The Student Sustainability Office at the University of Freiburg opens on June 21, 2023

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The team of the Student Sustainability Office: Helen Dörr, Lucas Thil, Lena Rohw
The team of the Student Sustainability Office: Helen Dörr, Lucas Thil, Lena Rohwedder (left to right) and Priska Schweikert (not pictured). Photo: Jürgen Gocke

Office provides support, networking, and information for those involved in sustainability at the university

Sustainability is a pressing issue - also for many students at the University of Freiburg, who are involved in a variety of initiatives for a sustainable university. To support them with advice, networking and information, the University of Freiburg has established a Student Sustainability Office, which will open on June 21, 2023. In doing so, it is implementing a proposal made by the volunteer student-led "Initiative Sustainability Office," which has been advocating for the establishment of a sustainability office at the University since 2018. The newly created office provides a central point of contact and coordination for all students and interested parties who want to help shape a sustainable future at the University of Freiburg, contribute ideas and drive their implementation. It is located at the Office of the Vice-President for Internationalization and Sustainability and is run by the Sustainability Manager of the University of Freiburg and four students.

A platform for students dedicated to sustainability

In particular, the Sustainability Office is also intended to act as a link between the student body and the University. It is embedded in the large network of diverse university groups and student initiatives concerned with sustainability. As the University’s largest group, students play a major role in shaping the University’s sustainability profile. The Sustainability Office now serves as a central platform for their questions, ideas and concerns about university sustainability. With information, contacts and support for the development of ideas, projects and networking of stakeholders, the Sustainability Office also offers students a wide range of support options. The Office is also open to all interested parties who would like to deal with the topic of sustainability at the University.

The Sustainability Office is located at the Office of the Vice-President for Internationalization and Sustainability, which was established in 2021. Its focus is on networking and furthering sustainability and its accompanying measures in all aspects of University life. Further, its aim is to establish a comprehensive culture of sustainability at the University. "As a university, it is of great concern to us to be able to offer students such a platform," says Daniela Kleinschmit , Vice-President for Internationalization and Sustainability. "The establishment of the Sustainability Office underscores that the University sees sustainability as a task that encompasses all aspects of the University, which will only be successful if we take an inclusive approach. Students, of course, play a central role in this process."

Enabling an exchange of ideas

Its central location at the University enables the Sustainability Office team to continuously interact with all relevant stakeholders at the University. Thus, the Office will participate in thematically relevant University committees such as the Sustainability Council, the Working Group Sustainable University and the Program Advisory Board of the Sustainability Certificate. In addition, the Sustainability Office will continuously support existing high-profile cooperation projects, such as the University Days for Sustainability and the "Erstsemester-Akademie BaWü zukunftsfähig Freiburg" (First Semester Academy BaWü Freiburg), which have so far been organised by various student volunteer initiatives, partly in cooperation with the University.

The Sustainability Office team consists of four student assistants who independently plan and implement projects. Communication, transparency, consensus-oriented decision-making and flat hierarchies are to define their work. The University’s Sustainability Manager, Lora Gyuzeleva , heads the office and coordinates collaboration with the various University offices. The space of the new Sustainability Office is located at Hebelstraße 10 near the city centre. It is not only used by the office team, but also serves as a place where interested parties can get information and exchange ideas. Regular office hours and networking opportunities enable the low-threshold participation of sustainability stakeholders. In this way, sustainability engagement should become as accessible and attractive as possible for students.

Volunteer student-led "Initiative Sustainability Office" kicked off in 2018

The creation of the Student Sustainability Office at the University of Freiburg was initiated by the voluntary student-led "Initiative Sustainability Office." Following on from the international Green Office Movement, the initiative has been campaigning for the establishment of a student sustainability office since 2018. With the opening of the Sustainability Office at the University of Freiburg, the initiative has achieved its central goal and is now disbanding. Helen Dörr , a member of the initiative, continues to work on the team of the newly created Student Sustainability Office: "We are pleased that our now five-year initiative has borne fruit. We had the necessary perseverance to succeed, not least due to the tailwind of many groups and individuals at the university. From now on, students will be structurally supported by the new Student Sustainability Office in advancing sustainability at the University of Freiburg."

Starting June 21, 2023, the Sustainability Office will be open to all interested parties at Hebelstraße 10, room 02012 (3rd floor).

The office hours of the Sustainability Office are Wednesdays from 2 pm to 4 pm.

The office can also be reached via