Starting in 2012, the SustainaBul (which is a pun, as a ‘bul’ is the degree you receive when graduating from university) has ranked the extent to which Dutch higher education institutions are sustainable. The event is annually organized by Morgen. When participating, the institutions have to fill out a questionnaire to assess the sustainability level of their research, education, business management and integral approach. With the SustainaBul, Morgen aims to bring about a further increase in sustainability within higher education in the Netherlands. This is being done by stimulating due to the competitive element, but also by sharing knowledge gained in the past. In this way, Morgen aims make the Dutch education sector in its entirety more sustainable. Good education is crucial for a more sustainable society.
Through the years, the SustainaBul has grown into the biggest project Morgen organizes and is unique in its sort. This type and scale of classification cannot be found any place elsewhere in the world, completely initiated and voluntarily executed by students. From this unique position, the SustainaBul is set to contribute further to making Dutch higher education increasingly more sustainable.
SustainaBul Coordinator: Anne-Lotte Boudeling
Hi! My name is Anne-Lotte Boudeling and in the coming months I will help coordinate the SustainaBul 2019. Four years ago I started my bachelor studies Future Planet Studies. Now I am writing a thesis for my Master’s degree in Organic Agriculture in Wageningen. Whether you as a student choose a career in sustainability or not, I think it is important that future students can make an informed choice in choosing a university. Especially now a new generation is growing with the belief that sustainability is becoming increasingly important, there is the possibility to send a clear signal to educational institutions to make them more sustainable. The SustainaBul promotes this transition and makes the change process transparent. I think it is really nice that I can now contribute to this process!
How does it work?
All participating institutions fill out a questionnaire for the SustainaBul. To every given answer, the institution provides a policy document or different kind of proof to substantiate the given answer. The next step is that volunteers, called ‘rankers’, will check the answers given by the institution. The rankers will provide the institution with feedback and will assign a corresponding number of points. After this, the education institutions will be given one last chance to improve their answers and before the definitive ranking will be created. This list of ranked institutions is annually announced on the NDDHO, the national day of sustainability in higher education. This year the NDDHO will be held at Avans University of Applied Sciences in Den Bosch on May 24 2019. On this page you can find more information about the event or you can sign up yourself!
SustainaBul winners 2012-2019
The SustainaBul of 2019 had 18 participants, of which 10 universities and 8 Universities of Applied Sciences. Unlike in past years, not the institution with the highest number of points on the ranking, but the institution who contributed the greatest best practice, won the SustainaBul of 2019. By doing this, Studenten voor Morgen listens to the wish of the higher education institutions who had indicated that they wanted to learn from each other and preferred a focus on sharing their knowledge instead of focusing on the competition element. And the greatest best practice from which other institutions can learn a lot, was sent in by the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) this year.
TU/e winner SustainaBul 2019
In collaboration with Team Solid, the TU/e is researching the use of iron powder as a green and even circular energy source for the university. The expert jury, consisting of Rachel Heijne (Director VVM (Association for Environmental Professionals) and council member of GroenLinks in Utrecht), Ron Hendriks (managing director at Van Beek engineers) and Kimberly Roersma (founder/director at Mother Nature Cleans and part of the Sustainable Young top 100), became really excited about the iron powder initiative from TU/e. But besides the TU/e, the WUR (Wageningen University and Research) also impressed the expert jury with its ‘Campus as a Living Lab’ best practice, within which the WUR uses its own campus as part of their research projects and thereby facilitating innovative projects that link to the domain within which the WUR does research and provides education. Thus, this practice managed to get them the second place within the best practices league. Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, who offers a course to both students and lecturers that eventually puts knowledge regarding sustainability into practical ideas to make the university more sustainable, managed to get themselves a third place in the best practices league.
Picture by Vera Duivenvoorden
Ranking SustainaBul 2019
Despite of the focus on integral best practices this year, the original ranking will of course sustain. The rankersteam consisting of 15 voluntary students concluded that this year the WUR (Wageningen University and Research) was the most sustainable higher education institution of the Netherlands. The results of the ranking can be seen below.