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About us Profile Facts and figures Sustainability About the Green Office

About the Green Office

The Green Office will celebrate its tenth anniversary in 2024. In recent years, the role of the Green Office has changed dramatically and sustainability has taken a prominent place within the University. Sustainability is one of the core values ​​of the University of Groningen, as stated in the Strategic Plan. The theme is reflected in education & research and is of great importance for the University's business operations.


The Green Office coordinates and initiates activities for the sustainable development of the University and is the author of the UG's sustainability policy (Sustainability Roadmap 2021-2026). The working method is based on (new) legislation in the field of sustainability, the Netherlands Climate Agreement, the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations and local agreements such as the Groningen Agreement.

The Green Office leads the University's sustainable agenda from an advisory, boosting and policy role. The Green Office also has a networking function, both within and outside the organization, and thus connects academics, students, services and external parties. The Green Office team initiates and coordinates a wide range of sustainability projects, often in collaboration with various stakeholders within and outside the organization. The Green Office is advised and monitored by the Sustainability Sounding Board.

To ensure that the UG maintains and promotes its sustainable image, the Green Office is responsible for annually participating in (international) rankings, organizing events and distributing information.

The Green Office team is managed by the Sustainability Programme Manager and supported by student assistants.

Origin of the Green Office

Before the Green Office was created, there was an Environmental Sounding Board Group within the UG (1996) and later, from 2010, a UG Sustainability Steering Group. In 2010, the priority was to focus on sustainable energy (in business operations and as a theme for education & research) and to profile the UG as a sustainable university. A policy vision was drawn up on behalf of the Board of the University to achieve this. Following this, the current Sustainability Programme Manager was appointed at the end of 2013. In August 2014, the Green University Task Group was appointed by the Board, and the Green Office was established at the same time.

The Green Office started as a student-run team (much like Green Offices at other universities), tasked with coordinating and facilitating activities and projects related to sustainability. The funding for both the Green Office and the Green University Task Group initially ran until 2020. The UG's motto in the field of sustainability for that period was 'From following (2015) to leading in 2020'.

The way the Green Office functions has changed drastically over the past ten years. Firstly, after the first roadmap period, the Green University Task Group continued together with the student team under one name as the Green Office. Secondly, both the scope and impact of the projects and policies that the Green Office works on have increasingly grown, and sustainability has been anchored as a value in the organization.

In 2020, the programme budget for the Green Office was again allocated for the period of the current Sustainability Roadmap, which runs from 2021 to 2026. In this roadmap, the ambition is 'Sustainability in the DNA of the University'. In line with the new Strategic Plan, a new Roadmap will be drawn up for the period 2025-2030.

From 2014 to 2022, the Green Office was part of the AMD (Arbo, Environment and Sustainability service).

Current position and organization of Green Office

Since the restructuring of University Services (formerly the Bureau of the University), the Green Office has been part of the Campus & Community cluster, with the programme manager hierarchically reporting to the cluster director. The staff and student assistants of the Green Office fall under the Cluster Support team (also part of the Campus & Community cluster). In terms of content and daily practice, the team of four employees (3.2 FTE) is managed by the Sustainability Programme Manager (1.0 FTE). The six student assistants (1.5 FTE) are managed by the Green Office Coordinator.

Organization chart of the Green Office

In addition to their regular tasks, all Green Office staff regularly initiate new projects and are involved in UG-wide developments. This could include tenders, policy formation or organizing meetings.

Collaboration and partners

Within the Campus & Community cluster, there is cooperation in the field of business operations and tenders. However, the Green Office also collaborates with other clusters, services and faculties on various themes, such as education & research, student participation, making laboratories more sustainable and RUG-wide communication. Outside the UG, the Green Office collaborates with other universities, the municipality, the province and regional and international partners, such as ENLIGHT and the Guild network.

Because the Green Office works closely with academics, student assistants and interns, and offers the opportunity for research projects in the form of Living Labs, there is room for critical and new perspectives and the emergence of original ideas.

The Green Office and student participation

The Green Office offers students the opportunity to commit to sustainability by conducting research in Living Labs (Master and Bachelor). For example, in 2023, 21 projects were carried out: 5 Honors projects, 5 Bachelor's theses, 1 Master's thesis, 4 group assignments, 4 internships, 1 full course and 1 employee survey.

Students can also join the growing Green Ambassadors network. The Green Office also offers subsidies and a label program for making student organizations more sustainable. By the end of 2023, more than 170 students were actively involved in making the RUG more sustainable through the Green Office Ambassador Programme. In the academic year 2022-2023, 41 associations participated in the label program and 41 associations applied for a sustainability subsidy.

Last modified:22 February 2024 1.30 p.m.
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