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Workshops with success! – Sustainability development at the University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer

What do our students expect from the university in terms of sus-tainability and social responsibility?

In its mission statement, the University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer has clearly committed itself to sustainability and its social responsibility. But what about implementation? How do the “users” of the university see it, the students?

What attitude and expectations do the students have when they come to the university? Are they satisfied with the university's sustainability efforts, or do they expect more?

To find out, the University of Applied Sciences 2020 conducted a survey among students in all semesters and departments. The key findings are as follows:

Our students have a strong understanding of sustainability and social responsibility.

Many students think that the university should do more in this context.

When compared, even the core area “preparation for the professional future” (in terms of income, professional training, job security) was weighted lower.

The survey shows that our students are highly motivated to tackle the key challenges of the future and to learn more in this field.

The main results of the survey including the details can be found here. It is an incentive for the university to meet this aspiration of the students and to expand its offerings in the areas mentioned.

The students also brought a variety of constructive suggestions on what could be done better and how.




In order to implement the suggestions and wishes of the students, the university started a participatory improvement process in winter semester 2021/22 within the framework of an Ipro-L practical project with a great deal of participation of students from all departments. On 29 October 2021, around 60 students and university staff came together to gather ideas in an “Open space” workshop. On 13 November 2021, these ideas were grouped together and realisation proposals were developed. Proposals focused on the following areas:

  • “Sustainability in teaching” (e.g. interdisciplinary events or internships)
  • “Living on campus” (such as canteen food, campus garden or an exchange for used items)
  • “University functions” (e.g. heating, PV systems, website)

The proposals discussed were prioritised. At the end of winter semester 2021/2022, the Ipro-L students will formulate the results in a final report. In the summer semester, the topics are to be transferred to realisation with the highest priority and according to plan in student teams.

If you are interested in getting involved, please contact anna.gerritzen(at) The participants can then have the project credited as part of the sustainability certificate.

Summary: The University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer plans its future together with the students in a participatory process involving all university members.