Newsletter: December 2020

Welcome to the December edition of our newsletter!

In this final newsletter of the year you can get a glimpse into what 2020 was like at oikos International. We also share the results from the Legislative Meeting last month with the new Board and sum up impressions from NexGenLead. This month we feature some activities of oikos chapters from Graz, Hong Kong, Lisbon and Vienna along with opportunities in the oikos International Working Groups.

The latest oikos Alumni Portrait has taken a new format starting this month and we also announce the new cohort of the LEAP Advanced Program and oikos Academy in spring of next year. We also feature the SDG Accord Report for 2020, of which oikos is a signatory.

Finally we would like to thank all of our readers, members, alumni, partners and supporters for another exciting year behind us and wish you all the best in the year to come!

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oikos International

posted December 24, 2020

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2020 at oikos International: A Year in Review

As 2020 comes to an end we take a look back at everything that’s happened in the oikos Community in one of the most challenging and unusual years for oikos. It’s a very significant year for us as it showed our organization’s ability to adapt to the new challenges in a short time, the resilience and togetherness of our community in the toughest circumstances to always keep creating positive impacts by embedding sustainability in education, work and day to day life. In many events we attended we noticed the willingness of various stakeholders to collaborate with youth. Those words have been already followed up by actions, since we have been as solicited as never before to represent the youth in various events across the globe. In this article, we will be reviewing the year chronologically and highlighting the most important moments and highlights of the last twelve months.


The first month of the year was pretty busy and full of action, perhaps indicative of what 2020 would look like at oikos International. The year started off with the new oikos International Board meeting for their first Strategy Meeting in Oberentfelden, Switzerland in the early days of January. It was this meeting that prepared and set in motion the strategy for the year ahead. It was followed by the ESCP Conference on Sustainable Innovation, where we were joined by a few oikos chapters in the event co-hosted by oikos Berlin. oikos International President Clementine Robert represented the organization with her speech, as the Curriculum Change team would go on to host a workshop – the first of many Curriculum Change sessions to follow this year. Finally, maybe the biggest highlight of the month and even the year was the launch of Positive Impact Rating (PIR) at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The new type of rating, conducted by students and for students, was launched after two years in the making during Deans’ multi-stakeholder Discussion On the Future of Business Schools Rankings and Ratings. The event saw the first ever PIR Report, presented by our President, with 51 business schools participating in the rating.

ESCP COnference in Berlin


We maintained the same tempo going into February. oikos International was once again represented by the president at the Integrating Sustainability into Business Education panel discussion organized by AMBA at the Imperial College in London. Joined by business schools’ leaders from around Europe, oikos was invited to bring in the youth perspective on the topic. This month we also launched the first ever oikos In Residence, taking place in Basel, Switzerland. An entirely new format initiated by our Curriculum Change team brought together a team of representatives from oikos chapters, oikos International, and Rethinking Economics to discuss the relevance of a re-envisioning of what is taught in typical business bachelors programs. February also saw the creation of the oikos MOOC Library – with the purpose of making a wide variety of Massive Open Online Courses on sustainability offered across the globe easily accessible to our community by gathering and categorizing them in one place. This month oikos and Clementine Robert were featured in the FInancial Times article MBA students and employers demand ‘profitable solutions for people and planet’.


We started off the month with an oikos Leadership Program (LEAP) mid-term meeting in Munich, Germany for the 2019/2020 cohort. March was truly an unprecedented month in the history of oikos. The outbreak of the COVID19 pandemic by the end of the month meant it was no longer safe to host onsite events, forcing us to adjust some of the events originally planned for spring and shift them into an entirely online format. However, despite the difficult circumstances, our community persisted and showed its strength and togetherness, easily overcoming everything the situation can throw at us. Moving our activities online had brought us more together and with our experience of moving towards working fully digitally, March was the month of planning and adapting new to the format of our traditional events. With the situation developing some people wasted no time in creating initiatives to deal with it and we joined some of those people through GoodAfterCOVID19 initiative.

