Are you passionate about fighting climate change? Are you in search of universities that take climate change seriously? If so, keep on reading! In this EDUopinions article, we will list and discuss Europe’s top five eco-friendly universities and explain what sets them apart from the rest.
What makes a university eco-friendly?
In today’s world, all sectors of the economy and society are called upon to implement changes to fight climate change. Without a doubt, this call to action includes universities and academic institutions, as these are the places where the future generation learns the tools necessary to be active members of the ecological movement. In this light, we at EDUopinions consider various aspects of universities’ operations in determining how eco-friendly an institution is. These criteria include the university’s strategy and governance, campus sustainability, ecological/environmental research programmes and activist and outreach initiatives.
EDUopinions list of the top five eco-friendly universities in Europe:
University of Bristol (United Kingdom)
The first on EDUopinion’s list of the top-five eco-friendly universities in Europe is University of Bristol in England. Bristol is a notable leader in the field of climate action as it was the first higher education institution in the UK to declare a climate emergency. The university has taken impressive steps toward becoming environmentally sustainable, including recycling 95% of its waste, committing to being carbon neutral by 2030 and engaging with the UNESCO Global Action programme to promote climate education. In terms of the university’s academic merits, it is one of the UK’s top universities and offers a wide selection of courses at undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels.
Radboud University (The Netherlands)
Next, Radboud University in the Netherlands is another one of the top five eco-friendly universities in Europe. Radboud University is located in the city of Nijmegen, which was named the European Green Capital in 2018 for its significant work against climate change. As for the university, its mission is clear: to contribute to a healthy, free world with equal chances for everyone. In pursuit of this mission, the university is home to the Radboud Centre for Sustainability Challenges—a research hub that brings together the most relevant climate change research to make the university more sustainable. As well, students have many opportunities to get involved in climate change activism through the university’s Green Office, which raises awareness and organises sustainability initiatives for students and staff.
Miguel Hernández University of Elche (Spain)
Miguel Hernández University of Elche is another one of the most eco-friendly academic institutions in Europe. One of the most impressive actions they have taken is establishing a summer school for young people and students to learn about climate change and engage in activism. As well, the university’s sustainability office organises events like beach clean-up and other activities aligned with the UN’s sustainable development goals. In addition, Miguel Hernández University of Elche offers a number of interesting courses for those passionate about fighting climate change, including environmental science, agro-food and agro-environmental engineering. For these reasons and many more, Miguel Hernández is easily one of Europe’s top five eco-friendly universities.
University of Dundee (Scotland)
Next up, the University of Dundee is also one of Europe’s top five eco-friendly universities. First off, the university has implemented an impressive range of environmental policies, including ones on sustainable transit to campus, fair-trade sourcing, heating and cooling and a commitment to fighting climate change. As well, the university is home to an Environmental Task Group in charge of directing the university’s environmental policies; students and staff work together in this group to create a strategy to support environmental activism. In terms of academics, the University of Dundee is world-renowned for its high-quality courses in a range of subjects. For students keen on the outdoors, Dundee is a great place to be, with easy access to Scotland’s areas of outstanding natural beauty.
University College Cork – UCC (Ireland)
Lastly, University College Cork has a relatively long history of commitment to environmental sustainability. In 2007, the university supported a student initiative to revolutionalise the institution’s environmental practices. Since then, University College Cork was the first European university to be awarded a Gold Star from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. To achieve this award, the university drastically reduced its waste production by 25%, increased the number of students cycling to campus by 90% and reducing overall carbon emissions by 36%. Finally, another advantage of University College Cork is that tuition fees are set at zero for European students. As such, this is easily one of Europe’s top five eco-friendly universities and definitely worth considering for your undergraduate, graduate or doctoral studies.
Conclusions about the top five eco-friendly universities in Europe
As we have seen, there are some great options available for those looking for sustainable university education. Hopefully one of the institutions on this list caught your attention. If not, or if you want more information about the above programmes, feel free to reach out to EDUopinions’ free personal advisors for help finding the perfect programme.