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About UniTrento sostenibile

UniTrento sostenibile is a framework to collect and put in place sustainability initiatives, in such a way as to include a wide range of actions, on different fronts, and a variety of stakeholders. The concept of sustainability involves many University sectors and activities: energy resources, mobility, the environment, waste management, just to mention a few. Given the importance and breadth of the concept, the university felt the need to gather all institutional actions for sustainability under the same framework, 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.  A master’s dissertation in Engineering for the Environment and the Territory underlined the most delicate aspects of the implementation of the plan, which will be tackled in its updated and reviewed version.

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, elected on 1 April 2015, designated a delegate for sustainability, a novelty in the local academic setting. The post was given to Marco Ragazzi, associate professor in the area of sanitary and environmental 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 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. Based on the collected data, the University would later draft a commuting plan with other stakeholders involved in urban mobility to implement policies and actions for a more environmentally sustainable commuting. 

The data were analysed 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 were anonymous and were sent to the personnel of the University of Trento: faculty, researchers, technicians and administrative staff (PTA), collaborators and language experts. 

The dissertation contained a number of proposals for an integrated analysis of the University’s environmental sustainability as concerns mobility policies: the next step is to examine and possibly implement these proposals. The University is reviewing the information collected through the above mentioned master’s dissertation in Environmental and Land Engineering. 

Point of reference: Luca Battisti, head of the Logistics division - luca.battisti [at] unitn.it

Separate waste collection at UniTrento

The University of Trento believes that it is fundamental to improve separate waste collection practices and to encourage reuse and recycling policies in order to reduce the amount of waste.

In this context, the University supported “SimplyECO” and “SimplyECO II”, a project designed to analyse student practices at the halls of residence of Opera Universitaria with the purpose of improving separate waste collection performance among students. The project was carried out by the University of Trento in collaboration with the Environment department of the Municipality of Trento, Dolomiti Energia Spa, MART and Opera Universitaria. 

Point of reference: Renato Troncon - renato.troncon [at] unitn.it

Another undergraduate dissertation work at the department of Environmental and Land Engineering focused on separate waste collection to harmonize waste collection in all the University’s departments and centres, by mapping of waste disposal areas and the type of containers used. Another master’s dissertation at the department of Environmental and Land Engineering presented a quantitative estimate of the savings and benefits that could be achieved through a collaborative approach among the members of the University community.

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.

The second phase, to explore how a particular air pollutant (CO2) may influence learning abilities and attention span, is scheduled to begin at the end of 2018.

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

Points of reference: Marco Ragazzi and Rossano Albatici

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

Rete delle Università per lo Sviluppo Sostenibile (RUS)

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 Italian University Rectors (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 55 Italian universities, in its early stages.

The RUS network is still growing and the number of member universities is continuously increasing. A number of important institutional 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. The University of Venice - Ca’ Foscari is temporarily providing for organizational matters through one of its offices that is working as a liaison office between the RUS members, the network and CRUI. 

For further information: https://www.crui.it/rus-rete-delle-universita-per-la-sostenibilita.html


Information on the University’s past work in support of environmental sustainability 

The team of UniTrento sostenibile has been collecting information on the initiatives endorsed by the University of Trento in past years in support of environmental sustainability. If you are a member of the faculty or principal investigator in a research project on environmental sustainability don’t hesitate to contact us! All past initiatives will be collected in a database and disseminated in the university community. 

Point of reference: Marco Ragazzi - marco.ragazzi [at] unitn.it