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Sustainability initiatives for students

How to get involved in sustainability? Read more about four projects that Leiden University helped realise in the past few years.

  1. Kennisatelier Duurzaamheid
  2. Sustainable Business Battle
  3. Learning with the city
  4. Sustainability and Law lecture series
  5. Interdisciplinary Thesis Labs

1) Kennisatelier Duurzaamheid

At the beginning of 2018, Leiden University and the programme team Sustainability of the Municipality of Leiden, together with the Municipality of The Hague, established the Kennisatelier Duurzaamheid (Knowledge Studio on Sustainability).

Within this studio, master's students from the Industrial Ecology programme will work for the municipality(s) on issues relating to energy transition, climate adaptation and the circular economy. In 2020, they investigated whether the municipality of Leiden could build enough houses by 2030 while using half as many materials.

2) Sustainable Business Battle

In April 2020, the Sustainable Business Battle took place again, but in a different format, namely as a panel discussion. This year, the organisation focused on Sustainable Development Goal number 12: Responsible Consumption and Production.

The central question in the discussion was how participants can encourage people to make positive changes and be more innovative, both within their own organisation and beyond. The areas in which changes could take place were very diverse, ranging from the use of raw materials to consumer awareness.

Finalists of the Sustainable Business Battle 2018. The fifth edition of the Battle will take place in 2021.

3) Learning with the city

The initiative Leren met de Stad (Learning with the City) is a Leiden platform for concrete and structural cooperation between the university, Hogeschool Leiden, the municipality of Leiden and PLNT (the Leiden centre for innovation and entrepreneurship). The aim of Leren met de Stad is to make better use of the available knowledge to solve complex social problems, including sustainability issues. Students are given the opportunity to apply their knowledge and experience to sustainability issues. 

4) Sustainability and Law Lecture series

In 2020, the Faculty of Law organised for the second time a six-part lecture series on 'Sustainability and Law'. In addition, the faculty offered a summer course on international law and climate change. Forty participants from, among others, Vanuatu (Oceania), London and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, followed various online lectures.

5) Interdisciplinary thesis labs

The Interdisciplinary Thesis labs enables students to work together with a team of 9 Leiden-Delft-Erasmus universities students on a sustainability challenge set by an external organization. The students work on their individual thesis and follow a half year lab program which consists of 12 bi-weekly sessions in which the students gain insight into the interdisciplinary context of the challenge and how they can contribute to this challenge as a young leader. For more information check out the website.

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