Meet our SDG Taskforce!

BUas is committed to helping to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and has set up a BUas-wide SDG Taskforce.

‘It’s natural for the BUas organisation to be sustainable,’ our facility manager Tim van Leeuwen once said in an interview in BN De Stem. ‘Yes, it is natural,’ Frans Melissen agrees, ‘but you do need concrete goals, commitment from the top, structure and coordination. And that’s exactly why we set up a BUas-wide SDG Taskforce.’

Frans Melissen, Chair in Management Education for Sustainability, is one of the members of the task force, along with his colleagues Anna Koens-Waddilove, Tim van Leeuwen, Wicher Meijer, Marco van Leeuwen and Margot Guikers, which has come together to take a decisive approach to sustainability within the BUas organisation. The great thing about the task force is that colleagues from different disciplines participate in it. Education and research are represented, as is the central policy team and the facility department. In this way, effective crossovers can be made. The task force is still in its infancy, so it makes sense to start small.

In combination with the enthusiastic students of our Green Office, we can really turn BUas into a truly sustainable university

Frans Melissen, Chair in Management Education for Sustainability and member of the BUas-wide SDG Taskforce

An area to work on

The SDGs are very broad in their scope and provide a very useful framework for coordinating sustainability across the university. ‘The SDG assessment is an assignment we have been given by the Executive Board,’ Anna says. ‘We are very happy with the Executive Board's recognition that sustainability is an area to work on! With the task force we want to tackle this in a structured way. We know that a lot is already happening in the field of sustainability within BUas, but we do not have a clear overview or action plan. That is why we are starting with an assessment. If we have a better overview, we can connect existing activities and make more informed, strategic decisions about where we want to go.’

Four focus areas

‘Anna keeps us on our toes when it comes to that focal point,’ Marco laughs. ‘We are already doing stuff and it goes without saying that it's important that everything eventually comes together. Therefore, we’ve determined four focus areas. These are education, operations, research, and community engagement. To start with the educational part, sustainability is a major issue within all study programmes and focal point in many projects. With courses such as Business Law & Ethics and Sustainable Strategic Business Development, the various curricula focus on sustainability and sustainable entrepreneurship. And the BUas-wide minor in Sustainability, Social Responsibility & Professional Identity is mainly about how you can develop yourself sustainably as a professional.’

Green Office

‘We also want to involve students outside the confines of the curricula,’ Margot continues, ‘and that is why BUas has set up a Green Office based on an umbrella initiative of Studenten voor Morgen. A Green Office is a platform for sustainability that is run by students and supported by lecturers and staff. The Green Office at BUas just started out; it is an extracurricular learning community that should make the sustainable initiatives within BUas more visible. Not everyone knows we have more than 300 solar panels on the roof – and three beehives. Did you know all buildings on the campus are connected to district heating, that we demotivate the use of paper, and that there are plans for a communal garden where we can grow vegetables? We have to show and share, then it will come to life!’

How does it come to life?

‘Exactly!’, Frans confirms, ‘Last year BUas signed the SDG Charter, supporting the UN’s sustainable development agenda up to 2030, that’s fantastic! But what does this mean to us? How does it come to life!? That is what the task force is for. In combination with the enthusiastic students of the Green Office, we can really start turning BUas into a truly sustainable university. We invite anyone who wants to contribute ideas about sustainability and anyone who has ideas about how BUas can deal with this subject to either contact one of the SDG task force members or head over to the Green Office.’

Community engagement

'We recognise our responsibility to the Goals and the urgency attached to making progress towards them,' Anna concludes. ‘BUas is doing well, but we can do a lot more. That is why we were participating in SDG Action Day 2020. BUas is also a partner in a new initiative called ‘SDGs on Stage’. The main aim is to connect students doing a work placement or graduation internship in the Netherlands to a company doing something with sustainability or the SDGs. By participating in initiatives like this, we hope to engage the BUas community even more in realising our sustainability goals!’