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  • Sustainability

    Campus of Bielefeld University
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Participatory Process Sustainability Mission Statement

As part of the Participatory Process, the Sustainability Mission Statement was developed together with university members. The mission statement contains long-term targets for the pursuit of sustainable development at the University. In addition, it represents the fundamental understanding of sustainability of the University and is thus also the basis for reflection with regard to the processes of sustainable design. In the first half of 2023, the Sustainability Mission Statement will go through the University's committees for consultation and will finally be adopted by the Senate in the summer.


The Participatory Process began with the kick-off event, at which suggestions and ideas for sustainability goals for the University were initially collected. From June 2022, the three working groups Study & Teaching, Research and Operations dealt in detail with the corresponding objectives, which will be combined into the final mission statement.

The kick-off event took place on April 28, 2022. Here, all university members were invited to join in the discussion and to contribute ideas, concerns and suggestions for sustainability at Bielefeld University.

In the online event, first steps, measures and previously collected suggestions for sustainability were presented. Afterwards, the participants discussed in small groups under the guidance of moderators. There, they formulated their respective understanding of sustainability, the steps they had already taken personally, and their wishes for the University in terms of sustainable change.

You can view the presentation shown at the kick-off event here.

The wealth of suggestions that were expressed was great. As expected, a large number of wishes were expressed, particularly in the area of sustainable changes in Operations. These ranged from resource-saving measures such as increased digitization or reduced water consumption, to changes in mobility processes, the possibility of more sustainable food in the university canteen and more ecological campus design, to more sustainable personnel planning and financial management. Numerous suggestions were also made in the areas of Research, Study and Teaching, particularly with regard to anchoring sustainability in corresponding mission statements. Finally, cross-cutting issues, such as communication principles, incentive systems or network processes, covered a large area of the wishes.

Based on the results of the kick-off event, the corresponding thematic working groups discussed the formulation of objectives for the Sustainability Mission Statement.

Following the kick-off event, the working groups on the various areas of the University (Research, Study & Teaching and Operations) began their work. The working groups were open to all interested university members. A total of 90 people were active in the three working groups. Within six months, they worked out concrete goals for their respective areas that the University should achieve or pursue. In doing so, they drew on the results of the kick-off event, developed these further and came up with their own ideas.

The working groups were led by rectorate representatives who took over the sponsorship for the respective area. The rectorate representatives coordinated the meetings of the working groups and clarified which specific expertise was needed. In order to ensure that the procedure was uniform and that contact was always maintained with the other working groups, a meeting of the rectorate representatives was held on a regular basis.

The rectorate representatives for the various working groups were:

One meeting of each working group was "students only". Students could register separately for these meetings. The additional "students only" meetings were intended to allow students to explicitly contribute their views on the respective topic area as well as concrete wishes and goals in a space created specifically for them. They created the opportunity for direct and active student participation in the individual areas of the Sustainability Mission Statement. Of course, students were also cordially invited to participate in the regular working group meetings.

The "students only" meetings took place on the following dates:

  • WG Study & Teaching: Wednesday, 12.10.2022, 6 - 8 p.m., UHG C2-136 .
  • WG Operations: Friday, 21.10.2022, 9 - 11 a.m., UHG C2-136
  • WG Research: Monday, 24.10.2022, 16 - 18 h, UHG C2-136
  • Joint meeting of all WGs: Monday, 11/21/2022, 4 - 6 p.m., UHG C2-136

The working groups' drafts are compiled by the Sustainability Office into a final draft of the Sustainability Mission Statement. This will then first be discussed with the rectorate representatives and then submitted to the committees for the final passing of a resolution.

Consultation in the committees is expected to take place from April 2023.


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