3 Sep 2018

Opening Academic Year

Maastricht University celebrates the opening of the academic year 2018/19 on Monday 3 September 2018. We will reflect on the responsibility of universities for sustainable development in the broadest sense. We cordially invite you to celebrate the opening with us.


Sustainability means making resources last for the long run – be they the environment, funds, or people. Maastricht University wants to teach, research and practise sustainability in the broadest sense of the word. In our Sustainability Vision 2030, we have committed to taking sustainability into account in all our decision-making.

10.00 - 12.00: Symposium, Aula Minderbroedersberg 
The responsibility of universities for sustainable development in the broadest sense is the overall theme of the day. The morning symposium is organised by our student-run Green Office and focuses on behavioural change. How – if at all – can we encourage people to make the right decisions in their daily lives?

Furthermore, students and staff will present their project ideas on how to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) during a competition on SDGs. If you want to find out more about the competition, read the call for proposals.

15.30 - 17.45: Academic ceremony followed by a reception, MECC (please be seated by 15.15)
During the official opening of the academic year in the afternoon, our keynote speakers will elaborate on how collaboration is essential in achieving SDGs, in particular for European Universities. We will also present the winners of the Edmond Hustinx Prize, for a promising young researcher, and the Student Award, honouring outstanding cultural or societal achievements by students – this year also with an emphasis on sustainability. 

Registration for the opening of the academic year is closed.

In the afternoon, Dr. Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission and one of the keynote speakers, will talk about the role of European univeristies.

Keynote speakers

After an introduction by UM’s President prof. dr. Martin Paul:

  • Dr. Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission, will speak about the role of European universities
  • Kate Robertson, Co-Founder of One Young World, will look at the responsibilities of institutions, especially with regard to their social impact and sustainability
  • Prof. Dag Rune Olsen, Rector of the University of Bergen, will present the much-lauded strategy he and his university are pursuing in this respect
  • Dr. Joost van den Akker, Regional Minister of Economic Affairs and Knowledge Infrastructure, will discuss the significance of the regional impact of universities and the importance of collaboration with the public and private sectors

In the spirit of sustainability, we would like to encourage you to travel by public transport and/or bike. There are several options for renting bikes at the train station, such as OV-fiets. Bikes can be parked on location. By the way: our venue this year, the MECC, has been awarded a Green Key, a voluntary eco-label for environmental responsibility and sustainable operation in the hospitality industry.