PLUS Green Campus Mission Statement of the Rector of the University of Salzburg
Universities have a vital impact on society in two ways: on the one hand, they educate young people to prepare them for the challenges of the future and are thus of utmost importance for the further development of our society on an international, national and regional level. On the other hand, universities in Austria, as stated in paragraph 1 of the Universities Bill 2002, are called upon to “contribute to the solution of the problems of mankind as well as to the prosperous development of society and the natural environment”.
Sustainability is currently on everyone’s lips. This is not only about the already occurring “man-made” climate change, but also about the preservation and protection of our environment. The claim of the Paris-Lodron-University Salzburg (PLUS) to protect the environment goes beyond purely legal requirements. Just as the University of Salzburg aims to achieve excellence in research and teaching, it also wants to be a role model in the ecological field. To this end, the PLUS has not only a legal, but also a high self-imposed moral obligation.
The University of Salzburg is already fulfilling this responsibility by voluntarily joining the EMAS (Eco Management and Audit Scheme) regulation of the EU. This means that its buildings as well as its operations are subject to annual external audits in an environmental management system that meets high standards. In addition, there are also offerings and initiatives in teaching and research that correspond to the core tasks of a university. The supplementary study program Climate Change and Sustainability invites students of all disciplines to deal more intensively with the topic. Approximately 50 researchers have joined forces in the “Climate Change and Sustainability Research Network PLUS” to further advance research in this area.
With the appointment of a Vice Rector for “Research and Sustainability”, I have not only set an example of the importance that my rectorate attaches to sustainability, but I also want to express that our university is unreservedly oriented towards sustainable action in its activities. A strong partnership with the state of Salzburg within the framework of its climate and energy strategy “Salzburg 2050” also shows how a sustainable path can be taken jointly by the university and the state of Salzburg. However, sustainable working and studying at the University of Salzburg can only succeed if all members of the university – staff and students alike – implement this new lifestyle in their everyday lives.
Therefore, I would like to cordially invite you and all members of the University of Salzburg to join the many people already acting sustainably at our university. Let us all work together in the “PLUS Green Campus” project to further transform our university into an even more sustainable university and also to become a role model and multiplier for an environmentally friendly future of our society.
Prof. Dr. Hendrik Lehnert
Rector of the Paris Lodron University Salzburg
Photo credit: Scheinast