Make UU a no fly university

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If you come to work or study at the UU, you promise not to fly anymore. Not for work, not for study, not for personal reasons. That is the proposal that environmental philosopher Floris van den Berg makes to make UU a truly sustainable institution.

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Let’s make UU a no fly university! Utrecht University states it has a high priority to work towards sustainability and a better future. ‘Bright minds, better future’ is the slogan of UU. In order to make the transition to a fully sustainable institution big steps have to be taken. A university is a place to pioneer, to dare to take a big leap and to be a forerunner for solutions for a better world.

So, let’s collectively stop flying. Completely. Starting from the new academic year in September. Let’s look at the no fly policy as a challenge. What I mean with no flying is no flying. Of course, with every rule, there will be exceptions. But let’s focus on the general rule and then see what can be urgent and necessary exceptions to the no fly rule.

From September 2020 UU staff and students won’t fly. Not for work, not for study, not for personal reasons. Every staff member and every student signs a contract which is a commitment not to fly.

Working or studying at UU means taking sustainability seriously. If everyone is in the same position, then it is clear that UU takes this environmental policy seriously and wants to take a big leap towards being a less unsustainable institution by reducing its ecological footprint significantly by no flying.

Indeed, there will be big challenges, but let’s use all our bright minds and innovative creativity to solve these, so UU can still be a great university with global outreach. International students will have to come via other means of transportation. Staff members will be longer away if they want to attend a conference or to do research abroad. But UU accepts that and will facilitate that. For example by paying more for train tickets, perhaps book and arrange coach travels and facilitate online conferencing.

If UU is the first university in the world to take such a measure, UU will place itself in the spotlight of attention and set an example. It will be an enormous opportunity for creativity and sustainability.

 

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