Students & Campus
22 March 2021

Students Support a Week to Reflect and Act on Sustainability

Every spring, college students in 15 cities across Switzerland organise their respective Sustainability Week, which aims to make sustainability a focal point of Swiss higher education institutions. 

Students from the Environmental Committee have organised and promoted Sustainability Week Geneva's events at the Graduate Institute to ensure sustainability remains at the fore, even in the midst of an overwhelming global pandemic. 

What is Sustainability Week Geneva and why is it important?
Every spring, college students in 15 cities across Switzerland organise their respective Sustainability Weeks to share knowledge, connect with other ecologically impassioned individuals and push for action. The main goal of Sustainability Week is to promote sustainability at Swiss institutions, in the local communities, and worldwide. Sustainability Week brings together students, practitioners and people in the local community to understand ways to shift to sustainable solutions in the face of the climate crisis, which impacts all sectors of society and many aspects of our lives. 

With Marie-Laure Salles as the Institute’s new Director, students are being encouraged to push for a stronger approach to sustainability challenges, from working towards carbon neutrality and other green initiatives. Sustainability Week Geneva and all of the other Sustainability Weeks across Switzerland will offer interactive panels and online events to help students feel empowered and help them understand why it is necessary for our generation to take immediate, ambitious action on climate.
How has the Environmental Committee supported Sustainability Week?
The Environmental Committee has taken on the task of organising and managing three days of Geneva’s Sustainability Week - from Wednesday 22 March through Friday 26 March. This year, we are also humbled and excited to be the hosts of the National Opening Ceremony, which will kick off Sustainability Weeks across Switzerland! The EC has approached the curation of the opening event and main week’s events with the mindset that sustainability is an issue of equity and justice; we’ve tried to connect most of our Sustainability Week Geneva events to that central thought in some way. 
In addition, remaining cognizant of the fact that sustainability is intersectional and interdisciplinary, our Sustainability Week will involve collaborations with other Graduate Institute initiatives (including LANI, SIA, Black Conversations, the Water Initiative, and the Professional Development Committee), as well as the Institute’s Career Services and Alumni Office, and the local activist group Extinction Rebellion (XR).
What are some issues you are particularly looking forward to covering this year? 
This year, the Graduate Institute’s events will cover many environmentally-oriented issues through the lenses of environmental justice and equity. Our topics include Bhutan’s gross national happiness; Ecocide; environmental racism; confronting equity in sustainability; corporate sustainability; creating climate policy via citizen’s assemblies; reducing food waste; the effects of global climate inaction on agrarian livelihoods in the Global South; pathways to achieve the SDGs; sustainable food systems; a virtual Art Exhibition; and an online career fair.
Are there any outcomes you expect to see as a result of Sustainability Week?
Our events offer concrete tools on how to advocate for long-lasting, equitable sustainability in schools, organisations, professional and personal communities, and we hope participants will make good use of them. 
In the spirit of intersectionality, we hope our events will engage people from various walks of life across Geneva - not just students and young professionals, but anybody and everybody interested in learning more about how to promote sustainability solutions. And since this will be the first-ever entirely online iteration of Sustainability Week Geneva for the Graduate Institute, we look forward to passing on tips and tricks to our successors to make Sustainability Week Geneva 2022 an even bigger success! 

Discover the programme of events at the Graduate Institute for Sustainability Week Geneva

Find out more information about Sustainability Week Geneva's events