About UniTrento sostenibile

UniTrento sostenibile is the strategy of UniTrento to collect and put in place sustainability actions in a wide range of areas, involving many organizations, departments and centres and a variety of stakeholders. The notion of sustainability involves many University sectors and activities: energy sources, water, mobility, greenhouse gas emissions, waste management, just to mention a few. Given the breadth of the notion of sustainability, the university felt the need to gather all actions for sustainability under one strategy and to brand it to make it recognizable and unequivocally tied to the University of Trento.

Purpose of the project

The University of Trento cares about environmental sustainability and includes environmental considerations in its planning policies. 

The code of ethics of the University, approved by the Academic Senate in March 2014, makes a clear reference to the principle of environmental sustainability as a general rule of conduct for all university members. 

Since then the University has adopted many other documents which have taken into account the subject of environmental sustainability and therefore call for appropriate action in different areas of academic life.

The most important of these is without any doubt the Environmental sustainability plan 2016/2018, a sort of roadmap for the management of sustainability-related processes within the University, which are fundamental to ensure the development of the University in an environment-friendly direction.  This first attempt to achieve a number of objectives within one action was maybe too ambitious, or maybe the goals were too many. However, in the two years that followed, we managed to identify issues that were not properly addressed before. The efforts made by UniTrento in the past two years cannot be considered as a finish line. On the contrary, they must be considered as an important first step towards the achievement of sustainability goals that represent a model for society, stakeholders and other public institutions.

The work and experience gained in those two years were crucial to draft the new Environmental sustainability plan 2020/2021, which is based on a twofold strategy: it includes a number of actions that have been identified on the basis of objective needs that emerged in recent years; and it suggests a participatory approach, with which the entire university community and its representatives will be able to actively contribute to propose sustainability actions and monitor their implementation.

Objectives

The project’s objectives involve two levels of action:

  • at the level of the working environment, we would like to make UniTrento more sensitive to reuse and recycling, to a sensible management of energy and other resources
  • at the level of private life, we aim at encouraging “learning mechanisms” so that everyone will apply in their private, family life the lessons learned in the working environment

There is a long way to go, of course, and results will not come immediately, but we count on everyone’s commitment.

“What cannot be measured cannot be monitored”. It is the goal of UniTrento sostenibile to measure, whenever possible, the impact of the actions that will be proposed and implemented.

Our Team

Professor Paolo Collini, Rector of the University of Trento since 2015, designated a delegate for sustainability, a novelty in the local academic setting. The post was given to Marco Ragazzi, professor in the area of environmental and sanitary engineering at the department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering.

The delegate for Environmental sustainability marks an innovation in the approach adopted by the University to face environmental issues and proves its willingness to implement initiatives that can improve the environmental sustainability of the University.

The establishment of the Green Office – which is made up of the delegate for Environmental sustainability and the representatives of students and relevant organizations involved in the sustainability actions included in the Environmental sustainability plan 2020/2021 – represents another step forward in the implementation of actions that aim to achieve sustainability goals.

The team is us. Everyone will have to play its part in the framework of UniTrento Sostenibile with individual sustainable actions and behaviours. All members of the University community can adopt simple Earth-friendly working procedures and attitudes to help protecting the environment. Initiatives aimed at involving the community will be given great visibility.

Limited participation will lead to partial results:  it is only through a broad participation that we can build a true “sustainable awareness”.

Actions

A questionnaire to study commuting practices

In November 2015 the University of Trento prepared an online questionnaire to study the commuting practices of its personnel working at the various university premises.
The purpose of the survey was to collect information on commuting habits. The data were analyzed in the framework of a master’s dissertation in Management at our University, which shed light on daily commuting habits and provided useful insights on aspects that can be improved to support a more sustainable mobility. Participation in the study was voluntary, questionnaires are anonymous and were sent to the personnel of the University of Trento: faculty, researchers, technicians and administrative staff (PTA), collaborators and language experts. 

A new version of the questionnaire is about to be released. It will enable researchers to carry out an integrated and updated analysis of environmental sustainability at UniTrento regarding mobility habits and to obtain useful information of greenhouse gas emissions.

