From Magdeburg: Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences signs the Global Climate Letter
We read, hear and see that climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time. Scientists are providing us with clear evidence which we need to act on NOW. Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences has also recognised the need for urgency and has embedded sustainable thinking and action in its University Strategy as one of its key objectives. As a result, the University’s most senior decision-making body, the Academic Senate, adopted 16 climate goals in May this year – one of which is the signing of the Global Climate Letter.
Figure 1: Within a year, the climate goals developed by former students and initiators Julia Zigann and Robin Ebbrecht were fine-tuned. An important objective has now been implemented: the Global Climate Letter has been signed by Rector Anne Lequy (centre).
The Global Climate Letter is an initiative for achieving a carbon neutral world. It is a prerequisite for joining the global Race to Zero campaign. In addition to 799 cities, 35 regions, 4,470 businesses, 220 financial institutions and 36 healthcare organisations1, the Global Climate Letter has been signed by 813 universities and colleges2 to date and will be presented to global governments at the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow at the beginning of November (as of 13/10/2021). After RWTH Aachen University, TU Dortmund University and Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences is the fourth signatory in Germany and thus the first German university of applied sciences.
Within one year of signing the Global Climate Letter, the University will be reviewed to check whether it has made enough progress to join Race to Zero. Participants must meet a set of minimum criteria. These include the requirement for the University to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 at the latest, with a 50% reduction by 2030. With the climate goals that have already been adopted, Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences has pledged to become carbon neutral in terms of energy and mobility by 2030.
To achieve this, a climate protection concept with a concrete plan for implementation will be developed by the University by October 2022. Joining forces in one place is also one of the fundamental tasks in establishing climate protection measures. University members and experts will be involved in achieving carbon neutrality through events. The aim is for the topic to be given greater consideration in research activities and become an integral part of teaching. There will also be efforts to ensure that travel is sustainably improved with regard to the climate criteria. A supplementary body for the evaluation of the climate goals is the Climate Advisory Board, which acts as a “critical friend” and makes relevant recommendations in all committees. This board includes scientists, employees and students of the University.
The Senate’s decision thus fits with the University’s existing strategic direction. Over the years, a number of degree programmes have shaped Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences’ profile as an institution whose employees and students care deeply about ecology and sustainability. These programmes include Water Management, Recycling and Waste Management, Ecological Engineering (Master’s) and Sustainable Business Administration, which was newly introduced in October 2021. Research projects cover areas such as energy efficient construction, self-sufficient energy supply systems, electric mobility and plastic in the oceans. The University also has an Environment and Technology Doctoral Studies Centre, where scientists bring together natural processes and technical solutions and conduct research on innovative processes and developments.
The campus – one of the greenest in Germany – has long been used in a variety of ways for implementing environmental measures. In line with the slogan “Studying in green surroundings”, the University’s extensive green spaces have been redesigned to incorporate raised beds, fruit trees and other ecological and social projects. Charging points for electric cars, bicycle repair stations and a semester pass for public transport between the two University locations are just a few pertinent examples of active climate protection measures at Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences.
By signing the Global Climate Letter, Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences has confirmed its position as an innovative university that is taking a proactive approach towards protecting the environment.
1 https://racetozero.unfccc.int/join-the-race/whos-in/ (as of: 23/08/2021)
2 https://www.educationracetozero.org/home (as of 13/10/2021)
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