Sustainability being one of the main concerns of Université de Lausanne (UNICA member university), the rectorate has prepared a Strategic Plan 2012-2017 to reduce the consumption of materials and energy of the Biosphere, which goes along with the scope of UNICA GREEN.
As the outcome of the last few years, UNIL developed several projects that University’s community has been highly involved:
The Lausanne’s Student Permaculture Association LA PEL’ took the initiative to promote ethical, theoretical and practical principles on the UNIL campus and beyond. In 2014 they established a vegetable garden, which is cultivated according to those principles. The Permaculture Garden involves students, teachers and outside experts who maintain and manage the garden as well as broaden and spread the knowledge by organising and participating in practical courses on wild harvesting and food preservation.
Following a forestry management plan from 2011, UNIL has successfully created an isolated ‘island’ of old woodland where flora and fauna can live without human intervention. In October 2014, the Forest of Dorigny was opened to visitors with well-prepared information panels describing flora and fauna. This 12 hectares ‘island’ also serves as a terrain for practical fieldwork and research.
In November 2015 the Rectorate of UNIL, UNIL Federation of Students’ Association and the Unipoly Association shaped a new project called the Troc-O-Pole. It is a space on the campus where every member of university’s community can make donations and exchange objects with the aim to reduce the environmental impact of the production and object consumption by facilitating their reuse.
In addition to projects mentioned above, UNIL has been actively developing many other green practices, which go under UNICA GREEN categories of campus management, education, students and research. The campus has 5 thematic guided tours, one of which is the sustainability of the campus. There are several study programmes and separate courses in the framework of sustainability which students can choose as their degree or one of the subjects. Moreover, every year UNIL and EPFL co-organise the Durabilis Award, which rewards academic studies or projects of students that integrate reflection on sustainability.
“The sustainability strategy of the Université de Lausanne is a best practice example of how sustainability principles can be integrated across operations, teaching and research, as well as into the overall vision and mission of an academic institution. While a top-down efforts are important, what makes the UNIL quite unique is that these efforts are also bottom up, transversal and integrate the students”- said Dr Marlyne Sahakian, researcher, Industrial Ecology Group (FGSE), (page 12, Sustainability Report 2014-2015, UNIL).