Sustainability guidelines of the University of Vechta Passed by the Senate of the University of Vechta in its 65th meeting on 21 June 2017
The University of Vechta integrates the principles of sustainability in all its fields of action – teaching, research and campus. Based on the ideas of the Brundtland Commission of the United Nations (1987), we understand sustainable development as development “that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. The protection of the global environment is the basis for this, which requires a careful use of natural resources as well as living and working with and not against nature. In addition to this environmental dimension of sustainable development, the social, cultural, economic and political perspectives of sustainable development must also be taken into account. All of these five sustainability dimensions must be given due consideration in order to initiate and maintain innovative sustainability processes in the long term.
The University of Vechta creates the general framework for contributing to sustainable development in accordance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The sustainability processes at the University of Vechta are to be understood as a continuous further development in the sense of a “learning organisation” and are based on the following guidelines:
Education for Sustainable Development
The University of Vechta considers studying and teaching as central resources of promoting sustainable development. In line with the Global Action Programme “Education for Sustainable Development”, the principles of Education for Sustainable Development should be increasingly embedded in teaching and studies in order to enable students to think and act responsibly in this regard as well. The aim is to equip students with sustainability skills by means of appropriate contents and types of study in all subjects. Sustainability skills are the ability to analyse, recognise and evaluate environmental, social, cultural, economic and political challenges of the present and the future, as well as the willingness and motivation to take responsibility for our future, to pursue sustainable development goals in private and professional life and to participate in their implementation at the social and political level. In this respect, the teaching and study offer is being continuously further developed and expanded.
Research for sustainable development
The University of Vechta promotes research on issues relevant to sustainability that serve to generate system knowledge (knowledge about relations and mechanisms in environmental and socio-economic systems), target knowledge (knowledge about desirable targets), and transformation knowledge (knowledge about triggering specific change processes). In addition, research projects are to be oriented toward aspects of sustainable development regarding their objectives and execution. In the further development of these activities for research for sustainable development, the promotion and qualification of junior researchers are also essential.
Setting an example for sustainability on the campus
The aim of the University of Vechta is to manage the campus in a sustainable manner and to create a framework for sustainable actions. We strive for an environmentally friendly, resource-efficient, family-friendly and gender-sensitive, inclusive, health-promoting and diverse campus. In this way, we want to be a role model that represents a culture of sustainability and an awareness of sustainable actions.
Joint commitment to sustainable development
At the University of Vechta, there is a consensus that a large majority of the affiliates of the university must support the sustainability process in order to achieve a lasting change. A participatory culture, in which all employees and students can contribute to and participate in the processes, is also to be developed in this field. Sustainability initiatives of university members are to be promoted and supported.
Cooperation and networking for sustainable development
The University of Vechta considers further networking and cooperation with relevant regional and supraregional actors to be essential for sustainable development. The university therefore seeks to establish sustainability monitoring for itself and its region. We strongly support sustainable cooperation projects within and outside the university. In addition, we are aiming to establish further memberships in sustainability networks in order to intensify the exchange of experience and knowledge on sustainability processes at universities.
Task force “Sustainable University”
The task force “Sustainable University” is a working group founded at the University of Vechta. It is open to all affiliates of the University of Vechta, composed of students, academic staff members, technical and administrative staff and professors, provides thought-provoking impulses for sustainable development at the University of Vechta and makes recommendations.
 United States General Assembly, Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future, 42nd session, A/42/427, New York, 1987. [http://www.un-documents.net/our-common-future.pdf] (10.04.2017)
 United Nations General Assembly, Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, 70th session, A/RES/70/1, New York, 25.09.2015. [http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/70/1&Lang=E] (10.04.2017)