Green Week bigger, more collaborative, and more technical this year

Once again this year, the first week of June will be dedicated to the Green Week, a sustainability initiative by the GO Green Office. With activities such as an AI sustainability hackathon and a bicycle repair workshop, the organizers sought to create a program that will appeal to engineering students and be of immediate benefit to them. “Our goal is to implement sustainable practices in our daily lives.”

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“This year, we made sure to involve more departments in the Green Week,” says Hanna Brita Kähari, a bachelor’s student of Computer Science and GO Green Office Community Manager. Last year, the program was sustainability-related in general, but there weren’t a lot of technical events, which is the whole point of this university. “This year, we've got more focus on that aspect as well as a diverse group of participants, from Industrial Design to Computer Science students,” she continues.

On Friday, for example, there will be a sustainability hackathon in collaboration with Serpentine, the Artificial Intelligence student team. During the hackathon, the students will be working in teams to solve a data science issue and the winning team will be awarded a prize of 300 euros. Kähari: “Everyone is free to join. The task is an image classification task (this involves training neural networks to classify images into predefined classes, ed.) which is suitable for beginners but also provides a challenge to more knowledgeable participants.”

Besides the hackathon, the program will include a lunch lecture by Team Energy, various workshops on such topics as vegan cooking, composting and bike repairing, a lecture about sustainable banking by Triodos Bank, a documentary, a philosophical discussion, a circular furniture expo, and other activities. “There is just a lot of variety. I think everyone will be able to find something that they are interested in,” Kähari says.

There will be a lot going on in different buildings across the entire campus. “Not just in Atlas. Activities will also take place in Neuron, Vertigo, and the Zwarte Doos,” she sums up. “It’s quite a bit bigger than previous years and more collaborative in order to attract a wider range of students,” says Jia Ming Ong, an Electrical Engineering student and GO Green Office Strategic Manager.


This year, CEO of Vinted and TU/e alumnus Thomas Plantenga will be opening the Green Week with his keynote speech about sustainability in the clothing industry. “Thomas will deliver the keynote online from Lithuania as the company is situated there,” Kähari says. “And there will be a Q&A session as well, so students can ask him about any experiences he had with Vinted and TU/e.”

The organizers tried to find someone the students would be really interested in listening to. “The students I've talked to are all very involved with Vinted, using it on a daily basis,” she says. According to her, it’s a good example of how recycling can naturally be integrated into our way of living. That way, it becomes something normal to do. “At the Green Office, it's our purpose to implement these more sustainable practices in our daily lives.”

Mental well-being

After last year's success, organizers came up with another workshop on climate anxiety this year. “This is especially for students who have been involved in sustainability for some time and are feeling a little anxious about how to deal with this big issue of climate change,” she explains.

“This workshop helps you come to terms with it and also gives you concrete pointers on how to make changes yourself without being too stressed.” Mental well-being is also something GO Green Office stands for. “After all, this goes hand in hand with sustainability. And if you worry a lot about climate change, that's not good for your health.”

Practical approach

This year, the program is more focused on practical things, like the clothing repair café and bike repair workshop. “These will help you prolong the life of the objects you own, which is exactly what sustainability is about,” Kähari says. With this more practical and technical approach, the organizers wanted to make sure the program would align well with students’ interests and needs.

“We don’t want to lecture them about sustainability for a whole week. We just try to showcase to students how sustainability can become a natural part of their lives and to give them something they can use right away.”

Although the students are the main target group, the staff can also take part in all of the activities on campus. There will even be a number of staff-only events, including a networking lunch on sustainability. According to the organizers, the program is low-threshold and suitable for everyone. “If you are thinking about joining the Green Week, you don't have to be scared about maybe not being very familiar with sustainability. For most of the events, you don't need any prior experience.”

With this year’s edition, which is bigger and far more collaborative and involves a lot more parties, the Green Week is set to become something that can no longer be ignored, the organizers believe. Ong: “You can see how this sustainable mindset is growing and the Green Week is only getting more established.” However, his ultimate dream is quite the opposite. “I guess the goal is for there not to be a Green Week anymore, as this would mean the good practices have become so natural that it’s no longer needed.”

The Green Week takes place from Monday, June 3 to Friday, June 7. You can sign up for the events using this online form. More information is available on GO Green Office’s Instagram.

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