Leap Mid Term Meeting in Munich


By the end of March everything was set for an exciting month ahead which started off with the second edition of the oiConference: Developments in Finance and Sustainability. With the previous edition being also entirely online, even months before the pandemic, the organizing team now had a growing audience as most of the world had gone into lockdowns and were looking for new ways of learning and engaging from home. Similarly the second edition of the oikos Curriculum Academy, previously being part online-part onsite, became a fully online and interactive program. The three-day workshop gathered many students, early-career researchers and professors to explore collaborations for driving change towards sustainable curriculum. April featured truly an abundance of events which followed. The first online and ‘standalone’ Chapter Days took place independently from the Spring Meeting and saw the community get together to exchange and learn from each other. The Legislative Assembly followed, gathering oikos chapters to elect the new oikos International President and vote for the full status of oikos Bangalore. We also hosted the first virtual Alumni Weekend, gathering oikos Alumni from around the globe. And finally, the Spring Meeting 2020 on the topic of inclusive development was hosted by the oikos Baku (Azerbaijan) team, who went through great effort to shift one of the biggest events in the oikos calendar to the online format.

oikos Curriculum Academy on Zoom


Following the busy April, May was much more relaxed at oikos International. This is when we shifted our attention to local oikos chapters. The main focus was on the cross-chapter collaboration. Following the two chapters’ previous successful ventures, oikos Hong Kong decided to team up with oikos Suzhou in order to transform its flagship project Sustainability Impact Case Competition into an online event. That way, the two chapters would not just make it safer for participants, but also increase the project’s reach in the Greater China Region. Meanwhile in Austria on the other side of the globe, oikos Graz and oikos Vienna came together to organize a number of online events showcasing how chapter collaboration can bridge the distances and make greater impact.


This year marked the growth of our oikos International Team, with new faces stepping in throughout the year. But the most significant addition marked the forming of a dedicated Positive Impact Rating (PIR) Team. The PIR’s own team meant reaching a greater number of business schools with the rating and better use of it as a tool for improving business schools. Not long after, PIR was featured across two days at the Virtual PRME Global Forum contributing to the broader discussion about ways that universities can reimagine their sustainable impact through management education. Students played a central role in the discussion, with Clementine Robert, oikos International President, once again bringing the youth perspective and representing our organization.


As summer came, many around the world were under some sort of restrictions regarding public gatherings, so we decided to bring oikos In Residence to their own residences. The second edition for the year, oikos In (your) Residence was in many ways different to the one back in February. With five workshops spread out over two weeks we had a platform to analyse, brainstorm the methods and ways to implement curriculum change. This month we also launched the Alumni Hub to serve as the one place for everything about the oikos Alumni community and strengthen the community itself. In July we had a proud moment for our community as one of our chapter’s work had gained recognition to its university at the International Green Gown Awards.

Unconference in St. Gallen


In August we partnered with Goodwall on the Better Together – the five-week program, specifically designed to help young people prepare for the post-COVID-19 world of work. As the government measures slowly started to ease, near the end of August oikos Alumni community hosted The Unconference – both online and onsite – for the first time since the pandemic started. In safe conditions in line with the government rules, with participants’ health as the biggest priority, the team hosted twelve workshops over two days in St. Gallen, Switzerland. Our Team also participated in the writing of The SAGE Handbook of Responsible Management Learning and Education.


As the new semester started, Positive Impact Rating saw the launch of the 2021 edition of the rating, opening the registration which lasts until January 15. oikos Tbilisi hosted virtually the regional Central-Eastern European Meeting in September exploring the ways of transforming business and education. This month oikos International President Clementine Robert was once again featured in the Financial Times article Business schools learn to ‘do the right thing’ on sustainability, focusing on the changes business schools are undergoing as well as their growing concerns over environmental impact. 

oikos Tbilisi CEE Team


October was a busy month with preparations for the NexGenLead well underway. It is when we started hosting interviews by the program’s participants with responsible leaders from around the world. These interviews remain publicly available for everyone and you can explore them here. This month we also launched the oikos Alumni Impact – an entirely new segment on our website dedicated to the most inspiring stories showcasing the work and impact of our entrepreneurial Alumni in the world of sustainability. This month we were also represented at the Partners For New Economy(P4NE) Webinar by a member of the oikos Community.


