The GO Green Office strives to create more awareness about environmental sustainability at the TU/e campus. To increase our reach among students, we’re set up the annual Sustainability Managers Project (SUMAP) which makes use of the existing infrastructure of associations at the TU/e and in Eindhoven; establishing connections with the associations to expand the reach among students within the university, and facilitating collective sharing of knowledge and resources to increase sustainability within the associations, making them a leading example on and off-campus.
We noticed that the lack of sustainability integrated into associations is not caused by unwillingness to change. Boards are often hesitant to take action simply because they do not know where and how to begin and are busy with accomplishing their own objectives as a board. Also, they are afraid of the financial investments such actions require. By talking with several boards, we noticed that having concrete tools (information packages) offered can contribute to the integration of sustainability within student associations. The GO Green Office has the resources to provide these tools.
In order to distribute these tools in an efficient way, a strong infrastructure is needed. This infrastructure is created by appointing a Sustainability Manager (SUMA) within each association board and bringing all of Sustainability Managers together in a network. This creates opportunities in two directions:
- Within their association, the Sustainability Managers have a position in which they have a broad reach and can encourage and motivate their members to engage in sustainable activities and behavior. They have the resources (physical meeting space) and the platform (events and activities) to set an example.
- With the network, the GO Green Office facilitates open communication whereby the Sustainability Managers can share best practices, experiences, knowledge, and resources with each other. The GO Green Office will organize workshops and training throughout the year to educate the Sustainability Managers on how to steer their associations toward a more sustainable environment. Moreover, it enables the GO Green Office to easily communicate new ideas and possibilities (see Sustainable Promotion Manual) with all associations at once.
The Sustainability Managers are responsible for processing the input from the SUMAP network and contributing to the SUMAP network with their own experiences. Moreover, they can introduce a sustainability policy for their association and guide the implementation of sustainable solutions, including operational activities and structural changes within their associations. Lastly, the Sustainability Managers have the opportunity to encourage and mentor existing committees to organize their activities in a more sustainable way (based on their own sustainability policy).
Within the SUMAP network, the GO Green Office initiates an annual sustainability challenge between associations. The challenge aims to let the associations compete with each other to become more sustainable in a positive manner. Such a competition does not only serve as a means to convince associations to become more sustainable, but it will contribute to making sustainability more visual throughout the campus. Sustainability Managers can assign a (new or existing) committee within their associations that will focus on participating in the challenge. The GO Green Office has the resources to provide stimulating prizes and awards for the associations that will motivate participants for the win!