Working Group “Sustainability at the University of Mannheim”

The University of Mannheim currently focuses on implementing sustainability measures. Therefore, the working group “Sustainability at the University of Mannheim” was founded in the spring semester 2020. The working group considers the ideas of all university members, and coordinates and develops sustainability measures. It consists of representatives from all schools, academia, administration, and the student community. The working group convenes twice per semester. The Executive Vice President chairs the meetings whose participants are the representatives of

  • the Staff Council,
  • the University IT,
  • the general student committee (AStA),
  • the student organizations,
  • the Studierendenwerk Mannheim,
  • the administration,
  • the Sustainability Office, and
  • the Advisor for Sustainable Management,

among others.

The objective of the working group is to develop a comprehensive sustainability strategy for the University of Mannheim. Further, motivating all persons interested to participate and to establish a culture of sustainability at the university is of particular importance to the working group.

Working teams and focus areas

  • Research and Teaching

    Spokesperson: Renke Meyer / Established: 2020

    The working team deals with the implementation of sustainability measures in research and teaching, and with the connection of both fields. One of its main projects is the introduction of a program in sustainability (Studium Oecologicum in German) at the University of Mannheim. The program offers an interdisciplinary curriculum through which students are introduced to the topic of sustainability and get the opportunity to network with other university members.

    Future goals include establishing projects to foster the exchange on sustainability between researchers from the university and from other institutions, creating continuing education programs on sustainability as well as a Kids' University on the topic of sustainability.

  • Operations

    Spokesperson: Betty Kübe / Established: 2020

    The “Operations” working team deals with projects on sustainable management at the University of Mannheim. The Studierendenwerk, for example, runs projects on sustainable consumption at the university. One of them aimed at providing more vegetarian and vegan meals at the Mensa, and opening the greenes² cafe, which sells regional and sustainable food and drinks. Further, the team works on the topics of waste avoidance and energy efficiency at the university, and the introduction of green IT processes.

  • Governance and Social Affairs

    Spokesperson: Emilia Zickermann / Established: 2020

    The team contributed to adapting the Mission Statement of the University of Mannheim, and achieved that more emphasis is placed on sustainability. In addition, the team advocates for more participation of all university members. In 2022, the team co-organized the first Sustainability Festival at the University of Mannheim to promote social exchange. During the festival, students, staff members, and citizens were able to enjoy a colorful program of hands-on activities, information booths, and entertainment on the topic of sustainability.

  • Mobility

    Spokesperson: N.N. / Established: 2022

    The “Mobility” working team takes care of a topic that is essential to reduce the carbon footprint of the university. At the center of attention is the creation and implementation of a comprehensive concept of traveling and commuting (in accordance with normative requirements and the university’s administrative process). In particular, the team looks at climate-neutral mobility and at how to implement such concepts at the university. The goal is to provide sustainable alternatives and implement innovative concepts using digital solutions, for example.

People working on the sustainability strategy

Many people at the University of Mannheim are involved in the strategic and operational implementation of a university-wide sustainability strategy. You can get in touch with some of the responsible persons via e-mail.

News from the working group “Sustainability at the University of Mannheim”

The working group convenes with all its members twice per semester, the working teams meet in addition to that. Find out about the working group’s achievements and results here.

  • 21 March 2023

    First, the new Vice President for Sustainability, Professor Moritz Fleischmann, and the new Consultant for Sustainability Management, Lara Reimer, introduced themselves, since there were some changes to the sustainability team.

    Professor Fleischmann gave an impulse speech in which he mentioned sustainability as a central challenge for our society. In addition to the responsibility for the university’s operation, he stressed the influence of research and teaching. The individual working teams reported their current activities. A key question of the meeting was how the working group’s working mode should be structured in the future. The working group should still be accessible for everyone and be an exchange platform of the various actors in the sustainability field. In addition, the working group should provide feedback on ideas that were developed.

  • 11 October 2022

    In the meeting on 11 October, the working group mainly analyzed the results of the staff survey on “Sustainability at the University of Mannheim”. The survey was part of this year’s Staff Days at the University of Mannheim. Staff members were asked about their wishes and recommendations in the context of sustainability at the university. The questionnaire was also sent to the divisions and departments, therefore, more than 150 people participated in total. 

    In order to implement the staff members’ wishes and recommendations, the working group invited experts on the specific topics from the divisions and departments to participate in the meeting. The topics most frequently mentioned in the survey were: IT, buildings, waste, mobility, staff, food, teaching, and procurement. The working group members and the experts assessed whether the recommendations and wishes have already been implemented or to what extent they could be carried out. The results of the assessment will be published in the weeks and months ahead.

  • 2 May 2022

    The working group meeting on 2 May 2022 was the first in-person meeting and was held at the University Library’s ExpLAB. The members took stock of their work over the past two years and agreed on their goals for 2022. The spokesperson of the working team “Research and Teaching”, Dr. Sonja Klingert, passed the baton to student Renke Meyer. In the last two years, the working team focused on teaching. They will now turn their attention more toward research. The “Operations” team reported on the update of the procurement guideline and the larger selection of sustainable meals offered in the Mensa. They further announced that the university’s paper consumption should continue to fall in 2022 after it reached lower levels during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • 7 April 2022

    On 7 April 2022, the working group met by videoconference. The spokespersons reported on the progress their teams made. Among other things, they discussed the organization of the Sustainability Festival on 6 May and shared news of the “Studium Oecologicum”. The Studium Oecologicum is planned to be introduced to the University of Mannheim in the fall semester 2022. The responsible working team is deciding some final questions. The “Mobility” working team is new to the working group. Currently, they are still discussing what areas they should cover: business trips, staff members’ and/or students’ commutes?

  • 24 September 2020

    In its meeting on 24 September 2020, the working group “Sustainability at the University of Mannheim” met again via video conference. The three working teams each reported on their first meetings, the key focuses agreed upon, and their goals for the coming period. Important topics of discussion included the criteria for sustainability at universities, the communication of sustainability issues, as well as the topics of mobility, resource consumption, and the behavior of university members. In addition, the new website “Sustainability at the University of Mannheim” was presented. The web page provides information about projects on the topic of sustainability in research, teaching, and university operations and at the same time serves as a central contact point for questions and suggestions.

  • 18 June 2020

    The constituent meeting of the working group “Sustainability at the University of Mannheim” on 18 June 2020 was held via video conference. In an interactive workshop, the members first presented the status quo and outlined the current and future challenges for the university. In the following, the working group established three working teams that will deal in depth with the topics of “Research and Teaching”, “Operations and Mobility”, and “Governance” respectively. Their ideas and results will be presented and discussed at the coming meetings of the working group.

Do you have any queries, requests or ideas for the working group “Sustainability at the University of Mannheim”? Feel free to get in touch with Lara Reimer.