In November we once again picked up the pace, starting off with NexGenLead – our flagship event for the year – the virtual program aimed at transforming students into responsible leaders. Over the course of three weeks participants from around the world and all walks of life joined the many sessions on responsible leadership and sustainability. This month concluded the oikos Case Writing Competition, with the three winning cases announced. Asian oikos chapters joined forces to organize the oikos Asia Meet online together. At the EAUC Virtual Conference we were represented, this time by a member of the community who chaired a panel discussion. By the end of the month we hosted another Chapter Days, followed by the Legislative Meeting where the oikos Community elected the new Board of oikos International for 2021. At the meeting oikos Hong Kong and oikos Lisbon were approved the full chapter status, with another oikos chapter in accession opening in Alexandria, Egypt

NexGenLead opening ceremony


With a new board chaired by the new oikos International President Sophie Charrois fully in office, we entered December as a fully remote organization. As the oikos International President – by then the only position that remained working at the physical office in St. Gallen – switched to working remotely, we finally closed the years long process of taking our work into the digital space. 

The year ahead

With this challenging, but fruitful year coming to an end we look forward to 2021 and what it has in store for us. 2020 gave us many things and brought about many changes in order to adapt to the new normal. We will take the learnings from it with us and make the best out of the next one and although we’ve had to adjust our plans for 2021 accordingly, we don’t plan on slowing down in pursuing the oikos Mission and Vision!

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oikos International

posted December 23, 2020

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NexGenLead: A new approach to virtual events

NexGenLead was the biggest project of oikos International this year. Organized in collaboration with swissnex Brazil, it was enabled by Movetia’s International Pilot Program. The initial idea was to organize a 3-week global virtual conference on Responsible Leadership in Economics and Management Education.

It was oikos innovative willingness to foster Leadership and Sustainability in education through an inclusive and low-carbon footprint event which would see us plan the virtual program long before the COVID19 pandemic. When the event was initially planned in an online format, no one could have imagined it would be a few months later that online events became the new normal. 

The overall project, including a fellowship and the promotion of academic knowledge exchange on sustainability through 2 webinars, has been conceived with the swissnex network, and more particularly with swissnex Brazil. It is a Swiss federal global network to exchange knowledge and ideas in science, education, research, and innovation. This collaboration aims to leverage oikos impact and to strengthen its presence across the globe.

NexGenLead Opening Ceremony

General context

Given that virtual conferences became a common trend in 2020, the organizing team wanted to try out different and innovative formats for this project, as the pilot project status allowed for new experiments. That’s how the Global Virtual Conference became NexGenLead.

Initially conceptualized by a team of four people, NexGenLead grew into a team of around 25 for its organization & implementation. As part of the program, more than 40 responsible leaders were interviewed. A total of 550 participants from over 70 countries had the possibility to participate in different ways in NexGenLead, by watching interviews, participating in some of the 12 sessions, or contributing to the discussions on different platforms.

The Program

The NexGenLead adopted the CARL framework and the Four-Fold Practice (FFP) to guide the program in terms of methodology, structure, and thematics. The FFP describes 4 practices that help people experience meaningful conversations, while CARL explores 5 core competencies for Responsible Leadership. CARL also offers an assessment to help both individuals and teams progress on those competencies by providing further materials to explore. Furthermore, we designed the program around it with each of the three weeks representing a stage of Responsible Leadership competencies: Being, Knowing, and Doing.
With this initial input from CARL, participants could create a common ground on Responsible Leadership and reflect on their own perspectives on the topic.

Several documents have been written as guides for participants which also aimed to empower them and give the full picture to adapt the program to their own needs better.

Facilitation Workshop

We kicked off with the opening ceremony introducing the program to participants, explaining the notions of Leadership & Sustainability, the program, and how the process can turn us into better Responsible Leaders.
The program was made up of several different sessions with innovative formats and approaches.

One of those was NexGenLead Connect – with the aim of connecting participants with each other. The facilitators guided participants in recognizing their most important values and offering them space to exchange with others. These deep and personal discussions focused on the inner-self, setting the ground for other sessions by igniting the Reflection on Responsible Leadership and promoting face-to-face discussions.

