We have created this blog to enhance communication among everyone interested on the Sustaining Our Future world. Team members, but also youth in Europe and everyone interested on Sustainable Development and builiding a better world for tomorrow.

June 28, 2009

SuFu meeting in Brussels

SuFu is having a midyear meeting in Brussels at the moment.
We took this opportunity to evaluate our progress so far, plan for our upcoming events (they're going to be utterly cool, so stay tuned!!) and last but not least enjoy and improve our team spirit and try the combination of Dutch asparagus and Belgian peas in a risotto. And as it was the EU's Green Week in Brussels, we also visited there.

Because someone tried to poison our highly successful SuFu project manager, SuFu panda had to come to save the day. Naturally, we used this opportunity to make a video about all the adventures this brave panda had in AEGEE's headquarters. Of course we will share this with you soon :-)

At the meeting we had a lot of creative sessions, defined the work to be done in the future and planned how we would do the dissemination of all our results.
Because the network commission was present at the CD house too, we did a European Night together, which started with a bit late, but utterly marvelous pizza dinner made by Olya and Thomas. After that we did the presentations about each other's cultures and tasted from the nice food and beverages coming from all the different countries. The Estonians (Tiit in particular) really put their effort in it with building a genuine Estonian Sauna in a tent in the garden. Of course it took some Dutch ingeniuty to realise this Estonian project, but the end result was marvelous. And so SuFu kept it's tradition to introduce the merits of Estonian sauna to yet another member of the Comité Directeur (and all other people present).

Stay tuned for more information about our upcoming events, there are a lot of nice things coming up: Activities in the Danube project in the Danube Delta (Romania) and Bratislava (Slovakia), SuFu in the city in Madrid (Spain).

June 15, 2009

Universities going green around the world

Last week I had the luck to be present in 3rd international sustainable univeristies' conference, taking place in Lausanne, Switzerland, organised by International Sustainable Campus Network. It was amazing to know that so prestigious universities like Yale, Harvard, Cambridge, etc are also taking direction towards becoming more sustainable. It was also nice to see that there were universities present in the conference from almost all the continents.
Unversities seem to be seeking sustainability in mainly 2 directions:
1) reducing the negative environmental impact of their buldings through energy efficiency, reducing water use, amount of waste, CO2 emissions, etc;
2) creating environmental awareness, involving students, scientists, management and local communities into common actions towards sustainability.

Listening to different presentations, taking part in workshops and just discussing with different university leaders, there was one clear message: students are seen as key part towards change. Universities are looking for different ways how to involve students more, as in that way it's also easier to convice other parties to contribute to changes. Also, this year, first 2 awards for sustainable universities (construction and impact award) were given out, but there is plan to create more categories, one of them being award for student initiatives. And btw, representative from Higher Education Environmental Performance Improvement in UK seemed to be quite interested in cooperation with AEGEE ;)

So I think that there is much that we as students and AEGEE memebrs could do to spread the idea of sustainable universities in Europe, to make our own universities more sustainable. There are so many good examples to show already in the world, we just need to make our voices heard. After all, universities as education and research centres can play so important role in turning whole society towards sustainability.

June 6, 2009

SuFu panda visited Ljubljana on his EDE journey

One month ago a decision was made that this year SuFu panda will also visit Ljubljana among other European cities on his EDE journey. Because of this high visit we needed to start making our plan very quickly, as we really wanted to prepare something big to surprise our dear guest. On the first meeting, three weeks ago, the AEGEE-Ljubljana EDE team gathered and after a long brainstorming session we all agreed, that we wish to prepare a nice celebration eco event somewhere in nature, where we can join serious environmental topics with pure fun. So we decided to make an afternoon event under the blue sky in Tivoli, the biggest park in Ljubljana. We imagined preparing a big promotion campaign about European Day of Environment. Eco booth joined with Eco street action seemed a pretty good idea for convincing people to act more environmentally friendly. To make things little bit more interactive we also decided to prepare two workshops: the first one about climate changes in connection with renewable energies and a second one about the healthy way of living through sport activities (this time we’ve tried Pilates). But that’s not all, as we all know the European Parliament elections are just in front of us, so we also decided to finish the Yvote project in Ljubljana and we promoted European elections through the eyes of the environment as we were encouraging people to go to the elections, to vote and to take into consideration the environmental aspect while voting.

Three days ago the big day finally came. The weather forecast wasn’t one of the best for having an outside event, so we were keeping our fingers crossed that meteorologists made some mistakes while forecasting the weather for Slovenia. We, a team full of positive energy, gathered in the park and surrounded by nature, started with the last preparations in the early afternoon. When SuFu panda joined us at 4 p.m. and the event officially started, everything was ready for the first visitors to come. Despite some clouds the sun was shining strongly and people were coming by on their bikes, some of them were even running by, but most of them were just on the walk through the nice park with their children and pets or they were on the way home from work. When they saw that there is something unusual happening in the park, they’ve stopped and were curiously asking us what is going on. We explained them, that we’re celebrating EDE and that we wished every single one of them to start doing something good for the environment. We gave them some useful materials about different environmental topics and some materials about European elections. For the children we prepared some nicely coloured eco balloons.

We’ve also gotten two very interesting visits. First there were two policemen on horses who scared us little bit, because they could have started complicating, but in the end everything turned out ok. We gave them some apples for the horses and they took a small snack for themselves. Then they wished us luck with the weather and went their own way :) The second interesting visit was when a mother with a child came by and stopped for a while, searching for more information on what we’re doing. Then she found out we are from AEGEE and became very sentimental. She started explaining to us that she was also an AEGEEan in her younger age and that she had traveled the whole Europe with AEGEE while learning a lot and having so much fun during that time. It looked like she envied us a little bit our youthfulness, but at the same time she was so grateful for that amazing AEGEE experience and just before she left, she wished us good luck with our future projects.

As I mentioned before, we also prepared two workshops. The first one was about climate changes and the speaker from Association for Sustainable Development Focus gave us some general information about it and explained to us, what every person can do to make he’s ecological footprint smaller. The second one, Pilates workshop, was made in a more funny way and while we’re outside exercising in the nature, we made something good for our body, mind and health in general. And don’t think that guys didn’t try it, they did, we have proof; just look at the photos carefully :)

When the official part of EDE event was over, it was of course time for the unofficial part, so we went together to the eco party, where AEGEE-Ljubljana board members, SU Ljubljana team members and some of the participants of the event joined us and had fun with us. In conclusion, everything was just great - green program, cosy atmosphere, many interested visitors, nice and funny organizers and even the weather was beautiful great success! In the end I would like to deeply thank my dear EDE team, you’ve made this great event possible and you’ve made it so special, thank you – hvala!

Panda hugs from AEGEE-Ljubljana EDE team ;-)

Photography by Blaž Šteblaj