Student - February 8, 2007

Students petition for sustainable university

The Wageningen student union WSO and the student council fraction PSF started a joint petition for a greener university last week. Under the slogan ‘The inconvenient truth about WUR’, they are calling on students and staff to sign a petition for a more sustainable policy.

‘The word sustainability appears in every lecture and every piece of research here, but is nowhere to be seen in internal policy,’ says Mattijs Smits of the PSF. The student council fraction set up a working group together with the WSO to change this state of affairs. Despite numerous protests, Wageningen UR still does not use recycled paper and ‘they refuse to go over to Fair Trade coffee.’

The new wind park is another example of the contradiction. ‘Wageningen UR produces green electricity, but uses grey electricity itself,’ says Smits. The current electricity contract runs until 2008. ‘But nowhere is there a commitment to change over to green electricity after that.’

The organisers of the petition find it ‘unacceptable’ that sustainability is not taken into account in the running of Wageningen UR. ‘While Wageningen UR should be setting an example when it comes to being green,’ says Smits. The absence of an environmental policy plan or an environmental annual report is evidence of a lack of ambition in the students’ eyes. ‘If there was a list of objectives to be achieved in five years, at least it would be possible for the outside world to hold Wageningen UR accountable if it doesn’t achieve them.’

The WSO and the PSF will continue to distribute flyers requesting support for their petition during lunch breaks this week. Friday, 9 February they will be in the Biotechnion, Wednesday, 14 February in Alterra and the Imag building, and Thursday, 15 February in Zodiac. It is not yet known how and when the signatures will be handed over to the Executive Board.