Sustainability is a word that gets bandied about a lot these days. But what does it actually mean? In the last edition of Campus Talks we discussed sustainability on the University of Twente campus. This time, the online talk show hosted by tech philosopher Peter-Paul Verbeek discussed sustainability initiatives that focus on energy and resources. We also like to label our students and staff as ‘sustainable’, but how sustainable is the UT community really? Joining Peter-Paul Verbeek in the studio was Mirjam Bult, vice-president of the Executive Board. Together, they faced critical questions from University Rebellion and other UT students.
Dr Mirjam Bult will soon be joining the Netherlands’ Council of State. In her six years on UT’s Executive Board, she has been responsible for all campus-related matters and has initiated the process of making our energy supply and production processes more sustainable. How sustainable is the campus that Bult is leaving behind? What course are we on now thanks to her work?
In his column Show me the data!, regular contributor Erik Kemp provided insight into the energy flows on campus. Are the effects of the coronavirus pandemic reflected in the statistics? And should we be satisfied with the level of sustainability we have achieved so far? UT energy watcher Nando Tolboom asked Mirjam Bult a critical question based on the data that has been published.
Should UT go vegan?
University Rebellion’s contribution to this edition of Campus Talks was a short report in which the new student movement argues that UT maintains too close a relationship with Shell, a powerful organisation mainly built on fossil fuels. University Rebellion also believes that UT could become much more sustainable, for example by switching to 100% vegan menus in the cafeterias. What are Mirjam Bult’s thoughts on this?
A sustainable community
We zoomed in on the UT community as well: how sustainable are we really? And do employees and students of different nationalities, ethnicities and gender identities feel at home at UT? Alex Jonkhart, founder of the Th!nk with Pride platform, addressed the acceptance of the LGBT+ community at UT.
Following this, student psychologist Annemarie Klanderman called in to discuss the mental health of the student population, a topic that has become even more relevant during the pandemic. Sitting through all your classes online from the confines of a cramped dorm room can be difficult, and depression, stress and anxiety about the future are on the rise. Klanderman also shares examples of how to build resilience and tap into new sources of energy. The containment measures have been tough on everyone, but the limitations that students and staff were faced with also inspired them to come up with unexpected solutions.
This edition of Campus Talks ended on a cultural note.