What it is

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 and programming 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 that call for appropriate action in different areas of academic life.


The project’s objectives involve two levels of action:

  • at the level of working environment, we would like to make the University more sensitive to reuse and recycling, 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 initiatives that are proposed and implemented.

Our team

Professor Paolo Collini, Rector of the University of Trento, elected on 1 April 2015, created the post of delegate for sustainability, a novelty in the local academic setting. The post was given to Marco Ragazzi, associate professor in the area of 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.

In September 2015 a new 6-month scholarship for recent graduates was launched (and later extended) to support the delegate’s work on environmental sustainability. The scholarship was awarded to Francesca Ghidini, MSc in Environmental and Land Engineering of the University of Trento. Another student of the department of Environmental and Land Engineering is currently working on a master dissertation that will include an integrated analysis of the University's environmental sustainability.

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”.


A list of initiatives that are already under way or about to start.

Car Sharing

The University of Trento co-founded in 2009 the Car Sharing Trento cooperative, having recognized since the very beginning the importance of mobility as an element and a driving force of important benefits for the community. The car-sharing represents a “new concept of mobility as a flexible and integrated service”. The University of Trento, as a public institution, cannot ignore this perspective.
The service. The cooperative association “Car Sharing Trentino” has been working in our Province since 2009, offering a car sharing service for both single individuals and private companies. Car sharing schemes are more and more common in urban areas and consist of a number of cars that are available to users who have registered with the service in order to collectively use the vehicles. Users basically can book a car from the service when they need one, and pay for the time they use it. The service is very useful to people who don’t use cars very often and therefore decide not to own one, sparing on the costs (so they save on taxes, insurance, maintenance costs).
Car sharing is an alternative mode of transportation based on the cars that make up the fleet of the Car Sharing Trentino cooperative, which includes an increasing number of vehicles available for use in Trento, Rovereto and Riva del Garda.
How it works: please visit Car Sharing for more details.
Objectives. To encourage alternative modes of transportation, UniTrento Sostenibile is exploring opportunities to use car sharing services instead of privately-owned cars for work-related purposes. This initiative is mainly aimed at researchers, teaching staff and visitors who do not own a car. 
UniTrento Sostenibile is collecting information from other Italian universities to find the most appropriate solution from an administrative point of view.
Point of reference: Luca Battisti, head of the Logistics division - luca.battisti [at] unitn.it

Car pooling

PickMeUp is a new car-sharing platform, supported by Banca del Tempo Etico (banchetempo.tn.it), to share rides in the Province of Trento. It is a sustainable mobility project that aims to reduce traffic and the environmental impact of cars.

Through PickMeUp you can offer and ask for car rides on commuter lines on every day of the week and for occasional trips.

At the moment there are 112 stops in the 24 valleys of Trentino and about one thousand users. The service is offered through an app on Telegram messenger. Search for the “pickmeup_bot” user and offer or search for a ride.

Visit: pickmeup.trentino.it

Contacts: pickmeupbot [at] gmail.com

UniTrento Libera Circolazione

Over 16,000 students are enrolled at the University of Trento and many of them are out and about travelling with different forms of transportation to get to their courses or simply to travel and discover the beauty of Trentino. 16,000 students moving around are numbers which have an impact on the transportation networks and sustainability in the area.

With the service UniTrento Libera Circolazione, the University would like to encourage students enrolled on any degree, master or doctorate program to use all urban and suburban public transportation at the special price of only 50 euros for an annual pass. The pass is valid throughout the Province of Trento. 

Special price bus passes are available starting from 21 August 2017.

Further information is available on the dedicated web page

The University fleet of vehicles

The University is exploring opportunities for a functional improvement of its fleet of vehicles to offer a service of higher quality, make it suitable to the departments’ needs, and comply with emission standards and regulations in force.

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 will later draft a commuting plan with other stakeholders who are involved in urban mobility to implement policies and actions for a more environmentally sustainable commuting. 

The collected data have been analyzed in the framework of a master’s dissertation in Management at our University, to shed light on daily commuting habits and provide 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), contract workers and language experts. 

The University is reviewing the information collected through the above mentioned master’s dissertation in Environmental and Land Engineering. On the other hand, the master’s dissertation in Management included a number of proposals for an integrated analysis of the University’s environmental sustainability as concerns mobility policies: it is now necessary to examine and possibly implement these proposals.

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

Separate waste collection

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 waste.

In this context, the University supported a two-phase project, SimplyECO” and “SimplyECO II”, to improve the students’ performance in terms of separate waste collection based on an analysis of Opera Universitaria's residence halls. The project was conducted 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: Prof. Renato Troncon - renato.troncon [at] unitn.it
In the area of separate waste collection, the department of Environmental and Land Engineering supported a bachelor’s dissertation on the harmonization of waste collection systems in all the University’s departments and centers based on the mapping of waste disposal areas and the type of containers used.

The SALUS (Sustainable Air for Life in University Spaces) project

The SALUS (Sustainable Air for Life in University Spaces) project is aimed at defining the quality of the indoor study and work spaces of the buildings of the University of Trento. The state of indoor pollutants and indoor VOC, which can cause health problems, a feeling of uneasiness and/or inadequate work performance, is monitored through the codification of a data reading methodology, both quantitative, through instrumental monitoring in various areas (offices, classrooms, laboratories, libraries) and qualitative, through online transversal questionnaires given to users (faculty and staff, students, doctoral candidates, collaborators).

The goal is to delineate possible strategies to improve the quality of the internal environments of the university spaces while considering the maximum levels of energetic efficiency, both in winter and summer, of the buildings, also with passive intervention techniques. In this way, it is possible to define various principles to be used in new construction as well as in the repurposing of pre-existing buildings which integrate health and energetic sustainability of the buildings.

The first phase of the project began in February 2017 with the monitoring of several areas of a building in Mesiano, where DICAM is located.

The project is being carried out with the collaboration of Enerconsult srl of Brescia which, through a convention has made available to researchers the instruments for the data readings on site

Contacts for the initiative: prof. Marco Ragazzi and prof. Rossano Albatici

For information: rossano.albatici [at] unitn.it

Rete delle Università per la Sostenibilità (RUS)

The University of Trento is part of the Sustainable University Network (RUS), formally established in July 2015 by the Conference of Italian University Rectors (CRUI). 
The purpose of the network is to spread the culture of environmental sustainability and to apply this principle within Italian universities, through actions and policies that can make universities more sustainable.

In more detail, the main objectives of the network, identified by the initiative committee, can be summarized 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 and transfer 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. Under this new research approach, different actors collaborate with each other - researchers, citizens, public and private bodies - 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 correct and sustainable lifestyles.

The University of Trento started working on this ambitious project since its first stages, and joined the initiative committee together with the following universities: Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna, Bari Politecnico, Milan Politecnico, Turin Politecnico, University of Bari - Aldo Moro, University of Messina, University of Milan, University of Pavia, University of Verona, University of Milan - Bicocca.

The RUS network is still growing and the number of member universities is continuously increasing. Important institutional events took place in the first months of work of the network, with the participation of delegates from member universities.

RUS members worked together to draw up the organization's charter, which was approved in agreement with the CRUI. The University of Venice - Ca’ Foscari is temporarily acting as a liaison among RUS members and between the RUS and CRUI.

For further information visit: 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 is 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 dedicated database and disseminated in the university community. 

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