From 8 - 9 June 2022, the sixth Sustainable Days of the University of Graz took place. This year under the motto All we need is CHANGE - Transforming Education for Sustainable Futures.
The Sustainability Days 2022 began with a lecture "Genuine Sustainability an Interdisciplinarity through a Planetary Perspective", followed by a workshop "Aus- und Einwirkungen der Digitalisierung auf Umwelt und Gesellschaft". The afternoon program was introduced with a guided tour through the exhibition "Klimakriese und Bewusstseinswandel" and consisted of a short fair "Transforming Education @ Uni Graz", a workshop "Pflanzliche Rohstoffe" and a lecture "Making a Change - Being the Change". As an evening program there was a lecture "Reimagining the Future with Rob Hopkins", a British climate activist.
The second day started with the lecture "How transdisciplinary process and stakeholder engagement can help to sustainibly shape global futures". It continued with a workshop "Online Learning for Sustainability in a Post-pandemic World" and a lecture "Psychologie der Klimakriese - Hoffnung durch Handlung". In the afternoon, in cooperation with the Schubertnest, there was the "Ehrenamtsmesse" and the workshop "Become a System Changer @ Uni Graz". The Sustainability Days 2022 were concluded with a panel discussion entitled "All we need is Change - Wie transformativ ist Lehre an der Uni Graz?".
On both days there was as usual the Radelcheck and just as over both days you could visit the exhibition "Klimakriese und Beweusstseinswandel".
We use a wide variety of items every day without really knowing where they come from or what they are extracted from. On a small trip around the world through the greenhouses, the focus was on where and how our much-used raw materials actually grow. In addition to questions about origin and production, thoughts about the sustainability of different objects also found space. What did a jute bag actually go through before we can hold it in our hands – and is it now more sustainable than a plastic bag? Could bamboo be the raw material of the future? Where does the blue color of the jeans come from? Finally, there was a small craft activity and each participant went home with a plant.
Rob Hopkins is co-founder of Transition Network and Transition Town Totnes and the author of several books, including "The Transition Handbook" and most recently "From What Is to What If: unleashing the power of imagination to create the future we want". He is an Ashoka Fellow, has spoken at TED Global and at several TEDx events, and has appeared in the French film phenomenon "Demain". He holds a PhD from the University of Plymouth and is director of the Totnes Community Development Society and the New Lion Brewery. He also hosts the podcast "From What If to What Next". In his talk, Rob Hopkins argued that universities could do so much more to be at the forefront of the climate and environmental crisis. He argued that our main goal at the present moment should be to cultivate the longing for a lower-carbon future, and that means harnessing the powers of storytelling, art, design, beauty, music, and culture. In support of his demands, he told inspiring stories from around the world that told change guided by imagination.
In her interactive lecture translated "Psychology of the Climate Crisis – Hope through Action", Anna Pribil addressed different environmental psychological concepts and answered the question: "Why do so many people know about the climate crisis, but so few do anything about it?" Furthermore, she also pointed out individual limits and directed the focus away from the individual towards a system change that is urgently needed. Other topics that were touched on are climate emotions, why they are important and how to deal with them in the best possible way, climate resilience and successful climate communication: "How do you talk about the climate crisis in order to reach as many people as possible and move them to action?". At the end, it was discussed how students and teachers can help shape a sustainable transformation.
At the panel discussion 2022, Prof. Alfred Posch (Dean of Studies URBI Faculty), Prof. Kathrin Otrel-Cass (Institute for Educational Research and Educational Education), Prof. Bernhard Ungericht (SBWL Head of Business Ethics and Operational Responsibility Management), M.A. Philipp Wilfinger (CCCA, Wegener Center, Co-Founder Fridays For Future Austria) & Sarah Rossmann (1st Deputy Chairwoman ÖH Graz) deal with the question of which transformations are needed in teaching to make them fit for the future. In particular, it was about the current status of the University of Graz and in which direction the university would like to develop and must develop in view of the global challenges. It was also discussed what the path to a more sustainable teaching looks like and what challenges can arise in such change processes. The discussion was opened by Managing Rector Dr. Peter Riedler.
In 2020, the Sustainability Days at the University of Graz took place for the fifth time. This time on the subject of climate protection policy of the university.
However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there have been some changes, including moving the event date from summer to winter. For the very first time the Sustainability Days took place in December.
Unfortunately, due to Corona requirements, it was not possible to run all event points as planned, as only online format events were allowed, but not all event points could be transferred to an online format.
Already in June, the Radlcheck was organized in cooperation with the association Bicycle Socio-Economic Company, which enjoys great popularity among both students and employees every year. We are very happy that we were able to organize this under the current Corona regulations and thus contribute to more green mobility at Karl Franzens University.