The NexGenLead café – participants had the opportunity to reflect on their own perspectives and share them with other participants. The reflecting questions took into account different levels of Leadership “backgrounds” and the competencies each participant would like to explore. With high diversity among facilitators, the participants could also learn from different facilitation styles.

The NexGenLead Interview show – As the interviews of Responsible Leaders were crucial for igniting discussions among participants, we initiated sessions to watch and discuss interviews to engage participants in more active participation. 

In the third week, focused on doing, we linked Leadership and Curriculum Change through some concrete activities and workshops prepared by the oikos International Curriculum Change team. It is an action that any student can start on their own, as it doesn’t need any particular physical material or budget to kickstart the reflection. However, it can be a difficult concept to grasp, so we shape the question: how to transform your own education?, as a way to introduce the concept of Curriculum Change.
One of the highlights of NexGenLead was the fishbowl – discussion constituted by participants of NexGenLead and students engaged in Curriculum Change, further strengthening the link between Leadership and Transforming Higher Education. Furthermore, some of the interviews were related to Transforming Higher Education, conducted with professors and students worldwide.  The Curriculum Change team also developed a material that you can use with your local group.

We closed the program with a ceremony that was shaped in a way to give participants the floor, with a twist ending – Mark Wade, one of those previously interviewed, became during the ceremony the interviewer spotlighting 3 young responsible leaders. This session was particularly shaped in a way to give participants space to share their voices – a perfect reflection of what the program was all about! Some participants could also express their learnings and take the role of facilitator or harvester during the session.
It was followed by a zoom party, where we could meet each other more personally through games, share our best dance moves, and even our musical talents.

NexGenLead Fishbowl


Not only was this program full of learnings to the participants, but also to all the team, as the format of this event was new to most of us. These are some main takeaways of this project: 

Virtual competition – in 2020, the offer of virtual events has massively increased. This could lead to both event competition or event fatigue. In a virtual setting, keeping the attendees engaged and manage their expectations became one of the biggest challenges, even more throughout a three-week program. That’s why NexGenLead attempted to try out new practices to provide a “real” experience. This included:

· different formats (interactive sessions, interviews, self-led discussions in Local & International hubs),
· varying timing for the sessions and having most of the content recorded,
· participants taking an active role, as interviewees, facilitators, harvesters, exchanging with peers
· new virtual tools in order to create a community and exchange directly with peers without the intervention of the organizers

NexGenLead aimed to give participants as much flexibility and choice as possible in order to adapt to their unique context. However, this could lead to choice overload and decision paralysis, where they get overwhelmed by options. Therefore, the program would aim to get simpler and specify an average workload in an eventual next edition.

Despite technology’s full presence in our lives, we also had to be mindful of the limitations of certain tools and the challenges participants face in attending sessions aimed to allow interactive participation despite them. Another challenge that arises from interactive sessions is to provide the right amount of facilitation and guidance. As a program on Responsible Leadership (and taking into consideration our capacity), our first aim was to let the participants shape their own experience and take the lead on exchanging with other participants. However, participants from different backgrounds expect more or less guidance and facilitation from organizers, which can be difficult to balance when having very different audiences. 

Considering that NexGenLead was a first-time event, having a new and diversified audience, more support would likely improve participants’ experience. There are also ideas to further engage the participants through previously assigned roles for each session. Something that remains to explore is event gamification. In a Responsible Leadership program, giving direct rewarding doesn’t always seem like the most honest way to prepare future leaders for real-life challenges or misrecognition. However, there are different ways of providing motivation and promoting collaboration over competition among the participants to explore.

Featuring participants as leaders at the NexGenLead Closing Ceremony

In the end, NexGenLead allowed many students to move forward on their Sustainable Leadership journey and grow within an international community. Curriculum Change was also addressed, giving students a clearer idea of how they can take ownership of their own education.

NexGenLead was only possible thanks to the oikos International management team and Board’s big effort, along with the amazing volunteers and oikos’ partners: swissnex Brazil and Movetia. A huge thank you to them and to the participants for joining us on this journey!

Next steps

If you would like to keep in touch with the NexGenLead community, join the Responsible Leadership squad.

