The commitment is steady, the time and energy vary. This is how the activities of Science Students for Sustainability (SciSS) can be summarised. Now the students are trying to breathe new life into the association.
They want to do a lot of fun things to boost student interest in sustainability.
“In addition to swap-your-clothes days and inspirational lectures, perhaps film nights and collaboration on urban farming”, says Gabriella Christenson, who wants to get more students interested in working on sustainability issues.
Gabriella is in her second semester of the environmental science programme. In addition, she is a UN Development Programme communications officer participating in UN efforts to spread knowledge about the sustainable development goals, is part of a UN environmental team and has worked as a volunteer with the SPIRA Science labour market fair.
But science students are always interested in sustainability, right? Is an association necessary?
“Yes!” exclaims Gabriella. “It’s not enough to have an interest. To bring about change, you have to take the step from being interested to getting involved. And together we are stronger.”
For many of the initiators of SciSS, there hasn’t really been enough time, but now they’re hoping for a fresh start.
“Most of us are environmental scientists and would like to also involve other natural scientists, such as chemists, biologists and geologists, who can bring in new perspectives and diversity”, says Christopher Magnusson, who helped start the association in 2015. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences, he’s now studying for a master’s in biology.
The first thing the association did was a “barbrescue”, a barbecue with products that shops were going to discard. Since then there have been seminars, a book club and most recently a well-attended swap-your-clothes day.
“It’s important to have this sort of forum for students. We can both help the faculty with sustainability work and learn more about sustainability in everyday life”, says Christopher.
In the quest to develop the association, there really are no restrictions, except money.
“We could go on a trip, pick up trash, work with urban farming, collaborate with companies, give lectures at schools – there’s no limit to what can be done”, says Gabriella. “Many have climate anxiety and don’t really know what they can do. So it’s good for students to come together and feel that they make a difference.”
Both Gabriella and Christopher think it’s also good for their future careers to combine theoretical knowledge with practical activities.
“It would be great if the association can serve as a hub for all sorts of initiatives and ideas from its members. It really is uplifting when it goes well”, says Christopher.