De UGent is een van de grootste universiteiten in België. Onze 11 faculteiten bieden je een uitgebreid opleidingsaanbod en wetenschappelijke activiteiten.


The Shift helpt leden gebruik maken van het globaal kader van de UN Sustainable Development Goals om hun maatschappelijke ambities in kaart te brengen.

17. Partnerships for the goals

At Ghent University, everyone is encouraged to get active and will continue to stimulate this. The sustainability pact calls on people to undertake active engagements in relation to sustainability. At the end of each academic year, we honour the best, most original activities or initiatives that have had the greatest impact. The students are also challenged to compete in ‘de Groene Ruijter’, the sustainability award for the most promising project proposal within Ghent University. Furthermore, the Transitie UGent Think Tank, comprised of engaged academics, students and representatives from the central administration, are enthusiastically putting on the pressure. They function as an open innovation think tank and are presenting numerous new suggestions. They are trying to make the system changes that are required for the transition to a sustainable society open for discussion and visible through a memorandum, small-scale experiments and activities etc. It's a challenge to keep this think tank lively and active. Ghent University is also trying to make its sustainability policy and research based on sustainable development known beyond its own walls through its website, Ghent University magazine, press releases, social media, research valorisation, collaboration with the city of Ghent etc. In scientific communication, Ghent University is entering dialogue with society about science and research. Initiatives such as the science cafés or the Day of Science ensure direct interaction between the researchers and the wider public. With projects, including the children’s university and the Wablief? Unief! project for Ghent GOK schools (Gelijkonderwijskansen – Equal Opportunity Schools), Ghent University is trying to sustainability encourage children’s interest in research and technology. On an international level, Ghent University is taking the initiative to draw up a Joint Declaration with the U4 partners on sustainability and the Green Office is active in the Green Offices learning network. The International Thematic Network on sustainability education provides an opportunity to learn from foreign experts in the field of sustainable higher education.

4. Quality education

Higher education is considered an important catalyst for sustainable development, in part through its educational activities. Forming 40,000 young people each year can and must reinforce the sustainability mind-set. That is why Ghent University wants to contribute to a sustainable society through education and make its students sufficiently familiar with social, ecological and economic sustainability issues and with possible solutions. Students can follow the multi-disciplinary, university-wide elective course ‘Sustainability Thinking’. This course focuses on the ‘Sustainability Thinking Studium Generale’ in which every year, a fairly specific yet alternating theme is unravelled through a multi- and trans-disciplinary approach. It has already handled ‘sustainable cities’, ‘sustainable food’, ‘sustainable economy’ and ‘sustainable consumption’. With a central innovation project, Ghent University wants to integrate sustainability in its complete range of education. A number of pilot programmes are being supported to further anchor sustainability in the curriculum. Based on self-analysis, a route is being worked out for further vision forming and development. A series of workshops and seminars should result in a programme-specific vision text on the integration of sustainability in the specific curriculum and in an action plan for its implementation. These pilot programmes must offer inspiration for comparative initiatives in other programmes and/or faculties. Through ‘Community Service Learning’ (CSL) Ghent University wants to focus attention on the relevance of social engagement in academic education. CSL is an innovative educational concept with the potential to renew educational practices and to offer solutions to the demand for socially relevant, future oriented and multiperspectivalist education. Students are considered to be ‘actors of social change’, in which, within their curriculum, they can provide a concrete contribution to (local) communities or social initiatives. They are confronted with real needs within society and are encouraged to critically consider their (future) role in society.

