Sustainability at LUT: How every student can make an impact

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Sustainability and Responsibility are at the core of LUT University’s strategy and operations. Sustainability is more than just a buzz word used by companies and organizations, it involves taking action. At LUT, it means that the university is committed to considering environmental, financial, and social responsibility in ALL activities. Every LUT student, staff member, professor, researcher, and alumni is a part of LUT’s mission to achieve ambitious environmental goals. The campus cities share LUT’s vision of sustainability also: Lappeenranta is a winner of the European Green Leaf Award and Lahti is a winner of the European Green Capital Award, both for the year 2021.

Sustainability goals and initiatives extend to LUT partners as well. There are many people working together to promote responsibility at LUT, and it is the expectation that even after your time at LUT ends, you will continue to promote responsibility in other professional and academic environments.  This article will give some examples of ways in which students impact sustainability on campus.

Sorting waste around campus

Around campus, there are numerous waste recycling stations with images and descriptions of what goes in each category. Students are responsible for sorting their own waste and also encouraging new students and classmates to be responsible. Zero percent of the 181 tons of waste produced by the university was sent to the landfill last year.

LUT campus restaurants have bio-waste scales to monitor bio-waste volumes, and the restaurants have increased their sustainability e.g. by decreasing food waste with the ResQ mobile application. Students make up the majority of the campus population and have a direct impact on sustainability simply by conscientiously limiting their waste and sorting their waste in the right place so that as much as possible can be recycled.

Course projects

In courses at LUT, students often have the opportunity to develop a new business plan or collaborate with an organization to solve a problem. This is a great opportunity to explore a sustainable approach to the project and conduct more research about how the organization could adapt their operations or enter a new market with a sustainable product or service. It is a great learning experience while doing research for the project, and students also have the chance to educate their classmates about the creative and sustainable solution if there are presentations at the end of the course.

Participation in sustainability research or sustainability-focused events

students planting a tree
Students planting trees at the Help Earth Breathe event

Every year, LUT researchers and professors begin new projects and further develop studies related to sustainability development on cross-departmental levels. Occasionally, there are also opportunities to join a sustainability research project as a student in a junior research assistant role, for example on a part-time basis during studies or during the summer break. These postings are usually shared by professors with their students or advertised on the job portal.

LUT also hosts several sustainability events on campus and supports sustainability events in the campus cities of Lahti and Lappeenranta. New students have the chance to participate in a Plant a Tree-Help Earth Breathe initiative already during orientation week, and there are other opportunities to get involved on campus and advocate for responsibility and sustainability projects throughout the academic year.

Sustainability courses and degree programs

Some LUT students are also developing themselves to become leaders in the field of sustainability. LUT offers 8+ degree programs focused on sustainability. Other degree programs also contain specialization options and courses to learn more about sustainable development, even if sustainability is not a student’s primary field of study. For example, Business degree students can choose to enroll in a minor program called sustainable business, no matter their degree program. In Technology degree programs, there are minors in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and more. LUT gives students across all fields of study the opportunity to develop stronger competencies and understanding in sustainability and responsibility.

Student mobility and transportation to campus

In both Lahti and Lappeenranta, there are multiple public transportation options – such as buses, city bikes/scooters, or even ride sharing with a classmate or colleague. Many students also live close enough to campus that they can walk as well. By using sustainable transportation options, students can make a direct impact on their carbon footprint and these sustainable options are encouraged in the university community.

How to learn more about LUT’s commitment and actions regarding responsibility and sustainability…

To learn more about how to get involved in sustainability actions on campus, check out the latest sustainability targets and action plan for LUT this year and LUT’s vision for 2030 here.

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