Green Impact enables staff and students to work together to make UM more sustainable. The second edition was launched in January 2020. In many organisations, the social dimension is forgotten in the holistic (people, planet, profit) approach of sustainability issues. For that reason, UM has chosen the Green Impact approach as part of the sustainability programme, to welcome ideas and tailor made approaches from staff and students and connect them to UM’s sustainability vision.
Sustainable UM2030 chose a complete different approach this year compared to the first edition, leaving more room to the creativity or ideas from the teams. The Green Impact 2019 teams have helped in identifying this year’s topics:
- Sustainable development competencies (& training) for staff,
- Nature inclusive campus,
- Health and wellbeing at campus,
- International business travel (aviaton).
Green Impact 2020
Health and Well-being in the Built Environment (2nd place)
The proposed policy addresses the availability of water, quality of food options and the creation of relaxation spaces at the Randwyck campus, following the WELL Building Standard.
Tap water will be more readily available by installing tap points in UNS50. Contact with WML regarding this matter has already been established and a tap was offered with discount. Promotion of healthy food options by using a traffic light system for fat and calorie content in food sold at UNS40/50 is proposed. The labeling system will be further elaborated by a future master thesis. A further proposal to spread awareness of healthier nutrition involves the use of UM social media channels, mHealth tools or blogs.
A permanent relaxation room used for the sole purpose of contemplation and meditation at the Randwyck library was also proposed, providing fit balls, a yoga tutorial book, couches, meditation pillows as well as literature on stress coping methods. The Philips HUE lightning system, including its three options “relax”, “read” and “concentrate” was proposed. Several other ideas, including providing classes and restricting phone usage in the area need to be further looked into.
Competency building for UM staff members
The team took a two-pronged approach: one on identifying the sustainability skills and competencies to respond to the needs of staff and the other one focusing on a specific case study: finding a practical solution to the issue of plastic waste created in the University’s laboratories e.g. gloves. The first step aims to create future trainings and the second one to educate staff to manage wastes in a more sustainable manner.
A survey was created together with Sustainable UM2030 to find out about the preferred topics and formats to receive training on sustainability competencies. The questionnaire is still circulating and a future plan will be written according to its final analysis. Ideas for training includes workshops, online lectures, video clips, team trainings per faculty, inviting guest speakers to inspire and share practices as well as enhancing informal learning by providing space, time and resources.
The proposal on plastic waste in labs involves close cooperation with Precious Plastic Maastricht, a student organisation to create new purposeful products from plastic waste. The goal is to introduce a sustainable life cycle of plastic used in labs.
Nature inclusive campus: FASoS Green Space
The proposal of the Nature Inclusive Campus group working at the FASoS campus aims to convert two-thirds of the area behind Turnzaal and Grote Gracht 76 (currently concrete space and a car park), into a sustainable green space and extensive study garden. The proposed garden should contain multiple layers, to attain a high level of biodiversity, focusing on European endemic species. The proposal suggests to link the space to the neighbouring Beyart park area.
The transformation will serve several purposes: it will increase space, act as a carbon sink, as well as provide an attractive location for UM students and staff to relax and socialise. It will also provide an opportunity for UM to partner with the city of Maastricht in the establishment of urban nature. Lastly, creating a ‘communal’ natural area is expected to increase the users’ respect towards the space they use and result in behavioural changes towards it.
Nature inclusive campus: an Outdoor Common Area at Randwyck Campu
The aim of the proposal developed by the Nature Inclusive Campus team working at Randwyck is to enhance wellbeing and local biodiversity at the green spaces of Randwyck.
The core idea of the proposal lies in connecting us with nature. The proposal includes a community area visualisation, which would allow a better use of the Randwyck green areas in front of UNS40. Elements of the space include seating, composed of benches and large rocks. Most importantly, a garden consisting of three distinct areas is described: a community garden, a relaxation area as well as an activity area.
The three parts of the garden are designed according to preferences obtained from a survey and all plants are selected to increase biodiversity. The relaxation area will consist of a sensory garden: local berry bushes for taste, a barefoot walking path for touch, wind chimes for sound, a flower circle for smell and the overall visuals for sight. Ideas for the activity area are still to be developed fully, but will encourage outdoor exercise.