Blue Universities in praxis

As a Blue Community, how do universities implement the principles to which they have committed themselves? Here are some concrete examples from university practice.

Principle 1: Recognition of the human right to water

  • Include topic in the university's mission statement
  • Topic for lectures, seminars or courses, events with guest speakers
  • Topic is highlighted at events, for example on World Water Day on March 22 or on December 10 for HR Day (film evening, stand event, podium, guided tour, etc.).
  • Information input for new employees or students
  • Flyers on Blue Community
  • Show exhibition "Water - a human right" (project of Blue Community Switzerland, loan free of charge)

Principle 2: Recognition of water as a public good

  • Enter into dialogue with the public. Concrete: Partnership with the city and possibly the canton and possibly other educational institutions for the further development of the Blue Community.
  • The FHS, together with the University and the City, advocates in the event that water as a public good is endangered, for water to remain in public hands so that it remains accessible and affordable to all residents. In doing so, it also supports the city in its efforts to maintain the water supply as a central public responsibility.
  • The university makes the drinking water supply in Switzerland a topic in courses on ESD (Education for Sustainable Development) and other activities related to sustainability.
  • Excursions are also planned as part of the international exchange in cooperation with the municipal utilities, e.g. to the water treatment plant or to a wastewater treatment plant.

Principle 3: Do not use bottled water

  • The students are to be sensitized to a more conscious consumption of water. Among other things, glass bottles and water carafes are provided for this purpose.
  • All students will receive branded water bottles. An awareness campaign will be held for this purpose at the start-up event for new students.
  • Free tap water from the tap will be provided at the dining hall and cafeteria locations. Glasses are available to all canteen and cafeteria patrons.
  • In addition, fresh tap water can be filled into bottles or glasses at any time in every wet room of the UAS.
  • On internal occasions, tap water is offered in carafes and glasses in the self-service area.
  • Water dispensers will be installed.
  • In future construction projects and infrastructure measures, sustainability aspects such as resource-conserving use of water are to be taken into account again.
  • Awareness campaign at all university locations with artistic activities.
  • In courses, the topic of water is addressed from different perspectives (e.g. water conflicts, water consumption, virtual water, financial aspects of water supply, ethical questions concerning water).
  • Various measures to reduce water consumption:
    • 90 percent of the water tapping points only cold water connections.
    • Flow rates were reduced at various consumers by using jet regulators.
    • 2-stage flushes have been installed in all WCs to save water.
    • The hot water temperature has been reduced. Thus, less cold water is used for mixing down.
    • Fresh water fountains on college campuses were given a time­switch to reduce operating time.
    • In the university building, it is being investigated whether the historic drinking water dispensers (Art Nouveau fountains in the building) can be reactivated.
    • During revisions/renewals, the sanitary fixtures are equipped with the latest technology and thus water-saving (e.g. Urimat).
    • Sustainability aspects are taken into account in construction projects.
    • Optimization of the operation of other technical facilities and operating processes will be carried out in accordance with the list of measures from August 2016 of the energy management of the cantonal building..

Principle 4: Cultivate partnerships with international partners committed to public-public cooperation..

  • Support of a student initiative in the field of development cooperation
  • Within the framework of existing partnerships with foreign universities, exchange semesters, study trips and teaching assignments are used as an opportunity to promote intercultural exchange on the subject of water. For example, workshops have been held with visiting students from abroad to discuss water supply in Switzerland and in the students' home countries. Students from universities who deal with the topic of water in research and teaching play a particularly important role here. Together, a checklist will be developed that can be used to analyze the culture-specific handling of water and that will be available to the outgoing students and lecturers as an observation aid. The findings will be incorporated into the written reflections on stays abroad and will then be made available to all FHS members and foreign partners. In this way, not only can an increased awareness be achieved, but ideas for new projects can also be gained.
  • Cooperation with a foreign university within the framework of a North-South partnership of éducation21, support is also provided by the SDC. In consultation with its partner, the university has defined the topic of water as a program focus for the partnership period 2016-18. As part of the annual student exchange, the topic of water is to be included in a block week. The goal is for students to exchange ideas on various aspects of water supply and use.
  • In the SIMagination Challenge course of the Master of Arts in Strategy and International Management, students launch projects that have a positive and lasting social impact on society. Two drinking water­projects were carried out: Drop of Hope in India and PureDrop in Indonesia. The SIMagination Challenge will continue to address water issues in the future.
  • A variety of bachelor and master theses will be written, which, for example, critically examine the privatization of water or political water conflicts.
  • Support of a water project that promotes public-public water supply, e.g. by HEK.S

And your concrete implementation measures? Do you have any other concrete examples that we could list here? (Write) down your measures and send an email to Roland Brunner

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