31 January 2023, by Claudia Sewig
The University’s president Prof Dr. Hauke Heekeren greets forum participants.
CSO Prof. Dr. Laura Marie Edinger-Schons introduces the Sustainability Office and its team.
Prof. Dr. Frank Adloff, head of the Humanities Centre for Advanced Studies Futures of Sustainability
Julia Gelbhaar from the Knowledge Exchange Agency’s green office and Jona Evers from student council
Gathering ideas and topics on sustainability
Over 180 University members from all areas—students, teaching staff, researchers, and other staff—have shared ideas at the first open plenum on the topic of sustainability. Together, they have already presented existent measures and goals, identified new fields of action, and established working groups. The Sustainability Office also introduced itself.
“Like all of you, it seems, I am concerned about the topic of sustainability,” said the University’s president Prof. Dr. Hauke Heekeren during his welcome speech at the Stabi. “Universität Hamburg has a good and long tradition in this area. It is a pioneer in sustainability at universities. We want to continue with this pathbreaking role. We want the University to stand for sustainability in accordance with the title of our Excellence grant application: Innovating and Cooperating for a Sustainable Future. This also means that we also assume responsibility for this issue in the larger region and wish to proceed with other stakeholders.”
Throughout the plenum, there will be short reports about existing sustainability activities at Universität Hamburg. For example, Prof. Dr. Frank Adloff introduced the work of his research group, The Futures of Sustainability. Dr. Jessica Engels, the University’s climate protection manager since May 2022, talked about creating a greenhouse-gas emission budget for the University for the years since 2019. Theresa Rötzel, research associate in the Cluster of Excellence CLICCS, talked about her job creating sustainable conference management for universities since December 2022. And Julia Gelbhaar (green office in the Knowledge Exchange Agency (in German only)) and Jonas Evers (AStA—student council) sketched student activities related to sustainability, from regular exchange with the Studierendenwerk and sustainable student diets to the work in the student council’s own climate section (in German only).
Participants developed ideas, questions, and demands at 11 thematic tables (including on climate strategy, building and renovating, sustainable food, green and responsible IT and internationalization). The concerns and ideas should be followed up in the future. Lists were also distributed so that participants could sign up. Under the leadership of the Sustainability Office, a working group should be established that will meet once or twice a semester. The open plenum on sustainability will also take place regularly.
Hauke Heekeren emphasized his delight about the fact that the University has gained a new professor of business administration with a focus in sustainable economics and a chief sustainability office (CSO) in the person of Laura Marie Edinger-Schons the University. Edinger-Schons and her team began their work on 1 December 2022. “We see ourselves playing a moderating role. Sustainability should take place in all areas of Universität Hamburg and we moderate that,” said Edinger-Schons.
She continued to say that sustainability goes far beyond climate protection, even if Universität Hamburg is scheduled to complete a climate protection concept by the middle of this year. Other topics, however, such as sustainability in teaching, are just as important. While preparing for the plenum, she said, she had registered these concerns in all areas of the University. “The overarching goal is that we can all say in a few years that sustainability is actively pursued here.”