While UvA as an institution is relatively sustainable, 020 finds it crucial to advocate for individual incentives and dedication to sustainability policies on and off the campus. As the climate crisis continues to worsen, we believe it essential to raise awareness and tackle this issue on not only an institutional level but communal and individual levels as well.
As the climate affects every individual, 020 wants to thoroughly address this environmental crisis through several policies that can enhance contribution to sustainability on campus and across Amsterdam as well.
Take a look at our policies to better the the UvA’s sustainability practises below and let us know your thoughts!

A hands-on approach to improving the UVA

What will 020 change to make UvA more sustainable?

1

Individual Incentives

020 wants students to focus on their individual contribution and the University of Amsterdam to offer more incentives for students to be more sustainable and practice greener alternatives. Hence, creating a sustainable consciousness among all UvA students.

2

Informational Campaigns

We provide ideas for different informational campaigns on the most important elements that make up a more sustainable UvA campus experience such as recycling, responsible consumption, sustainability courses and so on.

3

Annual Reports

020 invites the University of Amsterdam to update their annual environmental reports and provide them in English. This would provide clear information and guidelines on the UvA’s progress on sustainability while being an important source for research.

Individual Incentives

The Problem

As mentioned previously, the University of Amsterdam is already relatively a sustainable campus that focuses on maintaining environmental quotas and works hard to meet these.

Even so, 020 finds sustainability lacking in individual contributions. The UvA does not provide many incentives for students to become more sustainable and practice ‘going greener’. It is crucial to keep the campus clean and sustainable. Still, the city of Amsterdam as well to provide longevity for the environment locally.

In reviewing the current policies and environmental goals, we found a missing aspect within the current aims of the UvA pursues. Specifically, in the use of coffee cups throughout campus. The University provides sustainable cups that can be recycled after use at each coffee machine. This reality is practical, yet we see improvement when ordering at different cafeterias, canteens, or coffee bars around campus.

The Solution

In this policy proposal, 020 wants to focus on the individual incentive of bringing your cup to save on the use of the cups already provided. While these paper cups are relatively sustainable, it would be more environmentally friendly to get your reusable cup.

In doing so, 020 found that CREA offers this incentive. Stated on their menus in bold is the title “STOP THE WASTE!” followed by a description which says “Bring your own reusable take-out cup and get a 0.20 cent discount on hot drinks!” We want to advocate for the University of Amsterdam to implement a similar discount on drinks at their cafeterias, canteens and coffee bars. This type of deal would not be possible at the coffee machines itself with no attendant to give the discount. The UvA could introduce this by adding a discount to a student card.

Our researchers found that universities around the world have similar systems. For example, at the University of Virginia, students are given punch cards for bringing reusable cups to get coffee. An alternative that UvA could implement would be an electronic punch card than can be accessed through our student IDs. For every 9th cup of coffee you bring a reusable cup, the 10th is free, or something similar to this system would also be an alternative option.

Interested in the way 020 will implement these sustainability policies and what the costs of that will be? Reach out to our Policy and Research Team!

Informational Campaigns

The Problem

The UvA rates well in terms of campus sustainability; however, that does not mean there are no aspects that could be scrutinised and potentially implemented to make the University greener and more sustainable. For example, there is a severe lack of awareness among students which hinders them from being as sustainable.

This lack of awareness is real especially at the University of Amsterdam as 020 found that informational campaigns are quite rare and could turn out useful for many students, especially first-years, as they often confuse issues such as recycling.

This reality obtains even more relevance in an international setting because every country has its specific way of recycling. The different pillars which constitute the basis of future informational campaigns are listed below.

The Solution

The 020 student party has researched the following pillars that could help future campaigns with the potential of making the University of Amsterdam a more sustainable place for everybody.

Food

This campaign aims at informing students on the negative impacts of industrial agriculture. An example would be the harmful use of pesticides in many landscapes, threatening biodiversity. A sustainable food campaign would point at activities such as a “Meatless Monday” to encourage people to reduce meat consumption, both at the UvA and at home. This is not uncommon: Dutch universities like the VU and HU Utrecht have already occasionally implemented this.

