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Since Monday, 4 February university staff have had the opportunity to sign an open letter urging Dutch universities to adopt more ambitious climate policies.

Photo: Flickr,

The climate letter is an initiative by a group of around 20 researchers, and calls for universities, faculties and staff to support an ambitious climate policy. At this time the letter has been signed by approximately 800 people. The UvA heartily extends its support for these climate goals.

Jan Lintsen, the UvA Executive Board member tasked with overseeing finances and operational management says, ‘As a large educational institution we can and should contribute to the fight against climate change. As Executive Board we therefore support this initiative and will start working towards a solid sustainability programme.’

What will happen?

The coming months we will make an inventory of sustainability practises currently in place at the UvA, as well as areas in which we can substantially expand our efforts. We will work on innovative, interdisciplinary and empirically substantiated measures in order to reduce our emission levels. We will also make a plan for increasing the focus on sustainability within our curriculums. We expect that our sustainability programmes will be presented before the summer period. 

Sustainability at the UvA

Naturally we have already started in several areas. The new University Library will be not include gas and Building J/K on our Roeterseiland Campus is being equipped with solar panels. The UvA also recently signed the ‘Circular & Education’ manifesto. We only use cutlery made of compostable material in our canteens, and ask everyone to make minimal use of the printers. Our vending machines include doppers (re-usable water bottles) in order to reduce the use of single-use plastic bottles. And of course we will be lowering the thermostat on 15 February for the nationwide Warm Sweater Day.