Last Saturday, representatives of various LSWs (Local Sustainability Week) met in Bern to start collaborating for the next Sustainability Week Switzerland. 41 voluntary and committed students from 10 Swiss cities got to know each other better and exchanged ideas.
The aim of the day was to establish relationships in order to facilitate cooperation. After all, every task is more fun if you do it with friends. The day was also about giving the LSW representatives the tools they need to build their own LSW. Some of the participants had already organized a LSW in the first Sustainability Week this spring and thus are already experienced, others have joined us for the first time.
During the event the participants who had already been involved in the organization of their LSW of last year’s Sustainability Week Switzerland were able to share their experiences with newly motivated volunteers.
First off, everyone met for delicious vegetarian and vegan pitas for lunch at the Pittaria, next to the University of Bern. Afterwards, we started the formal part of the day with the most important information about the organization of an LSW. The core-team introduced documents in which the long-standing experiences of previous organizers are written down that will support the LSWs on various topics. These include information on cafeteria communication, university policy, marketing, time planning, and much more. The SWS’s new marketing concept was also presented. Together with the communications agency Rebel, we developed a new logo this summer. The idea was to enable all LSWs to be perceived as a unit, one movement throughout Switzerland, while leaving room for the individual character of the respective event locations and their communities. Through nationwide collaboration, we cannot only benefit on a personal level, e.g. individual conversations, idea exchange and friendships, but can also pronounce our concerns to the public to a much greater extent.
After a break with fruit and tea, we got to work. Based on everyone’s areas of interest, four groups were formed to jointly discuss challenges, ideas and proposed solutions for the LSWs, which were then presented to everyone. The formal part of the day was concluded by an external guest. In a very inspiring closing speech, Erich Geisser introduced us to his life story and experience as a student, manager, CEO, father and changemaker. He underlined how important the initiative of each individual is. Erich gave up his very successful business career at the age of 50 to start a new project. Today, he runs seven ChangeMaker stores throughout Switzerland, which sell selected sustainable products that tell a unique story. And so, after an intensive afternoon, everyone slowly said goodbye. This week, they will meet with their team of local sustainability heroes at the various Higher Education Institutions to pass on their experiences.
We are extremely grateful that this event was so successful and for the many volunteers who are giving their time for a common cause. We are looking forward to the next five months, which will culminate in the Sustainability Week Switzerland 2019. Many thanks to all participants and see you soon!