Paths to a sustainability university

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Environmental Lecture Series of TUM’s Student Coucil provides impulses for transformation

Elias Singer, Werner Lang, Lucia Layritz, and the moderation team at the fishbow
Elias Singer, Werner Lang, Lucia Layritz, and the moderation team at the fishbowl discussion on the role of universities in climate crisis.
To counter the climate crisis, fundamental societal change is just as indispensable as groundbreaking technological innovation. Universities, as places of research and transfer, have an outstanding role to play in this. On May 31, in a fishbowl format entitled "The Role of Universities in the Climate Crisis and Climate Policy," members of TUM discussed how this role can be shaped. The event is part of the Environmental Lecture Series organized by the Environmental Department of TUM’s Student Council in the summer semester 2023.

Under the title "The Climate Drama, Are we taking action or just acting like it?" renowned international experts from the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities are addressing the multifaceted impacts and demands of the climate crisis. They focus on political aspects as well as economic, technical, legal and psychological ones. The lecture series in the summer semester 2023 will run until July 18. The program can be found at umwelt.asta.tum.de/en/ringvorlesung/ . The next lecture will be given by Scottish computer scientist and economist Paul William Cockshott on June 6 on the question of economic planning in the age of climate crisis.

Universities in transformation

At the fishbowl discussion on the role of universities in the climate crisis, Vice President for Sustainable Transformation Werner Lang, undergraduate student Elias Singer, and doctoral candidate Lucia Layritz exchanged ideas on how TUM can be made climate-friendly. They debated how sustainability can be embedded in all areas of teaching and how students and staff can be empowered to actively shape change. Another focus was on the transformation of the campuses, as TUM aspires to be climate-neutral in terms of its energy consumption by 2028 - an enormous challenge. But only if universities themselves become sustainable can they act as credible agents of sustainability transformation beyond the academic field.

TUM Sustainable Futures Strategy 2030

TUM is already taking very concrete steps towards this goal. With the Sustainable Futures Strategy 2030, the university, in collaboration with its staff and students, has developed a strategy that is committed to sustainability in all areas: from the promotion of research alliances on the topic and sustainable start-up initiatives, to resource-conserving campus operations and the expansion of Green Offices, to involvement in the countries of the Global South. This is how TUM’s sustainability vision is to become reality: "Through responsibility, talent, scientific excellence and innovative strength, we are shaping a sustainable transformation of societies to ensure health and prosperity in harmony with nature and the environment for future generations."