The future of NexGenLead is still to be decided for next year. If you would like to participate in the reflection, please drop a message at

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oikos International

posted December 23, 2020

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Info Call: oikos LEAP Advanced Program

The oikos leadership program, LEAP Advanced Track, will have a new cohort starting in March 2021!  Don’t miss the opportunity to get to know more about this 9-months personal development journey with oikos members from all over the world. We will have two Info Calls on 20 Jan at 7:30 pm & 3 Feb at 2 pm CET. If you are interested in joining one of the calls, fill out this form and keeping you informed about this track.

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oikos International

posted December 22, 2020

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oikos Alumni Portrait: Pauline Krüger

We’re excited to share with you the first oikos Alumni Portrait in the video format!

Alumni VP for 2020 Zvezdana Vuletic sits down for a chat with Pauline (Sprenger) Krüger, an alumni from oikos Hamburg who talks us through her oikos Journey and her professional career in the sustainability department of Volkswagen afterwards.

In the Alumni Portrait our oikos alumni share their fascinating journeys. From the first time they recognized the need for more sustainability in their degree to their motivation to join oikos; from their first career plans to their everyday lives as agents of sustainable business and economics.

You can read past Alumni Portraits here.

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oikos International

posted December 21, 2020

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NexGenLead – A Volunteer Experience

The team behind our NexGenLead program is made out of so many devoted people who worked hard to make sure the project is a success. The contribution of our voluteers was especially valuable and today we bring you the testimony of Lauriane Dietrich – one of the volunteers who was a part of the project from the start and whose hard work made NexGenLead into reality.

When the pandemic hit back in March, I started like a lot of us to spend more time on social media. As part of oikos I had been following their social media and I found this announcement of a global virtual event that will later be called NexGenLead.

I reached out to Marcelo (the project leader), we had our first call and I embarked in this journey without even realizing everything that was going to happen. 

We started to work on my favorite part of project management, which is the brainstorming phase throughout the first sessions. We had a lot of interesting discussions about the format we wanted for the program. From the start were quite ambitious about the way we wanted it to be like. Early on, we used a few tools like Word Clouds to come up with the best name and the frame for the program: would it be a conference, a webinar, workshops maybe?

What I liked most about our discussions is that we started off as a small group in which everybody could offer their perspective. Though, at times, it felt that the project was really ambitious and that it would be hard for our small team to handle everything. Therefore, in summer we realized that we needed to change our approach. Since the idea was to make the program oikos’ flagship event for the autumn of 2020, the organizing team was expanded with the oikos International team.

And this is when everything changed. We went from a team of 4 people to a team of 23, with a better structure and clear deadlines and objectives. I was assigned to the communications team which was what I wanted to focus on. Though I missed having a full overview on the project, I deeply appreciated working with the communications team and going in details of the strategy and the content creation.

When we got really close to the opening ceremony of the program, we were in a bit of a rush. As project was about to kick-off we had quite a few last-minute tasks that popped up that we needed to cover. I ended up spending much more time volunteering than I originally planned and took on some roles I wouldn’t have expected to take. I had the chance to interview two responsible leaders, and to work on video editing for social media. I had a lot of great opportunities to grow my skills and to take on various responsibilities. But to be honest it was also the most frustrating part, if you are reading this and you have already organized an event, you know what I am talking about. A lot of things can go wrong at the last minute and lead to sudden panic. But I was impressed with the solidarity between the team members. Everybody was eager to help each other and make sure we would be able to meet the deadlines.

When the program started and I had the chance to be both an organizer and a participant in the program. I met a lot of passionate people and learned so much about myself thanks to tools like the Competency Assessment for Responsible Leadership test. This framework was used throughout the entire program and allowed us to see the progress we made. I had a lot of meaningful conversations with people I would have probably never had the chance to meet in real life. As NexGenLead was a pilot program we constantly monitored and reevaluated it, finding new innovative ideas to engage with the participants and ways of encouraging them to participate more actively. 

