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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.
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.
Do you have a real office?
Yes, we have an office at the Roeterseiland Campus! You can find us at the ABC Building C0.05. Our address is Nieuwe Achtergracht 166, 1018 WV 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. You can join the Green Office as a volunteer in one of the four teams! Be quick, applications close on the 8th of October.
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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