Making the UM greener is not easy. But I want to help.

by: in General Maastricht Students
Green Impact Maastricht University

Blog by UCM-student Svea Grünkorn about Green Impact.

The Green Impact programme first crossed my mind when I saw a picture of the frog “Kermit” being circulated within the university. Teams of the UM-wide Green Impact programme were trying to steal the stuffed animal from one another whereby they would score points for the challenge. The Green Impact challenge is a behaviour change and engagement programme which encourages staff and students to take sustainability actions during their daily lives at Maastricht University.

Green Impact

What can you do as a student?

When I saw that the programme is looking for Green Impact Student Auditors, this seemed like a great opportunity to get insights on how to promote and integrate principles of sustainability into the workplace. Becoming a Student Auditor also involved a free workshop in which we learned about sustainability efforts within UM and acquired environmental auditing skills. Students from a variety of academic backgrounds participated in this workshop, but we all had in common that we are eager to enhance UM´s transition to become more sustainable.

Having a lunch with staff?!

So far, I had the chance to meet two of the Green Impact teams for a feedback session – and a delicious vegan lunch! Together with another Student Auditor, we discussed the team´s progress on the sustainability actions they are currently implementing. The actions are wide-ranging: from putting plants into offices and ugly sweater contests, to finding sustainable catering options and calculating the department´s CO² emissions resulting from air travel. Many Green Impact team members shared that they enjoyed realising these different actions with their colleagues, as it is something different from the usual day-to-day business and something they really care about! In May, the final audits will take place in which we as Student Auditors will meet the teams again, in order to review and evaluate their completed actions – hopefully enabling them to win an award of the Green Impact challenge!

Action on all levels needed

To me, becoming a Green Impact Student Auditor is a nice chance to contribute to UM´s transition towards a sustainable university and to learn more about ways to encourage behaviour change. Achieving a sustainable UM by 2030, and ultimately a sustainable city as a whole, requires cooperation, communication, and – most importantly - action on all levels. This is exactly what Green Impact tries to promote between the different levels of UM. Being a 23-year old student who will probably witness the detrimental effects of climate change in the next decades, it is very encouraging to witness that the principles of sustainable development are spreading and are receiving so much enthusiasm and engagement. However, the Green Impact programmes also illustrates that sustainability is not only about the environment, but also about how we relate to our institutions, communities, and to one another. So after all, joining the Green Impact programme as a Student Auditor certainly showed me new ways to relate to Maastricht University and the many people involved in its sustainability transition!

Notes from the Green Impact team:
Would you like to become a Green Impact Student Auditor as well? You have until April 8th to sign up!

In May an award show, open for everyone, will take place to thank all of the 18 Green Impact teams and to share what they have been working on. Follow us on Facebook for more updates.

Read about the entire sustainability programme of UM: Sustainable UM2030.