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We Are ENLIGHT, We Are Sustainable

This year, the ENLIGHT Student Network organised an online Sustainable Week in honour of Earth Day on 22 April 2024. During the week from 22 to 26 April, the communication channels of our Student Network were full of posts showcasing sustainability practices of students and different student-led organisations at our partner universities. 

What was the goal? We wanted to demonstrate to students not only from partner universities, but essentially to all, how we contribute to one of ENLIGHT's pillars: sustainability. At the same time, you could glimpse at how partner universities contribute to sustainability. This article provides an overview of what happened during the week.

Let's start with an overview of the students who make an effort to be sustainable in their daily lives:

University of Basque country

Ainara, a student pursuing a Fine Arts degree at the University of the Basque Country, shared insights into her sustainability efforts. Through her artwork, she exemplified her commitment to sustainability. Ainara explained that she repurposes materials that would otherwise go to waste for her class projects, such as creating sculptures and dresses. After completing her projects, she ensures that the materials are recycled, further contributing to her sustainable practices.

University of Bern

Alina, a psychology student at the University of Bern in Switzerland, shares her sustainable practices. She enjoys painting and engaging in various handicrafts during her free time. One of her sustainability efforts involves mending her clothes when they develop small holes, rather than discarding them prematurely. Alina often adds a creative touch by embroidering flowers over the holes, giving her garments a unique and personalized aesthetic.

University of Bordeaux

Sacha, a computer science student at the University of Bordeaux, actively contributes to sustainability by incorporating reusable containers into his daily routine. Instead of relying on disposable options, he opts for refillable snack jars at the campus cafeteria. This not only saves him money but also minimizes packaging waste, transforming his lunch into an eco-friendly and cost-effective choice.

Comenius University in Bratislava

Adrian, a student at Comenius University's Medical Faculty in Bratislava, is not only passionate about saving the environment but also about saving money. To align with his values, he adopts sustainable and economical practices in his daily life. For instance, rather than buying water in disposable plastic bottles, Adrian opts for a more sustainable and cost-effective solution by carrying his own water in a reusable bottle. Additionally, he tries to commute everywhere by bicycle, seamlessly combining his love for sports with sustainable transportation practices.

University of Galway

Cameron, a PhD candidate at the University of Galway, is leading sustainability efforts in their medical lab. They have introduced energy conservation stickers and sparked discussions about waste reduction. Through these initiatives, Cameron is fostering a culture of environmental awareness and collective responsibility among lab members. Their dedication to make the workspace greener sets an inspiring example for sustainable practices in academia.

University of Groningen

Linda, a student at the University of Groningen, enjoys reading and going for runs during her free time. She embraces sustainability by exclusively using tote bags instead of plastic ones, amassing quite a collection along the way.

University of Tartu

Kirke is a a student hailing from Tartu, who is pursuing a degree in General History at the University of Tartu. In her dedication to sustainability, Kirke has opted to replace single-use plastics with a reusable water bottle. She highlights the presence of accessible taps in various study buildings at her university, a factor that fosters a culture of refilling bottles with tap water among the entire university community, thereby reducing the reliance on environmentally harmful plastic bottles.

Uppsala University

Emmy, a biology student specialising in ecology and conservation from Uppsala, Sweden. Emmy actively engages in sustainability efforts by collaborating with the environment group within her union, the Uppsala Union of Engineering and Science Students. She shared a concept developed by the group, which involves preparing lunchboxes using rescued products, such as vegetables that would otherwise be discarded. Emmy's bike serves as her primary mode of transportation. By consistently choosing her bike over car or buses, she significantly reduces emissions of greenhouse gases, contributing to a more sustainable lifestyle.

These were students, now let's take a look at how our partner universities are striving to be more sustainable:

University of Bern:
  • BENE Bern: Fostering Sustainability. BENE is a student organization at the University of Bern, PHBern, and the Bern University of Applied Sciences, is dedicated to promoting sustainability. Through initiatives like clothing exchanges and the "Studigarten" garden, they encourage eco-conscious practices among students.2024 ENLIGHT Student Garden Sustainable week
  • Äss-Bar: Fighting Food Waste. Äss-Bar is a commendable initiative recommended by Alina from the Student Network at the University of Bern. In 2021, a staggering 58 million tonnes of food waste were generated globally, with over half originating from households. To combat this issue, Äss-Bar in Bern takes action by rescuing fresh food from bakeries that would otherwise end up in landfills. By collecting these surplus bakery items, Äss-Bar offers them for sale at a reduced price, providing an affordable alternative while simultaneously addressing food waste. This innovative approach not only helps individuals access quality food at a lower cost but also contributes to a more sustainable food system.

Comenius university in Bratislava:

  • ENLIGHT Alliance Sparks Sustainability Initiative at Comenius University. Thanks to the ENLIGHT alliance project, a new working group for sustainability has emerged at Comenius University, involving students and staff from various faculties. Among the key challenges the team faces is the establishment of a Green Office at university. We wish them the best of luck in their endeavors!

  • PRIFUK Sustainability: Student-Led Initiative at the Faculty of Natural Sciences. For a year now, PRIFUK Sustainability has been active at the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Comenius University. This student association organizes various sustainable activities and provides a platform for active student involvement in topics related to the 17 global sustainability goals. PRIFUK Sustainability engages students in meaningful action, empowering them to contribute to a more sustainable future.

University of the Basque Country:

  • Sustainability at the University of the Basque Country. At the University of the Basque Country, our sustainability program is robust and wide-reaching, covering energy, consumption, health, well-being, integration of new students, and environmental care. They prioritize renewable energy sources like solar panels and hydraulic systems to minimize fossil fuel usage. Additionally, their Listening and Support Network provides tailored assistance to those in need, fostering a supportive community.

ENLIGHT: Driving Sustainability Across Alliance Universities

As Sustainable Week summary draws to a close, we, as part of the ENLIGHT European University alliance, are proud to highlight our collective commitment to sustainability across our member universities. From the University of the Basque Country to Comenius University and beyond, our comprehensive sustainability programs encompass various facets, including energy, consumption, health, well-being, and environmental care.

Through collaborative efforts and innovative initiatives, we strive to create a more sustainable future for our communities and the planet. As ENLIGHT, sustainability is not just a goal but a core value that guides our actions and shapes our impact. Together, we are pioneers of sustainability, leading by example and inspiring positive change in our universities and beyond.


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