Sustainability Hub

In October 2022, the student-run Green Office started a new project: the Sustainability Hub (SH), overseen by project manager and moderator Neyne Ekhteira. The project was initiated by Christiane Harmsen (Equal Opportunity Office), who supports the project's implementation along with Dr Hilmar Hofmann (Staff Unit Sustainability). The new hub was inspired by the Knowledge Hub at the University of Amsterdam (a past project partner).

The Sustainability Hub is a digital networking platform focusing on contributions to sustainable development. Its main aims are to enable projects and to connect people and groups involved in fostering sustainability. Project leaders or people with ideas for projects can share them on the hub. In return, they benefit from increased visibility for these ideas.

Both the University of Konstanz and the Konstanz community can draw on a large number of projects related to sustainability as well as great interest in volunteering in this area – the hub links the two by providing interested volunteers with a place to look for suitable projects and project leaders with the chance to find supporters for their projects. There are three sub-categories in the "projects" section: projects, ideas for projects and project groups. This means the platform provides a wide range of options for volunteers to get involved: from survey or clean-up projects to longer-term design projects and memberships in university groups, civic networks and more. Another key aspect is the opportunity to gain knowledge of relevant methods, participate in project design and learn to develop and then implement corresponding ideas. In the context of transferable skills courses, exactly this methods knowledge has been the focus of Social Innovation Camps offered in collaboration with the Partner World Citizen School Tübingen.

The "actors" section presents people and organizations engaged in promoting sustainability, which makes it easier to identify and draw upon their expertise.

The hub aims to provide support infrastructure for those planning and implementing sustainability projects and to help interested volunteers to connect with them, thus promoting sustainable development.

The United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a central element of the platform. Each project lists which of the SDGs it supports, which simplifies orientation for users while clearly showing how these goals are being implemented in the Konstanz region.

The hub took shape in dialogue with members of the university's Sustainable Development Working Group, who provided the collaboration basis for setting up the platform. It was developed and implemented with the key support and expertise of the working group's sub-team "Engagement" led by Christiane Harmsen. Dr Hilmar Hofmann was involved in initiating and developing the concept for the Sustainability Hub, and he continues to support its future development. Helen Schiff contributed valuable insights into the university's student groups and organized meetings with university groups active in the area of sustainability which was key for including the groups on the hub and promoting their opportunities for volunteers.

In October 2023, the Hub took part in the ideas competition for forum.konstanz, a key project in the context of the German Excellence Strategy. In this context, Christiane Harmsen submitted a concept on sustainable development through participation which has been approved and will be implemented in collaboration with the team responsible for organizing the sustainability certificate programme for students (qualification N) together with Gabriele Schaub (Centre for Transferable Skills), Barbara Ette (coordinator for sustainability in teaching) and Anton Schwärzler (Green Office). As part of the certificate programme, students can implement a practical project, which is where the hub can provide a pool of options.

The project's results as well as the next steps for the hub are available on PLANTA Pulse, a university-wide project management platform supervised by Daniela Karipidis. The PLANTA Pulse platform provides information about the hub's implementation as well as updates on the project's progress.

The IT infrastructure for the Sustainability Hub is currently being set up. Along with a team of experts led by Olaf Blick from the Konstanz-based company Seitenbau GmbH, two University of Konstanz students are working on the platform. The aim is to provide a website as well as an app version. In summer 2023, Amaan Shaikh, a master's student of computer science, started developing two independent app versions for iOs and Android. In October 2023, Shantanu Kulkarni started working on the front end of the website and the secure data transfer between the app and web-based versions that share the same data. The hub also provides an "opportunities" section listing training options, calls for proposals and the like related to sustainability, as well as an event calendar that shows a wide range of events on the topic of sustainability.

The Sustainability Hub plans to launch in spring 2024. Updates are available on this website and the Green Office's Instagram account. For additional information, please email Neyne Ekhteira at On Instagram, you can find the Green Office at greenofficekn.