GUPES GGA Highly Commended: Sustainability Week Zurich

GUPES GGA Highly Commended: Sustainability Week Zurich image #1

Sustainability Week Zurich (SWZ) / Nachhaltigkeitswoche Zürich

The Sustainability Week Zurich (SWZ) is one of the largest student run sustainability projects in Switzerland. Over the past five years over 300 students from 5 universities and 10 campuses in Zurich have organised its more than 160 events, attracting over 15,000 visitors, and inspiring and educating the university and broader community to think and act more sustainably.

Furthermore, the SWZ directly contributed to the creation of a sustainability delegate position at the University of Zurich (UZH), and prompted the UZH Vice-Chancellor to funds a sustainability report. It also helped initiate discussion about reducing university airplane emissions.

In 2017 we received a substantial grant from the Swiss Government to expand the SWZ nationally. In March 2018 the first Swiss Sustainability Week (SSW) is taking place at over 20 Universities in 12 cities. Al Gore helped to launch the event with a video message recorded especially for its opening.

"We are proud to support the efforts of our students to bring more sustainability to Swiss universities and to their communities. This prize would honour their successful volunteer engagement and strong commitment to a more sustainable and just future." Michael Hengartner, President, University of Zurich

Top 3 Learnings

  1. There are so many good ideas, they just need an initial push to get started and a supportive structure to keep going.
  2. It’s important to organise events in a way that reflects our own values, i.e. sustainably, ethically and democratically.
  3. It’s important to engage with sustainability both at an individual and political level. To do so effectively we need to engage in constructive and ambitious dialogue with as many stakeholders as possible.