The IHEID Environmental Committee looks back on a successful 2018.
Over 20 active committee members from different academic programs were committed to dedicate a significant amount of their free time to spark discussions about environmental issues and to promote sustainability across the IHEID community. The Environmental Committee represented the entire student body as a member of GISA, organized many events to discuss environment and sustainability and ran various projects to improve sustainability at IHEID.
As part of the GISA mandate, the Environmental Committee continued to manage the relationship between students and Novae (cafeteria). Students interests, such as bringing their own lunch to the cafeteria or lower student prices, were defended in the light of proposed changes and the cooperation on the Save the Food project to reduce food waste at the cafeteria was successfully launched.
Furthermore, the Environmental Committee was working closely with the IHEID head of sustainability, Vanessa Valerio, to improve sustainability at the IHEID campus. This resulted in new recycling facilities (e.g. glass in Picciotto Common Room or aluminum in the Cafeteria). However, the Environmental Committee regrets the slow process to achieve even small changes and the lack of baseline data for the sustainability footprint of Maison de la Paix, which makes it difficult to press for specific improvements.
Lastly, the Environmental Committee was also delighted to represent the student voices on the new student residence building and to sit on the GISA board to provide inputs to discussions about student-related matters.
In 2018, the Environmental Committee organized over 20 different events. Ranging from small-scale events (e.g. local excursions) to large-scale events such as the Swiss Sustainability Week 2018. Through these events, the Environmental Committee always sought to fulfill its five core missions: Sustainable Lifestyle, Sustainable Institute, Sustainable Events, Sustainable Curricula & Sustainable Networking (see details in Annex I). The total outreach of all the events combined in 2018 was approximately 1,000 people.
The two most notable events were the Swiss Sustainability Week 2018 and the participation at the Geneva Peace Week 2018. For the former, the Environmental Committee teamed up with the Etudiant-e-s pour le Développement Durable from the University of Geneva to join a Swiss-wide effort of promoting sustainable development at institutions of higher education. With workshops, panel discussions, movie screenings and an excursion to Geneva’s local markets, the Swiss Sustainability Week welcomed over 300 participants at IHEID alone and well over 10,000 all over Switzerland.
For the Geneva Peace Week 2018, the Environmental Committee organized a panel discussion about ‘Sustaining Peace in an Era of Climate Change’ with our partner QUNO. With an interesting discussion among leading experts and a ‘full-house’ the event was a big success for the Environmental Committee and International Geneva, acknowledging the relevancy of the environment for peace.
Furthermore, various projects led by the Environmental Committee helped to improve sustainability at IHEID. The ongoing initiative SCOOP continued to bring healthy and locally produced snack to students once a week. Moreover, the newly set-up recycling library, in coordination with the IHEID library, seeks to reduce the use of paper for class readings among students. However, minimal progress was achieved in terms of recycling at Maison de La Paix and the Picciotto Student House.
Lastly, the Environmental Committee improved its relations on cantonal and national level significantly. Close ties to the Etudiant-e-s pour le Développement Durable from University of Geneva and also to the Swiss Association of Student Organizations for Sustainability have been re-established after some years of reduced cooperation. Furthermore, the Environmental Committee welcomes the increased cooperation within the IHEID community, specifically the cooperation with other student initiatives.
With an eventful year coming to an end, the annual Environmental Committee elections were held to elect the President and Vice-President for the year 2019. Spencer Williams will be replacing Gianluca Gygax as President and Nina Bianchi has been voted to succeed Malvika Verma as Vice-President.
The Environmental Committee looks forward to continuing its efforts on sustainability at IHEID in 2019 as environmental and sustainability issues are critical aspects of countless challenges that the “leaders of tomorrow” will need to engage with. In order to achieve its mission, the Environmental Committee will continue executing GISA’s mandate, organizing events and running long-term projects. The Sustainability Week Geneva will be happening again in the beginning of April and the Environmental Committee will try to create baseline data for sustainability at Maison de La Paix and the IHEID cafeteria in order to monitor and evaluate progress on sustainability.
Read the rest of the EC 2018 Annual report here.
May the Forest be with you!