Masaryk University has long been committed to constructing new buildings and renovating old ones in an environmentally friendly manner. For example, the University Campus Bohunice uses swales that capture rainwater and allow some of it to evaporate, so that only one to two-thirds of the overall rainfall enters the sewage system.
Selected sustainable development facts
More active participation of students in drafting the university strategy for 2021–2027, which should place greater emphasis on environmental protection and sustainable development, is one of the outcomes of the meeting between the students and staff who signed the “Universities for the Climate” petition and the Masaryk University leadership on Tuesday. Students can promote their suggestions for the Masaryk University Strategic Plan for 2021–2027 through student senators, who are members of the working groups drafting the document.
“We really appreciate the fact that at our university, we can openly talk about social responsibility, environmental protection and sustainable development and discuss it directly with the leadership,” says Jan Zálešák from the MU Faculty of Medicine, who also signed the petition. According to Břetislav Dančák, vice-rector and authorised representative of the rector, who led the negotiations, the university should contribute to the debate primarily through expert reports from the university departments that specialise in this topic, such as the RECETOX centre at the MU Faculty of Science.
MU Bursar Marta Valešová noted that the university is already practising a responsible approach to the environment and society in its everyday operations. MUNI uses renewable sources of energy and energy management in facility management, in the construction of the new buildings on the University Campus Bohunice and when renovating its historic buildings in the city centre. The university works on achieving low energy consumption in its buildings, while some buildings feature green roofs and rainwater retaining systems. “Waste separation, recycling and reducing the consumption of paper through digitalisation is now a matter of course,” says Valešová, adding that although some of the environmentally friendly measures are not well known, they have already become a regular part of the university’s operations.
“If the university had a single place where students could ask questions and submit their suggestions in this area, such as a sustainable development committee at each faculty, it would help raise awareness and put ideas and projects into practice,” suggests Vendula Svobodová from the MU Faculty of Science, adding: “It is important for us that we are leaving this meeting with a promise of being able to participate in the strategic plan working groups and with the university leadership’s positive attitude to the sustainability committees. They said that they have a legitimate reason to be created, so there is space for them”.
Creating a framework for further principles of social responsibility and sharing experience in this area across the university will be one of the objectives of the Masaryk University Strategy for 2021–2027. With both staff and students across the university currently developing this strategy, it should be ready next year.