Make your own student association more sustainable!

Are you member of a student association that does not have sustainability as its core activity, but does consider it important to preserve our planet? Then we have made an overview for you, with simple and practical tips that can help to minimize your ecological footprint.

The life of a board member is usually pretty intense. You are not only organizing cool activities, but also busy with writing a policy plan, meetings and other practical business. Precisely with these activities it’s often easy to take your environmental responsibility into account.

  • Print less and double sided:
    this will save paper and money!
  • Take your tablet or notebook to meetings
    Because honestly: does anyone ever read the paper agenda at home?
  • Separation of waste
    In most student cities you can drop your paper and glass waste separately, make sure that you separate these also at your office. Furthermore, many cities currently have plastic recycle bins as well: if these bins are in your city, make plastic separation part of you routine! The seperation ensures easier recycling.
  • Save energy
    Don’t forget to turn of the lights and heating when you leave the office! Sounds pretty straightforward, but after a few beers some of us tend to forget…
  • Choice of bank 
    Choose your bank consciously: Triodos and ASN bank are 100% sustainable, Rabobank is second best
  • Clothing
    With the choice of your board clothing you can consider the environment as well. Look for instance at organic cottons or the possibilities for leasing clothing.
  • Show your concern about the environment
    If you as a board show that you do your best to minimize your ecological footprint, many of your members and partners will follow your good example! Make sustainability part of your organization and organize a cool event with a sustainable touch!

Promotion is very important to keep your organization lively, once in a while you simply want to see some new faces! Nevertheless, promotion can often be done more sustainable, without a loss of results. Some points to consider are mentioned below.

  • Printing
    Quantity? Type of paper? Choice of printing company? Ecodrukkers is an example of a sustainable printer.
  • Online promotion 
    We all use social media as a promotion tool, but have you ever realized that this is also much more sustainable? Examine whether it is a viable option for you to save printing costs by doing even more promotion online.
  • Sustainable gifts 
    When giving a small gift as a way of thanking your members or relations, you can consider the environment as well. Often these type of gifts are also way more original! Look for instance in the shops of ‘Waar’ or in de Wereldwinkel and give a Tony Chocolonely instead of a box Merci.


There are a lot of sustainable activities you can organize, where sustainability is an aspect. The following examples can give you some ideas.

  • Food@farm
    You want to look around on a farm, and have a nice local sustainable dinner afterwards? You can do so with the JMA Food@farm program.
  • Beerbrewer Gulperner (Gulpen, Limburg)
    Could anything be more fun than tasting sustainable beer? Gulpener is the most sustainable beer from the Netherlands and organises different types of tasting workshops.
  • Greenkey
    Greenkey is a sustainability label for accomodations: if you want to get away for a few days.
  • Local initiatives
    Local initiatives can often be very fun indeed, while you save travelling costs. Less travelling is also good for the environment.


Drinks are an important part of every student association. Often it is possible to make this core event more sustainable.

  • Sustainable beer
    Choose Grolsch or Gulpener for a change!
  • Biological wine
  • Quantity of food
    Make a realistic estimate of how much food you need. If it appears to be too much anyway, invite your members to take some of it home. They will be happy because they get a free meal and you’re acting very sustainable!
  • Less meat
    Consciously serve less meat and offer vegetarian alternatives for the standard ‘’bitterbal’: vegetarian springrolls, cheese soufflés or mushroom croquettes.
  • Cups & plates
    Use hard plastic cups instead of disposable cups: they last much longer and are way cheaper in the end. Also, choosing paper plates instead of plastic ones is much less pressing for the environment.
  • Serve local and seasonal food
    Local and seasonal food can be a nice change to your regular choices. You can get it at a local farmer or supermarket. In this way, your food becomes food with a story!

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