SALUS

SALUS - Sustainable Air for Life in University Spaces aims to define the quality level of indoor air in study and work spaces of the University of Trento.

Researchers will identify the main air pollutants in the University’s indoor environments, which can be harmful to health and impact on the wellbeing and performance of users. The data collection methodology adopted within the project is based on both quantitative and qualitative data, respectively through the air monitoring of different areas (office spaces, rooms, laboratories, the library) and online questionnaires (administered to teaching staff, technical and administrative staff, students, PhD students, collaborators).

The overall goal of the project is to identify possible strategies to improve the quality of life of people in University spaces, bearing in mind the energy efficient requirements of buildings in summer and winter, including with passive techniques. This will help define a number of construction practices that can be used in new buildings and for the refurbishment of old ones, combining health protection standards with sustainable energy efficiency.

The first phase of the project started in February 2017 with the monitoring of some rooms in the Mesiano Campus, home to the Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering.

A second phase, to explore how a particular air pollutant (CO2) may influence learning abilities and attention span, is underway.

The project is being carried out in collaboration with Enerconsult srl in Brescia which, within a proper agreement, provided the researchers the required equipment. 

Contact persons: Marco Ragazzi and Rossano Albatici

For more information please contact: rossano.albatici [at] unitn.it

PlaSTOP 

The University, within its Environmental sustainability plan 2020/2021, developed a roadmap to reduce the amount of single use plastics. Drinking water dispensers will be installed in vending machine areas in the University's departments and centres. The water is purified on site and can be used to fill personal bottles; the "flat" option will be available for free.  This action aims to encourage people to prefer tap water to bottled water.

The University is also exploring solutions to plastic cups supplied by hot beverages vending machines. The choice of the type of compostable cup will be based on the type of waste that can be processed by the waste treatment plants located in the Province of Trento.

As described in the new Plan, the University is committed to work with Opera Universitaria to ban single-use plastics from university restaurants and canteens and to promote green procurement for catering services, to avoid single-use plastics.

These actions will also benefit the quantity and type of recyclable waste. The University is at work to increase the amount of waste that can be recycled. 

RUS - Network of Universities for Sustainable Development

The University of Trento is part of the Rete delle Università per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile (Network of Universities for Sustainable Development, RUS), formally established in July 2015 by the Conference of the Rectors of Italian Universities (CRUI). 
The purpose of the network is to disseminate the culture of environmental sustainability and to apply its principles within Italian universities, through actions and policies that can make universities more environmentally sustainable.

In particular, the main objectives of the network, identified by its Initiative committee, can be summarised as follows:

  • training and professional updating of faculty and staff in all Italian universities and, as appropriate, of school teachers;
  • creation and sharing of initiatives on campus sustainability and new planning approaches in the fields of research and technology transfer and in the area of university organization and management;
  • dissemination of best practices and input from international networks among the members;
  • creation of an inter-university community, to adequately represent Italian universities at international level;
  • support for projects that have already been successfully implemented both within and outside universities and in other settings (see for instance the living labs1 for cities - 1: A living lab is a real life laboratory where innovative instruments applied to different aspects of everyday life are tested. Within this new research approach, different actors collaborate with each other: researchers, citizens, public and private organizations, with the purpose of testing modern and innovative products and services in territorial contexts, like cities);
  • implementation of a common and shared system to monitor the environmental and social performance of universities;
  • development of the educational dimension of university programmes to encourage students to adopt sustainable lifestyles.

The University of Trento joined this ambitious project, which now includes a growing number of members, in its early stages.

The RUS network is still growing and the number of member universities is continuously increasing. Many important events took place in the first months of work of the network, to which delegates from member universities participated.

RUS members have written the organization’s charter, which was adopted in agreement with CRUI. At the moment, the Politecnico University of Torino is working as a liaison office between the RUS members, the network and CRUI. 

For further information: https://sites.google.com/unive.it/rus/home

Contacts

Let your voice be heard! Send your suggestions, proposals or information requests to unitrento-sostenibile [at] unitn.it