At the closing ceremony, I realized how many people we inspired with the program and the changes it brought the lives of students participating. Of course, there’s always room for improvement – we felt we could have had more participants, we could build better partnerships and could have created an even better program. But overall I felt this sensation of satisfaction! As the program ended, we want to keep the link with the community we created thanks to squad calls and hopefully we can look forward to the NexGenLead 2 some time in the future…

Being a volunteer for NexGenLead was my best decision of 2020! I learned about responsible leadership and I had the opportunity to interview inspiring individuals. I participated in the organization of a virtual event which was a first time for me. I already organized onsite event but never online and it is an experience that will, no doubt, benefit my resume. I also took on responsibilities by handling the Instagram account. It is an experience that will be useful in the future and for which I will learn from both the success and challenges we faced. 

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oikos International

posted December 18, 2020

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oikos Vienna at EAUC Virtual Global Climate Conference 2020

The EAUC Virtual Global Climate Conference in Education 2020 took place in November of this year featuring insights and debates from a number of high profile international speakers. Over the five day of powerfull talks, various sessions devled deeper into education issues, with an aim to foster understanding of how to educate and teach students and future generations to deliver change and bring support and care across our communities.

One of the speakers at the event was Liliia Akatova of oikos Vienna. Liliia represented her oikos chapter and the International network as the chair of the Transformational Student Engagement panel. Her role at the session gave her the opportunity to share the insights of transforming education at oikos Vienna. Lillia also notes that the diverse set of co-panelists from India, Tasmania and the UK proved to be a great learning opportunity about their sustainable achievements in their respective countries. “oikos Vienna is very inspiring”, wrote one of the session attendees in the chat as she was presenting. “This warming comment made me realise that every small action towards sustainability counts” – Liliia shares – “be it a Curriculum Change at one of the many business universities worldwide, a launch of the Green School to educate children in India, production of sustainable beer in Southampton, or a creation of a herb garden in Tasmania.”

EAUC is the alliance for sustainability leadership in education and oikos is proud to be a part of it, alongside it, also being a signatory of the Global Climate Letter initiated by EAUC.

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oikos International

posted December 10, 2020

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Students’ role in making their university a pioneer in sustainability – Sustainability Days at the University of Graz

Sustainability Days is a long-running annual project organized at the University of Graz by students in cooperation with oikos Graz and other organizations since 2016. This year it made it into the finals of the International Green Gown Awards, gaining recognition as a highly commended project. Starting off as an initiative by a group of students, over time gaining university’s support it grew into a significant project shaping the university into a recognized pioneer in sustainability. The Awards recognize exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges all over the world.

The Sustainability Days

The Sustainability Days of the University of Graz (Austria) is an event organized by students that takes place once a year to create awareness among other students, employees and university stakeholders on sustainability topics.
This year’s topic is How “Greta” is our University?, with the focus on encouraging the university to become a carbon-neutral institution by 2040. The programme offers a large variety of activities including a panel debate, do-it-yourself workshops and bicycle repair for free. An additional highlight is the Sustainability Design Thinking Challenge (SDTC) organized by the University of Graz, oikos Graz and SAP/SAP next-gen. It is a 3-day co-innovation competition for students who are guided by professional SAP  Design Thinking coaches. The interdisciplinary student teams develop sustainable ideas and solutions for practice-relevant questions. This year the SDTC was organized fully online.

Sustainability Days over the years

2016 – A group of proactive students decided to initiate a one-day event called Sustainability Day. They had some experience and a network due to their engagement at the local student union and the international student-led organization oikos. Financially they were supported by the student’s council.
2017 – Next year, the University of Graz itself came into play, supporting the group of engaged students and it came as no surprise that this initiative was of great advantage for both sides. The students were able to have better access to university services and infrastructure for the event. Further, they could now reach more students and other university stakeholders since they were acting on behalf of the university. What’s more, they had first-hand contacts to the rectorate and could express their wishes regarding sustainability goals on campus more accurately. Workshops, a panel discussion, research projects, bicycle repair, a fair with voluntary organizations and student initiatives presenting themselves took place in a single day. 
2018 – The event was extended to a two-day program. Additionally, the program from 2017 was expanded by adding new events like: open-air clothes swapping party, a documentary evening, test-driving with electric automobiles, coffee time accompanied by politicians and a climate action theatre.
2019 – The Green Mobility Design Thinking Challenge was born – the highlight of the Sustainability Days today. This Challenge is a co-innovation competition organized by students for students. With the support of oikos Graz, five SAP Next-Gen Design Thinking coaches, 30 students from multiple disciplines worked in teams on a specific question raised by three companies who are called challenge-owners. Within three days, the interdisciplinary teams developed concepts and ideas offering a sustainable solution for the raised questions. In the end, the results were pitched in front of an audience and the jury, which then awarded prizes for the best solutions.

