The uplifting ambiance at Botanical Garden Zuidas on Tuesday, June 27th, with mild weather and lush greenery, was further accentuated by green striped market stalls scattered throughout the garden. These stalls served as a platform to showcase various aspects of greening the VU Campus, as part of the Sustainable Summer Soiree, a joint effort between Active8-Planet, VU Sustainability Office, and the Amsterdam Sustainability Institute. This collaboration not only pooled their resources to bring this interconnected event to life but also forged new green alliances.
The focal point of the event was the Green Inspiration Market, where second-year BSc students from the course Organizations & Anthropology and VU staff engaged in discussions on sustainability. Students were tasked with presenting their research findings on different facets of Campus Greening to two stakeholders: the Botanical Garden Zuidas and the Facilitaire Campus Organisatie (FCO). With the freedom to design captivating market stalls to showcase their ethnographic discoveries, the students surpassed expectations.
Walking past the 22 distinct stalls, visitors were treated to a sensory feast, from immersive experiences to intriguing murder mysteries, audio tours to intricate miniature garden models. The appreciation from all participants was palpable. Students expressed their satisfaction, feeling finally acknowledged and taken seriously, as FCO representatives visited their stalls and eagerly engaged in discussions about their findings. Teachers, on the other hand, reveled in the students' remarkable creativity, which not only made the grading process engaging but also enjoyable. Other VU staff members, drawn by curiosity, were enthralled by the vibrant atmosphere and voiced their desire for more such events at the VU.
The event effectively demonstrated the value of using quantitative research methods to delve into the complex challenge of greening the VU campus, resulting in a clear win-win situation. Soesja van Wijgerden, the project facilitator of the Active8-Planet project at the VU, was enthusiastic about organizing this event in a unique manner. "My project aims to foster connections between FCO, students, and other campus users, in order to truly understand the requirements for campus greenery before taking action. With this event, I sought to gather a diverse range of insights in an engaging and 'sticky' way, ensuring that students feel heard and that FCO absorbs the wealth of perspectives to promote inclusivity in our new green campus. Today was undeniably a great success, and I hope that this practice doesn't end with Active8-Planet."