Shaping the campus of the future: International students working towards a climate neutral campus

Nine international master students from seven universities of the ECIU (European Consortium of Innovative Universities) alliance meet up on campus today and tomorrow (28th / 29th March 2022) sighting the UN’s eleventh sustainable development goal (SDG-11) and taking up the challenge of working towards a “Climate Neutral Campus in Europe”.

The Climate Neutral Campus in Europe

The TUHH, under the leadership of the Vice President Academic Affairs, Prof. Kerstin Kuchta, has developed and promoted the ECIU Strategic Challenge of a Climate Neutral Campus. She emphasised the importance of students as role models for the university who deal with societal challenges, with the big idea that we have to prevent climate change and counteract the consequences that we face. The six-month format of the Strategic Challenge involves writing a master’s thesis and thus, combines collaborative work on a collectively developed challenge with individual research and writing. The students have already been working together since February to develop ideas to reduce CO2 emissions, increase the behavioral awareness of students and staff at the university and develop proposals to avoid “greenwashing”. Now, everyone is getting to know each other personally: Students from Trento (Italy), Aveiro (Portugal), Linköping (Sweden), Kaunas (Lithuania), Stavanger (Norway), Dublin (Ireland) and Hamburg (Germany) will meet for two days at TUHH. There will be presentations, team-building workshops and joint work phases.

“We are excited about the students’ commitment and the contribution they are making to this visionary project. The exchange of ideas and experiences on a European level is inspiring for everyone involved,” says Dr. Nadine Stahlberg, coordinator of the Strategic Challenge at TUHH. “We are delighted to host the Strategic Challenge at TUHH. It offers students a novel opportunity for writing a master’s thesis and a unique learning experience.”

A Challenge of ECIU University

ECIU University is a cooperation of thirteen European universities funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union. Find out more about ECIU on the website (https://www.eciu.org/).

Within the framework of the ECIU University, each member university is encouraged to develop challenges based on SDG-11. These challenges range in length from one day to six months and are assessed accordingly with 1-30 ECTS credits. The aim is to work together based on the pedagogical approach of Challenge-Based Learning (https://eciu.tuhh.de/challenge-based-learning/) (CBL). CBL is an innovative teaching format promoted by ECIU that aims to have students work on real problems and thereby provide scientific answers to societal needs.

Participants and organisation of the Challenge

The project is coordinated by Dr Nadine Stahlberg from TUHH and supported by Frank van den Berg, University of Twente, Raul Zarate, University of Tampere, and Uta Riedel, TUHH. Dr. Andrea Brose, Director of the ZLL at TUHH and lead of the WP Challenge-Based Education of the ECIU University initiated shaping the Strategic Challenge through a further development of the output of the Erasmus+ Project EPIC: Combining individual working phases (while working on one’s master thesis) with collaborative working phases (challenge team work), a framework in which the progress of challenge and master theses are expected to go hand in hand. From TUHH, Prof. Nima Shokri’s Institute of Geo-Hydroinformatics is involved with a Master’s thesis.