The fifth anniversary

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Sustainability Days! The event is finally taking place in December under the topic How “Greta” is our University?.
The program offers a smaller variety of activities due to the circumstances of the Corona virus pandemic. The activities include an online panel debate with representatives from the Rectorate and the Vice Chairwoman of the student’s council. Also, popular guests from Fridays for Future and educational fields are invited for a lively discussion. Moreover, online Christmas DIY-workshops will be offered to the students by Easy2Nature, a students initiative. The popular bicycle repair booth had been offered in June. Unfortunately, planned events such as Science and Cinema, a poetry slam and theatre performances on sustainability topics, an art installation on wasted PET bottles and more had to be cancelled due to the current COVID-19 measures. Yet, this year’s highlight is the Sustainability Design Thinking Challenge. The concept is similar to what it was like last year, once again organized in collaboration with oikos Graz and SAP. Three main things have been updated. First, the slogan of this year’s challenge is It focuses on how organizations can develop towards digitalization while putting a bigger emphasis on sustainability aspects. Second, the challenge is exclusively online, but we deliver vegan food to the participants during the 3 days. Third, we managed to offer the challenge as a lecture, giving the opportunity to students to receive 2 ECTS credits for participating.

Adapting to the pandemic

This year was full of challenges for the organizing team as we had to adapt to the new circumstances of COVID 19. Despite the challenges of organizing an event during the pandemic, we decided to not give up and tried to turn the risks into opportunities. Naturally, we regard the health of students and all participants of our event very seriously. Thus, we have ultimately decided that the only responsible way to do it is to shift our events to an entirely online mode.
Moreover, we decided to put more energy into new projects with a good feasibility and reach, such as submitting applications for two different awards and were invited as speakers at the EAUC Conference, a virtual global collaboration bringing together university and college students, academics, leaders and professionals to address the Climate and Ecological Emergency.
Last but not least, we keep strengthening the cooperation with our partners. In order to establish and promote this holistic programme and to engage as many people as possible in sustainability topics, partnerships with other local initiatives and university departments are essential to us. Even though we had to postpone some parts of the program, we keep our contacts.

Making an impact

It is a success that all kinds of people from different fields come together for the Sustainability Days of the University and in its associated competition, the SDTC. The Sustainability Days 2018 had a total of 820 visitors and around 900 visitors in 2019. For the challenge in 2019, we counted 30 students from different disciplines and universities, 3 partner enterprises and 5 design thinking coaches from SAP. Our general audience is represented by about 70% students with the additional 30% composed of academics, enterprise and institutional partners and citizens interested in sustainability topics. The benefits relate to a positive social outcome of raised awareness towards sustainability topics among the audience. Furthermore, a change to a more responsible performance by our university is induced and synergies emerge.
The unexpected outcome is that the Sustainability Days are bringing together a lot of different people from various departments, other existing smaller and bigger sustainability initiatives and different parties at the university. The power of all those groups combined is much greater than the total power achieved by each working separately towards the SDGs. Experiencing this power was one of the most unexpected and positive outcomes of all. After participating in the co-innovation competition, the SDTC, students started to rethink their lifestyles regarding sustainability issues and were very excited to continue working in interdisciplinary teams. Some stated in a feedback form after the event that they did not want to buy a car anymore but started to think about shared mobility, referring to last year’s topic of green mobility.

Recognition at the Green Gown Awards

We applied for the Green Gown Awards, which are supported by the UN Environment, and became finalists as a highly commended project in the category “Student Engagement”! It is an honour for our university, but also for us as the organizing team, to be recognized as a pioneer university for sustainable achievement of our students. We aim to encourage our academic environment, stakeholders and other universities to unfold their potential towards the SDG’s.