11. Sustainable cities and communities

Ghent University has an integrated mobility policy, whereby all campuses are easily accessible, the traffic safety is being increased and the environmental impact of staff and student movements reduced. To this end, the following strategic choices and objectives were prioritised: - The use of sustainable modes of transport for commuting traffic will have risen from 48% to 65% by 2020 and for the daily travel of students from 83% to 90%. - By 2020, every member of staff who cycles will have quality bike sheds at max. 2 minutes away and every car user will have a parking place at max. 15 minutes walking distance from the main entrance. - By 2020, every student who cycles will have a bike shed at max. 2 minutes walking distance from the main entrance. - By 2020, every commuter will have a stop for public or collective transport at max. 10 minutes walking distance from the main entrance. - With insufficient bike sheds, the priority is still to expand the storage capacity for bikes instead of having parking spaces for cars. The footpath and the existing greenery will be maintained as they are or compensated elsewhere. - When shaping the government’s policy objectives, we will work closely with the City of Ghent, De Lijn and other concerned parties on projects such as the layout of the cycle paths and intersections, separating traffic streams, shared parking and campaigns related to courtesy and traffic safety etc. - By 2020, the number of accidents to and from work will be halved. To achieve this, we are working on the basis of six principles: 1. Mobility coordination, such as involving mobility contact people from the faculties in operational policy, etc. 2. Mobility communication, such as giving mobility advice at intake interviews with new staff, etc. 3. Optimisation of the cycling infrastructure, such as providing showers and changing rooms and electric sockets etc. 4. Optimisation of work-related travel, such as sharing company cars, expanding the supply of company bikes and using a cycling courier service within the Ghent zone, etc. 5. Optimisation of the parking infrastructure, such as implementing a sustainable parking policy, etc. 6. Experimenting with sustainable mobility, re-designing the parking layout.

7. Affordable and clean energy

The sustainable energy policy plan of Ghent University pursues a reduction of 20% in the energy consumption by 2020 in relation to 1998. In this, an abstraction is made between the new-build projects realised after 2009. The energy consumption must be minimised for these recent projects, whereby we will generate the additional energy requirements ourselves, whether or not under our management. The energy policy and the specific policy tools and choices by Ghent University in relation to construction and renovation are well anchored in the building policy. The provision for sustainable energy measures is supplemented annually with proven savings, whereby investments can be made continually in cost-effective energy measures. Ghent University follows a renovation guideline, in which a number of minimum energy requirements are imposed on renovations. Moreover, with new builds and complete renovations, we aim for almost energy neutral buildings. Yet the positive progress towards the 2020 objective that has been achieved in previous years is again offset. The warm winters – and therefore less reliable corrections – play a role in this, but they are not the only reason. The energy consumption of the buildings continues to increase and, for the renovated buildings in particular, has a major impact. It is therefore time for a new step: infill and shared use. The tools to achieve this are central management and accountability for the use of the space (and energy). Additionally, there is often a lack of aftercare for the renovated/new buildings or installations. High-tech buildings and also the efficient operation of the numerous new installations (rainwater recuperation systems, heat pumps and solar boilers) require greater attention. Once a building or installation is operational, we must closely monitor the numerous parameters. The building and the installation must be continually adapted to the (changing) user profile and the users of the building.

12. Responsible consumption and production

Ghent University pursues a sustainable purchasing policy in which social, ecological and economic criteria are integrated in all phases of purchasing products and services. With new or renewed framework agreements, sustainability criteria are integrated where relevant. Good examples in 2014 and 2015 are the public procurement contracts for office materials (CO2 neutral with delivery in the Ghent area), coffee, tea and fruit juices (fair trade and compulsory purchases through the framework agreement) coffee machines, print work for educational publications and business travel (advice against air travel for short distances), giftshop of Ghent University. Besides to continu the integration of sustainability criteria in the purchase contracts (cleaning services, work uniforms, building materials, catering and stand construction, green maintainance, ...), there will be a screening of the whole current purchasing process, in order to formulate proposals for potential improvements. This analysis is necessary because of the decentral purchase policy that creates a lot of unnecassary transport.

13. Climate action

Ghent University decided to include sustainability criteria when investing its portfolio, which is valued at 230 million euros. The portfolio managers of Ghent University, spread over various banks, must present their sustainability funds to an ethics committee at Ghent University that will assess and possibly adjust the aspect of sustainability. Moreover, 10% of the total investment capital will be taken under our management and invested in specific funds in which Ghent University wishes to participate as they are closely aligned to the activities of Ghent University or in funds where the yield is subordinate to the ethical aspects.