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How do we want to live, learn & lead together?

The stakes have never been higher, and the window is open in a world that is yearning for sustainability and resilience. For over 3 decades, our student community and a strong international support team have been stepping up in order to shape how we want to live, learn and lead together. Since 1987, oikos has been coining and questioning the leadership and education that serves us for a thriving future.

Find out more about our history and how it relates to our purpose right below.

How do we want to live, learn & lead together?

As we walk the talk, we co-create the future today. With moves like the international co-presidency, we are heading into a decade of shared leadership and participation. Stakes are high and the window is open in a world that is yearning for sustainability - and we, over 1000 active student change agents and a strong international support team, are here to step in and shape how we want to live, learn and lead together. Learn more about our visions & strategic pathways here.


A new era begins for oikos International

30 years after its foundation, the oikos Foundation was terminated and operations fully integrated in oikos International. Those changes were based on a new governance structure developed in 2019 by a student-led working group. The development moved ahead with changes in the community structure, the constitution and the oikos International team, setting a foundation for a new decade of action. In 2021, oikos moved fully remote and thereby set a tone for new and renewed relationships with partners and the community. Beyond that, 2020 marked the launch of the Positive Impact Rating in collaboration with other student organisations and the great pilot experiment NexGenLead, two initiatives that made us reconsider organizational learning from different perspectives and with more depth.


oikos Curriculum Change Initiative

To accelerate the process of bringing sustainability into the core of economics and management education, in 2019 we launched the Curriculum Change Initiative (CCI). We engaged key stakeholders for curriculum change in a roundtable and debated with our international alumni community in March. In October, oikos Prague hosted the first Curriculum Academy bringing together oikees from 20 countries for a three-day workshop and the first oikos in Residence was held in early 2020. Two “squads” were built to continuously support oikos chapters and members with empowering local efforts (action squad) and creating academic materials (research) between these meetings.


LEAP! Launch of our oikos Leadership Program

This year saw the launch of oikos International's LEAP Program, designed to provide opportunities for oikos members to strengthen their leadership skills and increase oikos' impact around the world. Ever since, the topics of leadership and personal development have become important and driving parts of our theory of change. In 2013, the EcoMap was initiated as a web-based platform to facilitate sustainable and ethical consumption in urban areas.


Co-creating the Future: First oikos FutureLab in St. Gallen

For the first time, community members from 21 countries came together in fall 2011 to start a tradition of celebrating sustainability action and curriculum change at the oikos FutureLab. Overall, the early 2010s were shaped by new possibilities for community gatherings with the first oikos Spring Meeting being held in 2010 at oikos Reims, the first oikos Asia Meet at oikos Ahmedabad and the first oikos CEE Meeting (Central & Eastern Europe) at oikos Tbilisi - both in 2012. Ever since, we have a vibrant culture of bringing our community together and sharing our work and perspectives with each other. In 2009, the oikos Student Reporters started reporting from major sustainability conference around the world and later became an independent organisation in 2014.


A decade of action: Launch of several long-term initiatives

For the first time in 2005, oikos PhD Fellows were selected among outstanding international PhD students writing their thesis on sustainability in economics or management while supporting oikos programs. Over the years, our 12 PhD Fellows were joined by oikos Associates. In the 2000s, oikos also celebrated the launch of its annual oikos Case Writing Competition (2003) as well as the first oikos Winter School (2004) that was hosted by oikos Witten-Herdecke from 2007 onwards.


oikos grows international by opening new chapters in Europe

The late 1990s not only brought new chapters in Cologne, Prague, Stockholm and Vienna to the oikos community. In this period, the successful program Model World Trade Organization (Model WTO) was launched (1997) as well as the oikos PhD Summer Academy (1999) that was later extended into multiple different oikos Academies. By now, the oikos community spans over 4 continents, 20 countries and hosts over 50 local groups.


oikos is founded by students at the University of St. Gallen

The university of St. Gallen has a long history of environmental awareness and activism. Already in 1972, the Student Committee for Environmental Economics was established. From there, oikos as a local student initiative had been founded and started growing out of the passion of a few motivated individuals in 1987. In the next years, the engagement led to the foundation of Swiss Association for Environmentally Conscious Management (ÖBU) at the first oikos conference in 1989 and the launch of the oikos Foundation for Economy and Ecology in 1990. The oikos Foundation financed multiple projects on ecologically-oriented economics and became the key enabler of oikos international initiatives and programs, like oikos Young Scholars Academies, oikos Case Writing Competition, oikos PhD Fellowship, in the following 30 years until its termination in 2019.