University of Graz

Future plans

Our biggest vision is to raise awareness among larger groups of students and academics on sustainability topics. In other words, we want to empower future leaders to act in line with the directions given by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This has been a learning process from the very first moment.
We also keep creating synergies with ongoing initiatives and projects. Generally spoken, it does not necessarily matter if they have anything to do with sustainability as long as they engage themselves to shift towards a greening society.
We also work together towards the goal of becoming a carbon-neutral institution. We experienced that our responsible procurement practices have been an incentive and a source of inspiration for other departments of the university.
And last but not least, we aspire to motivate other students and oikos chapters to ask their own universities to support such student initiatives. Universities should empower future leaders and be a role model for a more participatory campus life!

This amazing article was written by Carolina Rovira from oikos Graz. A big thank you to her for sharing insights to the oikos Community about a project that was inter alia initiated by oikos Graz and is now fully supported by the University of Graz!

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oikos International

posted December 9, 2020

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Get to know the oikos Hong Kong and Lisbon chapters

We are delighted to announce that oikos Hong Kong and oikos Lisbon have been given the full chapter status following the vote at the Legislative Meeting on November 29.

A chapter gaining the full chapter status is always good news at oikos, as it means our family grows ever stronger. But it is also much more than that. It represents the appreciation of the oikos Community for the hard work their members have put into evolving the chapter but also the impact their projects have on the respective local universities. Taking a chapter in accession from its founding to full membership is never easy. It requires hard work and dedication of it’s members, but ultimately, that only makes the reward even more deserving. When it comes to oikos Hong Kong and oikos Lisbon, the accession has been quite imressive, but it’s just a small part, an ouverture for the great oikos journey that lays ahead.

oikos Hong Kong at the oikos Sustainability Impact Case Study

oikos Hong Kong was founded in 2017 at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and since then has organized many projects on the local campus. The chapter is the first and only society promoting sustainability in economics education in their home city. Over the years, the chapter’s projects impacted hundreds in Hong Kong and the Greater China region. With a constantly growing membership, oikos Hong Kong has taken on a number of projects aimed at educating students on sustainability. One of the ways to do so is through inviting industry professionals to offer students a new perspective and engage them into sustainable topics. An important aspect for the chapter is innovation, which is also at the center of its flagship event – oikos Sustainability Impact Case Study Competition where students get to study the real life corporate cases. This year’s Competition marked a special ocassion as it was the first ever regional sustainability case competition in the Greater China region, organized in cooperation with the fellow oikos chapter from Suzhou. oikos Hong Kong is one of the pioneers in online events when it comes to the oikos Community, drawing large audiences to its online events. The chapter has also been active internationally, joining forces other Asian oikos chapters to organized the latest oikos Asian Meeting in an online cross-chapter collaboration effort. oikos Hong Kong has big plans for the future with an expansion to other universities in the city, forming an alumni network and increasing its impact in the Greater China Region.

oikos Lisbon team at Nova School of Business

oikos Lisbon is one of the youngest oikos chapters having been opened in 2019 at the Nova School of Business and Economics in Lisbon. The first ever Portuguese chapter has a history going all the way back to 2011, when a group of students formed Green Nova – a student club to address the environmental issues at the university. But as those issues go beyond the local community and exist on a global level, the club realized the need for a global cooperation and action. Hence, in 2019 it joined the oikos network and became oikos Lisbon. The chapter has put hard work into making the campus more sustainable through consulting, creating guides and taking action to reduce waste. oikos Lisbon is also very active digitally running it’s own blog on sustainability, the Nova Second Hand Collection page on social media, and since recently starting an impressive original podcast – Green is the new black In the field of curriculum change, the chapter has worked with students, from elementary school to the university in effort to integrate sustainability into education. An amazing achievement was made in reaching out to Nova School which since recently added Environmental Economics course to its curriculum. For the future, oikos Lisbon has great plans to bring more sustainability to the campus. Curriculum change remains an important part to the plans with the goal of further integrating sustainability into business and economics education.

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oikos International

posted December 3, 2020

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