Sustainability is more than just a buzz word used by companies and organizations, it involves taking action. At LUT, it means that the university is committed to considering environmental, financial, and social responsibility in all activities. Every LUT student, staff member, professor, researcher, and alumni is a part of LUT’s mission to achieve ambitious environmental goals. The campus cities share LUT’s vision of sustainability also: Lappeenranta is a winner of the European Green Leaf Award and Lahti is a winner of the European Green Capital Award, both for the year 2021.
Sustainability goals and initiatives extend to LUT partners as well. There are many people working together to promote responsibility at LUT, and it is the expectation that even after your time at LUT ends, you will continue to promote responsibility in other professional and academic environments. This article will give some examples of ways in which students impact sustainability on campus.
Sorting waste around campus
Around campus, there are numerous waste recycling stations with images and descriptions of what goes in each category. Students are responsible for sorting their own waste and also encouraging new students and classmates to be responsible. Zero percent of the 181 tons of waste produced by the university was sent to the landfill last year.
In courses at LUT, students often have the opportunity to develop a new business plan or collaborate with an organization to solve a problem. This is a great opportunity to explore a sustainable approach to the project and conduct more research about how the organization could adapt their operations or enter a new market with a sustainable product or service. It is a great learning experience while doing research for the project, and students also have the chance to educate their classmates about the creative and sustainable solution if there are presentations at the end of the course.
Participation in sustainability research or sustainability-focused events
Every year, LUT researchers and professors begin new projects and further develop studies related to sustainability development on cross-departmental levels. Occasionally, there are also opportunities to join a sustainability research project as a student in a junior research assistant role, for example on a part-time basis during studies or during the summer break. These postings are usually shared by professors with their students or advertised on the job portal.
LUT also hosts several sustainability events on campus and supports sustainability events in the campus cities of Lahti and Lappeenranta. New students have the chance to participate in a Plant a Tree-Help Earth Breathe initiative already during orientation week, and there are other opportunities to get involved on campus and advocate for responsibility and sustainability projects throughout the academic year.
LUT campus restaurants have bio-waste scales to monitor bio-waste volumes, and the restaurants have increased their sustainability e.g. by decreasing food waste with the ResQ mobile application. Students make up the majority of the campus population and have a direct impact on sustainability simply by conscientiously limiting their waste and sorting their waste in the right place so that as much as possible can be recycled.
Student mobility and transportation to campus
In both Lahti and Lappeenranta, there are multiple public transportation options – such as buses, city bikes/scooters, or even ride sharing with a classmate or colleague. Many students also live close enough to campus that they can walk as well. By using sustainable transportation options, students can make a direct impact on their carbon footprint and these sustainable options are encouraged in the university community.
Learn more about LUT’s commitment and actions regarding responsibility and sustainability
To learn more about how to get involved in sustainability actions on campus, check out our report on sustainability.