The highlight of the Sustainability Days 2020 was the panel discussion "How "Greta" is the university?" on the topic of sustainability at the university, which took place in December. All interested parties were able to watch the discussion via online livestream on the university's YouTube channel and the audience had the opportunity to discuss live and ask questions online via the comment function.
As panel guests we had the pleasure to welcome Dr. Peter Riedler (Vice Rector for Finance, Human Resources and Location Development of the University of Graz), Ms. M.Sc. Lisa Bohunovsky (Coordinator of the BOKU Sustainability Strategy and Alliance of Sustainable Universities and Sustainability Researcher), Viktoria Wimmer (Chairwoman of the ÖH-Uni Graz Parliamentary Group GRAS) and Line Niedeggen (Activist Fridays for Future Germany). Among other things, they discussed questions such as "What is the status quo in the field of sustainability and climate protection at the University of Graz?” and “What else can/should be done here?".
The panel discussion can still be viewed at YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-YtJpzPvjM
Another event point was DIY videos in a Christmas edition to motivate people to upcycle leftover materials.
A Design Thinking Challenge was held for the second time as part of the Sustainability Days: "Sustainability Design Thinking Challenge - Smart. Green. Future." Click here for the SDTC 2020 review.
In the AirCampus interview "How "Greta" is the university?", Emily and Lina, members of the organization team of the Sustainability Days, explain what this year’s motto means, which awards the University of Graz has received for hosting the Sustainability Days and what can be understood by Design Thinking Challenge.
Click here for the article.
We would like to thank all those involved in the events for the good cooperation and we would also like to thank the visitors for their participation, which was unfortunately only possible online this year!
The Sustainability Days at the University of Graz took place for the fourth time in 2019.
In 2019, the days were dedicated to the topic of sustainable mobility. The program included various lectures, workshops, a panel discussion, a bike check and much more.
A highlight of the Sustainability Days 2019 was the Green Mobility Design Thinking Challenge, which took place for the first time.
In the AirCampus interview "Moving more", Hannah and Annemarie, members of the organization team of the Sustainability Days, explain why sustainable mobility is so important, especially now, and what you can imagine by Design Thinking Challenge. Click here for the article.
In 2018, the University of Graz not only hosted the Sustainability Day, but also the Sustainability Days of the University of Graz. The thematic focus Future Today - your Agenda 2030 had set itself the goal of addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the SDGs should become more widely known . In this context, an SDG exhibition was offered at the Resowi just before the Sustainability Daysstarted. Each SDG was displayed on one poster and students and staff were able to discuss about the content of each SDG and its level of achievement in Austria.
The grand finale was the Climate Action Theather with the Pennyless Players.
As in previous years, the initiative fair, the bike check, the e-car test drive and a film screening were not missing. In the course of the future workshop, visitors could try their hand at making their own cosmetics and beeswax cloths.
The panel discussion focused entirely on the topic of the 2030 Agenda and analyzed where Austria currently stands. As podium guests we were able to welcome Mr. Nesirky, Mrs. Walter, Mr. Mördinger and Prof. Steininger.
In the AirCampus interview "Good today, better tomorrow", Annemarie and Fabian, members of the Sustainability Days organizing team, explain what lies behind the motto Future Today - Your Agenda 2030 and what role the university plays in it. You can find the article here.
The Sustainability Day 2017 took place under the motto Sustainability at the University of Graz. On 31 May, students and staff were able to find out about sustainability issues in various fields.
Research at the university played a decisive role, contributing topics such as green chemistry, game-based learning and which design principles are necessary for urban laboratories and experiments. These lectures were framed by numerous workshops, an awareness cinema, an initiative fair and a bike check.
The crowning finale of the day was the awarding of a university bike to the winner of the ideas competition. The aim of the competition was to show ways of making the University of Graz more sustainable. The idea of the winner was implemented afterwards.
In 2016, the first Sustainability Day took place at the University of Graz on 1st June. It was organized by students of the University, oikos Graz and the ÖH.
Part of the program were lectures on the following topics:
- Sustainability for what? by Prof. Friedrich Zimmermann (RCE Styria)
- Austria on the way to a sustainable energy system: obstacles and opportunities by Dr. Heinz Kopetz (Weltbiomassverwand)
- Bank for the Common Good by Willi Gürtler (Project Bank for the Common Good)
- USW Talks - Climate Justice and Energy Efficiency by Mag.Dr. rer. Soc. oec. Ulli Gelbmann, Johannes Schwarz and DI Dr. Werner Prutsch
- Sustainability at universities: What can students contribute by O. Univ. Prof. Dr. phil. Helga Kromp-Kolb (BOKU)
The lectures were framed by numerous workshops and the initiative fair.