A lot has changed since Delta last spoke with Green-mE, the GreenTeam at the Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering. Time to catch up with Sharina Ligtelijn, team member of Green-mE and also the GreenTeams Coordinator of GreenTU.
Let’s rewind, what is a GreenTeam and when did this all start?
“Four years ago two Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering students noticed a lack of focus on sustainability in their bachelor programme. They decided to take action and wrote a report. This eventually resulted in the founding of the first GreenTeam, the Green-mE. This group of students work on integrating sustainability in their own faculty. As part of its work, the team wrote a practical guide that helps mechanical engineering students design with sustainability in mind and assess designs on sustainability-related criteria.”
What has the team accomplished since then?
“We rewrote the guide, which is used by first-year mechanical engineering students, gave lectures, made an educational video on Eco-Designing and created a new website. Wouter de Wilt, Chairman of Green-mE, and I were even awarded a position in the Top 100 sustainable young pioneers of the Netherlands 2019 for our work. But, more importantly, in the wake of Green-mE’s success, another GreenTeam called BKGreen emerged at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment.”
Do they operate in the same way as Green-mE?
“No, not exactly. Even though we are one university, each faculty is kind of its own community. Right now they are collecting and reusing leftover material from scale models and are involved in a pilot on waste separation in the Faculty. Even though relatively new, BKGreen has established itself quite well in the Faculty.”
The BKGreen team. (Photo: BKGreen)
With the success of both teams, the idea quickly arose to extend to other faculties. By then, GreenTU, a TU Delft managed team that works on making the university more sustainable, was convinced of the potential and started working on a proposal for the Executive Board. It did this together with Lijst Bèta, the student party that has sustainability as one of its main pillars. At the start of this academic year, the proposal was approved by the Board of TU Delft and a budget was made available to set up teams, eventually at all faculties.
Sounds challenging, installing GreenTeams at all faculties.
“It is, actually. As I said earlier, there are a lot of differences between all eight faculties. But, that’s also why these GreenTeams are so great. They help decentralise GreenTU, which is more of an umbrella organisation. The teams will consist of students from their own faculties because, in the end, they know what is going on and what is needed.”
What is it exactly that you do as a coordinator?
“I play an important role in coordinating the existing teams and in setting up and guiding the new ones through their start-up period. To achieve the latter I start by informing and convincing faculties of having a GreenTeam. Recently I joined in on the monthly Directors of Education meeting and presented them with the concept of GreenTeams. Luckily all the directors were enthusiastic and are willing to have teams at their respective faculties. As of now, we’re working on setting up teams.”
So what can we expect in the coming year?
“Well, since the enthusiasm amongst students and staff is tangible and the faculty student councils and study associations are helping a lot with setting up the teams, the team selection for TPM’s GreenTeam was able to start. Other faculties will follow soon. In the meantime, Green-mE and BKGreen keep moving fast. Green-mE will focus on including clinical technology and marine technology in the programme and BKGreen will concentrate on student participation, waste management and the integration of sustainability in education.”
And personally, when will you feel you have succeeded?
“Since the role of GreenTeams Coordinator is a one year position, I would be happy if, by the end of my term, I would’ve helped facilitate new GreenTeams at the faculties I mentioned and have supported the current ones. I will feel I have been successful when the GreenTeams are truly embedded and are known by staff and students.”
- If you are interested in being part of a GreenTeam or have ideas or suggestions you’d like to share, you can contact GreenTU.