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What does the Green Office do?
The Green Office is a student-run initiative at the University of Amsterdam aiming to make the university more sustainable. We are the only initiative at the UvA dedicated solely to sustainability. Overall, our job is to try and make sustainable changes at the university (including on-campus like the cafeteria or waste disposal and off-campus like the staff travel policies), and we do that by fighting for institutional change and by fostering a culture of sustainability at the university. This means engaging students in fun and welcoming ways, and facilitating student involvement through projects.
Our core team of 6 students meet weekly to discuss the ongoing operation of the Green Office, and how to improve sustainability at the university. They also meet twice annually for a two-day strategy session in which they discuss the long-term goals of the Green Office and how to best reach these goals in daily operation. Beyond the core team meetings, each portfolio holder runs weekly or bi-weekly meetings with their team (that's Campus, Community, Communications or Research and Education) to discuss and develop unique projects. These can be policy projects like trying to get student organisations to commit to green practices, or student-involvement projects like the Green Career Day or the Green Office blog.
What is the Green Office doing about the single-use coffee cups on campus?
Yes, we are continuously busy with trying to reduce the number of single-use coffee cups around campus! The Green Office has been pushing for institutional change in this area for the past 2 years.
We do promotions and awareness campaigns and we communicate with other Green Offices to exchange ideas and look for solutions, but this is a huge issue and the result ultimately depends on the efforts of students and staff. Trust us when we say that we have exhausted many avenues of "extreme" policy change, but the issue is complicated with numerous stakeholders and considerations like the coffee providers, the UvA facility services, budget constraints and the executive staff.
If you would like to work with us towards reducing the waste of single-use coffee cups, don’t be shy and take your reusable coffee cup with you to campus, and if you have THE revolutionary, life-changing solution to this problem, submit your idea through the ‘Join us’ page!
We also try to raise awareness in the staff and student bodies that the coffee cups are a problem to begin with - if the university thinks that most people prefer not to have disposable cups, our proposals have a better chance of sticking! So make sure to educate your friends and classmates on the harms of single-use cups and remember that the UvA currently goes through 120,000 cups each MONTH!
Can the Green Office make the cafeteria vegan? (or at least get rid of the disposable plates?)
Unfortunately, such big changes are not entirely in the hands of the Green Office. We must work with existing long-term contracts the university has agreed to, as well as the employees in charge of those contracts. As of 2021 the UvA has 5 years remaining on the current cafeteria management contract. It is very time-consuming to bring about such great changes, and often the university also has a reason not to opt for the most sustainable choice (for example, not everyone is in favour of a meat-free menu).
The good news is that your choices are incredibly important to the university! If you as students and staff show that there is indeed a high demand for vegan options, or no demand for meat, the university may reconsider! Finally, every little bit counts so we encourage you to bring your own cutlery and containers to campus to avoid adding to the single-use waste amassing daily in the cafeteria.
Why aren't there more courses about (or including) sustainability at the UvA?
The Green Office is working hard to ensure that sustainability is incorporated in courses across a range of disciplines. In order to do establish new green courses ,we're working in collaboration with faculties such as the IIS in the creation of their new Sustainability Minor programme. For the inclusion of sustainability in courses where this is not the primary focus, we can only encourage teachers to edit their courses each year to reflect students' interests, so make sure to write in all of your course evaluations that you want sustainability to be included! Ultimately the final say is in the hands of the faculties and course coordinators for both course changes and new courses, so your student feedback direct to your faculty and programme leaders is crucial!
The Green Office also publishes a Sustainability Course list,, where you will find the most up-to-date information on this semester's green courses! For questions about specific courses it is best to contact the lecturer or the course coordinator directly.
At the moment, our Research & Education team is also working hard on starting up the Knowledge Hub, a platform that lets students and staff from all fields collaborate on sustainability-related research.
Do you have a real office?
Yes, we have two offices! One is at Roeterseilandcampus in J/K building 1.33 (Valckenierstraat 65-67, 1018 XE Amsterdam) and one at the University Library Singel, Room A0.03a (Singel 425, 1012 WP Amsterdam).
Can I join the Green Office?
Yes! We usually have the most open projects in the beginning of the semester, but you can always check out our ‘Join us’ page and apply for an existing project, or submit your own idea with a detailed plan.
Can the Green Office promote my sustainability-related event or project?
We are the Green Office of the University of Amsterdam, therefore we only work with matters that concern student life in Amsterdam or at the UvA. If your event or brand falls into this category, please reach out to us to further discuss how we could work together!
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