In september 2020, the University of Twente will start Green Hub Twente. The hub, partly an initiative from a group of students, will be the central point where all knowledge and initiatives related to sustainability within the University of Twente will converge and reinforce each other. The hub will also support and develop ideas for making education, research and operational management at the UT more sustainable. The Bastille will be home to the hub, which will be run by students with the support of a permanent coordinator.
The proposal to establish the Green Hub Twente partly originates from students Wytze Haan, Jordan Raß, Janik Gerlach and Marie Klotz. As part of the Honours track Processes of Change they worked on a proposal in 2019 to start a Green Office, carried by students. They did so together with Environment & Sustainability policy officer Brechje Marechal, among others. After finishing their Honours track, they remained involved in making their idea a reality.
“There are a lot of different sustainability initiatives within the UT community already, from both students and staff members,” says Brechje Marechal. “These initiatives often run simultaneously without them being aware of one another. Sometimes they lack the right support and knowledge for successful implementation of their ideas, although there is a great wealth of sustainability knowledge and expertise available within the university.” It is often difficult for people to find this information. “The Green Hub Twente will become a central point where initiatives and knowledge are brought together so they can join forces. Moreover, the hub will play an important role in devising and implementing new sustainability initiatives.”
The establishment of the Green Hub Twente stems from the new UT strategy: Shaping2030. One of the objectives from the strategy is to transform the University of Twente into a sustainable organisation, in relation to the environment and nature as well as social and economic areas. Therefore, the Executive Board is happy to support the hub. Vice-Chair Mirjam Bult: “As a university, we want to contribute to an honest and sustainable future, not just for the university, but in a wider context. It is great to see students and staff members start their own initiatives to make this happen. The Green Hub Twente is to play an important role in the achievement of this ambition.”
The mission of the Green Hub Twente goes beyond merely increasing sustainability of the university’s business operations. Co-initiator and student Wyze Haan explains: “It could also include a sustainable enterprise programme, connecting researchers and creating visibility for research projects related to sustainability, proactive engagement in more focus on sustainability in education, organising an annual Sustainability Week, lectures and discussion sessions. Of course the Hub will not undertake all this alone; we will work together with students, staff members and external partners. Fortunately, we have already seen there is no shortage of people wanting to contribute.”
The Green Hub will become a flexible organisation, able to adapt to new ideas and circumstances. Marechal: “We know where we want to go, but not always how to get there. Also, priorities may change over time. If the journey proves a different approach would be better, we have to be brave enough to adapt. We will always work with the UT community to determine what can be done differently and better.”