Sustainability at the KU

The Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt follows a Whole Institution Approach and conforms to the guiding principle of sustainability in six fields of action.
The comprehensive sustainability concept 2020-2030, adopted in 2020, expands on the first concept from 2010 and now outlines the development goals until 2030.
The KU endeavors to establish an education for sustainable development. This requires research and teaching to be linked closely, and can only be truly successful and credible if the entire University campus itself is actively committed to sustainable development.
Many of our students and employees are committed to the sustainable development of the University and society in general. In this way they contribute to a sustainability transfer. The networking activities of KU members also play an important role here.
The framework for the annual measures to be implemented for sustainable development at the KU is provided by the sustainability program in accordance with EMASplus.

For us at the KU, sustainable development means an ecologically, economically and socioculturally balanced development that takes into account global and intergenerational fairness. In this context, we are committed to the objective of a strong sustainability, because we consider natural resources to be the basic prerequisite for all other fields of development.

Fields of action of the overall sustainability concept of the KU

The KU understands sustainable development as across-cutting task in the following six fields of action:

Research | TeachingCampus managementGovernanceTransfer | Student initiatives & commitment

 

Research

At the KU, many scientists from different subject areas can be found working in a disciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary way on sustainable development issues. Since 2021 these activities are being further intensified by the KU.Sustainability Research Lab. The research projects cover the topics of ethics, economics, environment, social issues and justice. Our research on sustainability at the KU wants to make a difference by generating knowledge for a sustainable development. In this way we want to support an environmentally and socially compatible change in society - the great transformation. It is thus in line with the goals of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ and with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations’ agenda for 2030.

The results that scientists have achieved in their research will then become available to students as scientists incorporate them into their classes in an interdisciplinary approach. Teaching is one of our action areas. Here you can get an overview of degree programs and modules that are relevant to the topic of sustainability.

Teaching, Studies, professional development and continuing education

As early as 2010, the KU has started to pursue the goal of making education for sustainable development a constitutive element of the University.
Within the teaching practice, it is the universities’ task to promote the acquisition of knowledge and skills that allow students to understand sustainability in all its aspects. They should learn to recognize and assess challenges along the way towards sustainable development. This will enable them to act responsibly in their future lives and careers (“Education for sustainable development”).
In this context, specialist knowledge must couple with communicative skills to achieve participatory decision-making and problem-solving competence in students. Connecting the fields of research and teaching as well as disciplinary and interdisciplinary classes is of crucial importance in this respect.

Studies

There are three Master’s degree programs that are pertinent to sustainability: (Education for Sustainable Development, Tourism and Sustainable Regional Development, and Flight, Migration, Society). In addition, modules on sustainability can be found in Studium.Pro and various other degree programs. The KU’s supplementary studies have also included “Sustainable Development” since 2019. This lets students deal in depth with topics of the future, such as climate change, flight, global injustice, digitalization, globalization and biodiversity all the while pursuing a main degree program. 

Since 2014, we have awarded an annual sustainability prize for student theses that deal with the topic of sustainability.

Continuing education and professional training

2018 a network of schools in the region has sprung up. This growing group is made up of schools that want to make a difference. The continual efforts of these schools are supported by the network “Schule im Aufbruch Bayern”, that was founded in 2020. Its aim is to transform schools in a way to ensure their orientation towards the principles of sustainability and an education for sustainable development. 
In addition, the KU offers the professional training certificate “Sustainable Education at Catholic Schools based on the Marchtaler Plan“. This continuing education certificate is particularly aimed at teachers of member schools of the Katholisches Schulwerk. The training takes place at explicitly designated learning sites for sustainability.
In addition, the KU offers professional training as part of education for sustainable development for university lecturers, teachers and school administration.

Campus management

The Whole Institution Approach envisages universities to be guided by the principle of sustainability in their inner and outer organization. In accordance with the ESD, studies and work are to take place in sustainable (learning) spaces.
Energy efficient university buildings, saving of energy, effective resource management, climate neutrality as far as possible, extensive use of public transportation and consideration of principles of fair trade during procurement measures are areas, in which universities, who have at their command large campuses, can prove to be true pacemakers.

Each year, the steering group „Nachhaltigkeit & fairer Handel“ (sustainability and fair trade) draws up measures for the next sustainability program to bring the KU closer to the goal of a sustainable university. 

In 2015, the KU was certified by EMAS for the first time and in 2019 it was the first German university to be granted the EMASplus certificate. Besides ecological aspects, this label also takes into account business ethical values and corporate responsibility. Thus the KU has reached a new self image of a sustainable organization, which continues to develop while recognizing ecological and humanitarian boundaries. In this way it sets a firm foundation for working towards the common good.

