Towards more sustainable everyday life on campus

University of Oulu and Oulu University of Applied Sciences are collaborating in forming an action plan for sustainable campuses for the years 2021 to 2025. The action plan covers themes such as properties, mobility, restaurant services and procurement. One of its important goals is to reduce the universities’ carbon footprint.

The action plan is based on the Sustainable Everyday Life on Campus questionnaire which was carried out for the whole university community in September 2020. The questionnaire reached its target audience well and over 400 people answered to the survey, out of whom approximately 300 were staff and students of the University of Oulu. The questionnaire gave valuable information on how the university community would wish sustainable development to be promoted in campus operations. The feedback was mainly positive, but it was possible to identify areas for development that can be taken into account in the future.

According to the University of Oulu Environmental Coordinator Meeri Hilli, the facilities for recycling will be improved for students and staff, recycling instructions will be updated, and waste disposal plans will be made for the campuses. A recycling data bank will be launched especially for international students and researchers with an idea to be able to buy used furniture and goods and to be able to sell it forward when leaving Oulu.

Besides recycling, the respondents found that food-related aspects were important in sustainable life on campuses.

“Collaboration with restaurant services will be improved and the goal is to inform the customers better on the origin of the food as well as other matters that could help the customers to make more sustainable choices in restaurants. We will strive for reducing the amount of food waste through communications and collaboration and together with the service providers we will try to find ways to reduce the usage of single-use takeaway cups”, says Meeri Hilli.

Community can follow reporting in real time and share their ideas

In the future, sustainability on campus, such as energy consumption, amount of waste and food waste, will be reported to the university community in a more visible way through Patio and the university web pages. It will be possible to follow the production levels of the solar panels of the University of Oulu in real time. Sustainable and healthy options for mobility of the students and staff will be encouraged.

“The Sustainable Everyday Life on Campus questionnaire will be implemented every year from now on and it will work as a tool for monitoring and influencing. Campus matters will also be brought up in the meetings of the Advisory Board of Sustainable Development as well as in the communication channels of the university,” says Meeri Hilli.

The Universities Finland Rectors’ Council Unifi’s sustainability and responsibility thesis were published on November 24th and will also encourage the universities to develop their campuses to an even more sustainable direction.

More information: Sustainability in the University of Oulu

Last updated: 25.3.2021