Recycling

This may be the most apparent but relevant issue on which to inform students. As explained before, recycling often proves confusing for many students who never really learned how to sustainably. The main problem is plastics, which is cheap to produce but only 15% of its total global production is recycled. Sustainable actions on this issue include encouraging reusable cups and/or offering students discounts for bringing their cup.

In some aspects, the UvA has already implemented this. However, many plastic elements are often present in different food packages. Students find themselves confused about the correct waste separation, resulting in low recycling. This explains why 020 is looking for a better-organised waste separation, backed by posters around campus, showing the right disposal. This includes improving informative labels for recycling bins and possibly distributing more of them around campus and in student accommodations.

Responsible Consumption

Many students do not know that food and clothes could be unsustainable for the environment because of pollution and poor working conditions. It is important to take into consideration the protection of workers’ rights. 020 student party has already made a booklet with a list of sustainable shops, companies, supermarkets, and restaurants in Amsterdam. This is the first step to create an informational campaign.

With help from UvA, we could develop this by offering students discounts at shops in the city seen as sustainable. The University of Groningen has implemented something similar since its Green Office has published a map of “Sustainable experience” of Groningen.

Transparency

As the global climate crisis worsens year after year, on May 2nd, 2013 students asked for a cease in the University’s investment in fossil fuels. The UvA seems to be incrementally adapting to its detachment from non-renewable forms of energy since then. This was part of an informational campaign that started in the United States and Canada. The students wanted a formal statement from the University of Amsterdam to guarantee that they would start investing in fossil-free projects and buildings. This is still significant today when there is no positive sign that the crisis will be stopped. 

020 wants to keep promoting this campaign by requesting continuous and updated transparency regarding the University’s indirect investments in fossil-related companies or organisations. This is important now more than ever: the UvA is a well-regarded university that prepares and trains its students for a better future. It should show an appropriate example on the issue as the end will necessarily need to be climate-oriented.

Societal Participation

The University of Amsterdam could also encourage student participation in national manifestations for better sustainability. Many students and especially first-years often skip or completely ignore such initiatives if they overlap with classes. However, these manifestations, will continue to increase government awareness and help students realise the importance of their freedom of speech. As the Fridays for Future movement demonstrated, these initiatives can grow ‘viral’ rapidly, raising the need for more climate-friendly policies.

The UvA should invest in funding and supporting ways to integrate such events into students’ schedule, given the above-stated relevance. They could do so by sponsoring climate-awareness events that would involve both University students and staff. Their Instagram page can be used to notify most students about such events, encouraging them to participate. Collaborating with the UvA Green Office, 020 will get closely involved and help with such events in any possible capacity.

Interested in the way 020 will implement these sustainability policies and what the costs of that will be? Reach out to our Policy and Research Team!

Annual Reports

The Problem

To provide an informational basis on sustainability to students, UvA produces and prepares annual environmental reports. In reviewing the annual reports published regarding the “Environmental Barometer,” 020 found a few issues with the current situation.

First, the latest annual report was published in 2017. The data provided in this report is useful, but out of date in September of 2020. We find it essential for the University of Amsterdam to provide updated information on their progress. This is important to highlight for students in Amsterdam as this information is viable and holds the University accountable. Students should have regular and updated access to these reports to monitor UvA’s progress and hold them responsible; allowing for easily accessible and updated information for students to use for their research purposes.

Along with this, the report is published only in Dutch. This makes it difficult for internationals to translate this document and thoroughly understand the information provided. With an influx of internationals each year, providing reports in English would help them to feel included in this process.

The Solution

With these two concerns in mind, 020 proposes this brief policy to illustrate the need for updated annual reports of sustainable procedures at the UvA.

020 believes that offering these reports in Dutch and English would continue to prove the inclusiveness of UvA towards its student population. It would also provide opportunities for all students to get involved and receive updated information. Furthermore, we cannot underestimate the importance of current, relevant information in academia, especially in an institution focusing on research.

Interested in the way 020 will implement these sustainability policies and what the costs of that will be? Reach out to our Policy and Research Team!