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  • Sustainability Report 2023


    Campus Bielefeld University
    Bielefeld University

Campus Life & Operations

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Prof. Dr. Dominik Schwarz
Dominik Schwarz, Rectorate representative in the participation process for the creation of the sustainability mission statement

Understanding the university as a laboratory for sustainability.

Dominik Schwarz

The 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics, which was awarded for a physical model of the Earth's climate, the quantification of its fluctuations and the reliable prediction of global warming, once again made it unmistakably clear that there is a fundamental scientific consensus on the current change in the Earth's climate and the causal role of humans. Based on the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the international community agreed to curb climate change back in 2015 with the Paris Agreement.

As an interdisciplinary reform university, Bielefeld University is predestined to contribute to research into the Earth-human system. The social mandate for the university to provide the next generations with the knowledge to deal with the challenges of nature and society also means that the university itself must be seen as a laboratory for sustainability.

The operation of the university in particular opens up numerous opportunities to act in a more resource- and energy-efficient manner. This applies, for example, to the planning of new buildings for the Faculty of Medicine, the choice of means of transport on the way to university, or the promotion of biodiversity on campus.

As part of the Operations working group, we have investigated how we can organise studies, research and teaching as well as life on campus in such a way that we use our resources sustainably and have developed corresponding sustainability goals for campus life and operations.

To this end, we have carried out an initial stocktaking in eight subgroups on the topics of construction and real estate, procurement and controlling, food and drink, energy, information technology, materials management, employees and mobility and bundled ideas for the future of Bielefeld University. We have exchanged ideas with external partners such as Bau- und Liegenschaftsbetrieb NRW and Studierendenwerk [Association for Student Affairs] Bielefeld, as many of the goals cannot be achieved without the cooperation of various institutions. We have derived ambitious and, in our opinion, achievable goals for each of the eight aspects mentioned and submitted them to Bielefeld University's committees in the draft sustainability mission statement.

Once again, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the students and staff of Bielefeld University who have contributed their knowledge and ideas to the process with great commitment. I would also like to thank everyone who took part in the discussion in the university committees. Your questions and comments have helped us to make this sustainability mission statement a solid basis for the next steps. With the Sustainability Report 2023, we now have an up-to-date, publicly accessible assessment of the situation.

Finally, I would like to thank the employees of the Sustainability Office. You have provided us with outstanding support in terms of both organisation and content.

I wish all readers of the report an informative read!


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