In October 2022, the University of Bremen has established its Green Office. It is run by student assistants and intends to connect various actors on the topic of sustainability. In an interview with up2date. Tugay, student assistant at the Green Office, talks about how the start was, what projects are in the pipeline, and what he would like to see in the future.
Tugay, can you briefly tell us who you are and what your role is at the Green Office?
I am 30 years old and pursue a degree in psychology at the University of Bremen. I joined the team in early April together with another student assistant, Maurice. Last year in October, he and my predecessor Fiona started to set up the Green Office at the University of Bremen. At the moment, I am mainly responsible for the Green Office’s Instagram channel. Our main goal is to connect members of the university, organizations, and committees.
After the first six months, how do you think the launch of the Green Office went?
Since there had been no Green Office at the University of Bremen before, it needed a lot of work at the beginning and everything had to be set up from scratch. An organizational structure was established and a dedicated Instagram channel was set up. The Green Office’s website launch in early April was another milestone. So far, the feedback has been consistently positive. We have an increasing amount of requests by email and our visibility at the University of Bremen has also increased. I personally call that a successful start for the Green Office.
What are your current projects?
A major project at the Green Office is currently the creation of the digital Sustainability Map. The map provides an overview of sustainability projects in Bremen and the surrounding area. It is intended to encourage interested students to become active themselves. Students can also add existing projects to the sustainability map by themselves and thus draw attention to them.
We also advise various university-policy committees, such as the Sustainability, Climate Justice, and Climate Neutrality Commission – or NKK Commission for short – the Sustainability Forum, and the Mission Statement steering committee. The latter, for example, is working on a new mission statement for the university, which is to be approved by the Academic Senate this semester. In addition, the Academic Senate entrusted the NKK Commission with the task of developing a sustainability strategy for the University of Bremen. Among other things, it is about how we can become carbon neutral.
We are also closely in touch with the newly established Anti-Classism Unit (AntiKla) of the AStA Students’ Union. The Anti-Classism Unit is a self-organized advocacy group for students, working-class children, and first-generation students affected by classism. The unit wants to reveal and overcome classist structures at the University of Bremen. The first activities were the posters for #DasIstAuchKlassismus and a lecture held by Andreas Kemper in April. For us, anti-classism has to do primarily with social sustainability, for example, when it comes to breaking down social barriers.
What are your personal motivations for working at the Green Office?
I would like to get more involved with sustainability issues and make a contribution at the University of Bremen by drawing attention to student engagement and supporting fellow students. It is actually not that easy to get involved, even if you want to make a difference and are motivated. Through the Green Office, I have the opportunity to work as part of a team and access other resources that would not otherwise be available to me.
Are you also in exchange with other Green Offices?
We network with other Green Offices via the Green Offices and Sustainability Offices working group of the “netzwerk n” association. The association promotes the sustainable development of universities. We’d really like to take more advantage of this network and all its potential, but right now we just don’t have enough people. But that actually is important, because our main task is to connect students to sustainability projects and show them opportunities to get involved.
What do you wish for the future of the Green Office?
In the future, we will need more resources, especially more staff, and premises which allows us to advise students or other interested individuals face-to-face and where we can be directly approached. It is important that we promote the topic and better anchor it at the university.
For questions, suggestions, and offers of cooperation, you can reach the sustainability office at any time via email at email@example.com. On Instagram, the sustainability office posts under @green_office_uni_bremen.
For more information about the AStA’s Anti-Classism Unit visit their website (currently in German only)) and Instagram.
Theme of the Month: Sustainability
Since its foundation in 1971, the University of Bremen has been committed to social responsibility. Climate protection and sustainability are fundamental principles guiding the university: in research, teaching, and operations. For this reason, up2date., the University of Bremen online magazine, will focus on the topic of sustainability in May. The theme of the month explores current projects, issues, and challenges.