Governance

The basis for a sustainable university development is a supportive governance structure within the University.
All university activities should be based on the guiding sustainability principles in all six fields of action. The University Management is in the process of setting up a target-oriented control system and institutionalizing sustainability by allocating clear responsibilities and process descriptions to integrate sustainable development as a strategic task that has an impact on all internal processes and structures and the core pillars of research and teaching.

Responsibilities in the area of governance

The Vice President for International Affairs and Profile Development, Prof. Dr. Klaus Stüwe, is responsible for the area of "Sustainability" within the presidium. He is in contact with the sustainability officer of the KU, Prof. Dr. Anne-Kathrin Lindau, as well as the sustainability coordinator and the campus environmental manager. The steering group "Sustainability & Fair Trade" is composed of representatives of the administration, staff departments, centers, institutions, faculties and students and actively shapes sustainable development at the KU, for example by developing and implementing measures in the annual sustainability program.

Since 2020, both KU campuses have a Green Office - Sustainability Office. This provides a hub for all KU employees involved in sustainability as well as the population of Eichstätt, Ingolstadt and Region 10. (Green Office Eichstätt (Ostenstraße 11, 85072 Eichstätt), Green Office Ingolstadt (part of the building Wissenschaftsgallerie, Ludwigstr. 39, 85049 Ingolstadt)

Sustainability concept as a steering system and annual sustainability program

Since 2010 we have had a sustainability concept that we have updated and extended with additional fields of action. The sustainability concept 2020-2030 defines the KU’s development goals up to the year 2030. These are closely linked to the holistic sustainability management of the KU (according to EMASplus since 2019, according to EMAS since 2015). Im Rahmen der EMAS-Zertifizierung werden von der Steuerungsgruppe jährliche Maßnahmen für das Nachhaltigkeitsprogramm formuliert und durch interne und externe Audits die Fortentwicklung der KU überprüft.

Sustainability reporting

Since 2012 the KU issues a yearly sustainability report. To our knowledge we are the only university in Germany doing this to such a degree.

Transfer of sustainability

Making a contribution to a more sustainable society - this is one goal that motivates scientists, students, groups, civil society groups, municipalities and businesses. They all profit from the cooperation on common projects. In addition to the usual missions of research and teaching, is what is called the transfer or „third mission“ of a university.

The KU sees transfer as a reciprocal exchange of knowledge, ideas and experiences between the KU and external partners. In keeping with this, all transfer activities that make a contribution towards sustainable development are considered as sustainability transfer.

In recent years, the KU has more and more become a university committed to the community in which it operates. It is part of the cluster “Nachhaltige Entwicklung” within the alliance for innovation “Mensch in Bewegung” and cooperates with regional networks (e.g. Hochschule und Nachhaltigkeit Bayern, IN-Zukunft - Nachhaltigkeitsnetzwerk Ingolstadt, fairEInt - Initiative nachhaltige Region Eichstätt, Schule im Aufbruch Bayern).

The KU is also involved in the global program UNIVERSITATE. This is a program for the promotion of Service Learning offers at Catholic universities. The program aims at the widespread and systematic institutionalization of Service Learning classes at universities. It endeavors to integrate young people more strongly into working on a solution for the big social issues of our time. As agents of social change, they can gain competencies in this program that will help them to campaign for a better society in the spirit of the social doctrine of the Church. In this, the KU acts as a regional hub for partner organizations in Central and Eastern Europe and in the Middle East. The KU was chosen together with further six international catholic universities, to establish a regional center and to take the cooperation with other catholic universities to the next level.

Student commitment and initiatives

When it comes to setting the KU on its path towards a sustainable university or to speed it up on its way, student commitment and initiatives play an important role. Human Rights Day, the environment lecture series, the clothing swap, Culture Kitchen and Sustainability Week, which is organized annually by several different initiatives are all events worth mentioning. This commitment enables students to gain important practice-oriented skills. Not least due to its overwhelming student commitment, the KU is one of the foremost universities when it comes to implementing the Whole Institution Approach for sustainable development. Strongly committed to sustainability are the following student initiatives: Umweltreferat, DenkNachhaltig! e.V., Students For Future, Kapuzinergarten Eden, Amnesty International, Foodsharing and the Grüne Hochschulgruppe. In the Green Office – the KU’s sustainability office and other places, students have the chance to co-work and co-decide.