Warm Sweater Day good step towards a more sustainable future

Leden van de Erasmus Sustainability Hub delen soep uit tijdens Warmetruiendag 2023
Leden van de Erasmus Sustainability Hub delen soep uit tijdens Warmetruiendag 2023

A cup of warming soup, good conversation and the chance to ask questions to Ellen van Schoten, vice-president of the Executive Board. Three days after recognising the climate and ecological emergency, the university is participating in Warm Sweater Day. With this, the university emphasises the importance of reducing our negative impact on the environment: we warm ourselves instead of the environment.

The event is organised by the  Erasmus Sustainability Hub (ESH), a student-run association at the forefront of promoting sustainable practices on campus, in collaboration with the EUR Sustainability programme.

Small steps towards a more sustainable world

Karlijn has been an ESH member for a year and is now helping to hand out soup: "Last year I started a minor on sustainability and that actually made me very sad. Not of the minor itself, but how we are doing with the world regarding the climate. I wanted to take action myself. Today is a very concrete action with handing out soup. We invite visitors afterwards to walk in and join the conversation."

"At the association, we try to deal with climate in a positive way. We draw strength from the things we can do. It feels like small steps towards a more sustainable life that we take together as a group. I myself love going to the campus garden. We maintain the vegetable garden there. That is very relaxing. There are also cooking classes in the Hub with vegetables from the garden. I just don't dare go there myself because I can't cook."

Ellen van Schoten op de bank met Levi in gesprek met studenten.

Open and calm conversation

Besides handing out vegetable soup, students and other visitors were also able to have a conversation with vice-president Ellen van Schoten. Levi Villa Saul Polderman, the president of the ESH, led the conversation and is glad that this opportunity was there: "Everyone could calmly ask any questions they had about sustainability and the university's recognition of the climate emergency. It was a very open discussion with Hub students, but also other students who happened to walk by and had a nice soup."

"I think it is important that we pay attention to it in a way that is connecting. Not in a way that makes us very anxious about the consequences of climate change. We focus on the points where we do have an impact and we do so in a positive and open way. The soup is a connecting factor for this a kind of warm-up."

According to Levi, the most important thing is that, on balance, the university wants to have a positive impact on climate and ecosystems. "That is the goal of the university. It's about teaching, research and operations. We now need to flesh out how we are going to do this. It is important that this is communicated quickly."

Karlijn and Levi in front of the entrance of Erasmus Sustainability Hub with bowls of soup
Karlijn and Levi with bowls of soup in front of the Erasmus Sustainability Hub

Deepen and accelerate

Sustainability manager Mariecke van der Glas agrees with Levi: "It is good that the climate emergency is recognised. The next step is to make concrete how we are really going to make our education and research more sustainable, in addition to our operations. This is not quite clear right now. There is a lot of research on sustainability but we need an overarching vision. This would help us focus our efforts better. Input from students, staff and social partners is very important for this. Then you get a nice process which in itself you also learn from."

Mariecke is happy that the sustainability programme is being expanded and accelerated. "It is nice that there is more 'power' behind it. Besides being more concrete, it just takes manpower to organise everything. Great to see that we are now taking big steps."

More information

Read all about the Erasmus Sustainability Hub


Visit our web pages concerning sustainability

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Erasmus University Rotterdam declares a climate and ecological emergency. With the declaration, the university is sharpening its own sustainable ambitions.

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