We are currently in the midst of a climate crisis. As long known and confirmed by science, there is an urgent need for action due to human-made climate change and environmental pollution. The University of Bern is also part of this with its activities (e.g. CO2 emissions). Universities are scientific institutions with influence, which have contributed in particular to discovering and grasping the scope of the problem. They have a special responsibility to act in accordance with their research findings. Although the University of Bern is committed to sustainability, it needs a clear signal from the students to create the necessary urgency and to push for change quickly.
The faculties, departments, and institutes are required to implement the measures and demands formulated in the SUB position paper on sustainability. The cooperation of the faculty student associations in their supporting role in the institutes is indispensable.It is particularly important in the case of federal implementation that the bottom-up principle is also taken into account. This means the student representatives have to actively assert the interests of the students. Sustainability goals can only be achieved if all units of the University of Bern actively promote and demand sustainability.
For this reason, the SR Sustainability Commission was tasked with drawing up a guideline for the faculty student associations, which was adopted by the Student Council on 24.9.2020.
We have to get involved so that the University of Bern can achieve climate neutrality. That is why we have declared Climate Emergency, called for Climate Strike, and compiled initial demands for a sustainable Uni Bern. Over the summer, we drafted a more detailed position paper for a climate-neutral Uni Bern. Here are the most important demands:
The Association for Sustainable Development at the University of Bern (BENE) and the Interdisciplinary Centre Development and Environment (CDE) at the University of Bern work towards a common goal: transformation towards sustainable development (SD). They provide a platform that links students from all disciplines, promote student activities for SD and make them visible.
Every year in March, Sustainability Weeks organized by students take place at numerous Swiss universities. Some impressions of the last Sustainability Week in Bern can be found here.
In addition, there is the U-Change funding programme, which finances student projects and structures to support student projects. It supports the development and implementation of student ideas, business models, and other activities for sustainable development.