of this?
Honestly, since I have known what we have been doing to our planet, I cannot close my eyes anymore and I am heartbroken. We are polluting the waters with plastic, the air with toxic gases, and land with landfills. It is in our own best interest to take care of our natural capital. However, personally, I don’t think that is the best motivation. We have to respect the other living creatures, whether insects, plants or animals in the same way we respect our fellow humans. We share this planet together and are ‘members or nature’, we do not ‘own nature’. I would like to encourage everyone to reduce consumption. Just as Mahatma Gandhi used to say: there is enough for the need, not the greed. I try to live by that quote everyday.
How can Cemsies get involved?
Cemsies have a really important group of students at this university, studying International Management makes them the future leaders of large organizations and institutions.
At the Sustainability Hub, you can get inspired and learn what it means to be sustainable and why it is so important. By participating in sustainable events, joining the various projects, and becoming part of the sustainable community, you will be able to develop yourselves in a more sustainable way and positively contribute to this university. I would love to meet all of you and have the opportunity to show you the Sustainability Hub.
Sign up at www.erasmusinvolved.com and become a change maker!