Heads of University Management & Administration Network Europe

Study Visit - Utrecht University, April 22-25, 2018

Sustainability, social responsibility and university leadership: strategic responses to sustainability challenges

Hosted by the Utrecht University

The historic 2015 Paris Agreement building on the UN’s Convention on Climate Change was a turning point.  It charts a new course in the global challenge to address climate change.  

The Agreement also provided a much needed impetus for universities to demonstrate more visibly, the unique role that they can play in effecting lasting change in relation to climate change by virtue of their role as knowledge-intensive organisations. 

More than this, however, it put the spotlight on institutional leaders to lead by example; to demonstrate that universities had much more to do in the way they managed themselves in terms of their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions targets. 

It reminded us that sustainability management in universities has to go through a thorough mindset change which had to be led by universities’ most senior leaders.  Sustainability needed to move from being seen as a worthy project involving a few changemakers, to a central feature of the institution’s ethos, character and strategy.  

Our study visit focuses on Utrecht University, an institution which has committed itself to making this journey.

It is designed as an intensive, interactive programme over two and a half days, which also involves contributions from several other institutions who have also committed to a more systemic approach to sustainability management.

The programme (available here) culminates in the study visit team providing feedback on what they have learned to the Utrecht home team..