Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) has many interesting initiatives. They have declared the year 2011-2012 to be a year of sustainability. In 2011 the VUB council accepted vision, strategy and action plans for sustainable development. They have started well with a Sustainable student restaurant, with less waste, less meat, more vegetables and waste reduction measures. Vegetarian Thursdays were launched. This has raised the consumption of vegetarian food in one year from 10% to 20% on daily basis. On peak days, the veggie days, about 40% of the dishes sold are vegetarian. Rebecca Lefevere, Mobility Manager and Environmental Management Officer of VUB, has offered to test this event in other universities as well. VUB is about to build a new student dorm with low energy consumption and a preference for building materials with a low environmental impact, which both requirements listed for the architects bidding on the dorm development. VUB offers free public transportation for the staff and, a price reduction for students. They promote using a bike by building bike sheds, opening bike repair workshops and having hot water showers for bike users. In their project NatureWorks they offer activities in their orchard to youth nature groups, local schools, and patients from the psychiatric children’s hospital.

Alexandra Demoustiez, Environmental and mobility Coordinator of Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), introduced activities in planning for ULB and offered ideas for development of UGAF.
In October they will launch a weekly student market with food from local organic producers similar to the local market put on by University of Lausanne (UNIL). She said it is important to share practices on the ugaf.eu webpage so that other universities may also implement and benefit from them. The weekly local market is a perfect example illustrating the benefits of sharing best practices. In this particular case, ULB translated the UNIL project, using their experiences and lessons learned. Sharing best practices is also a time saver, which is a key element for small units.

Other ULB projects recently launched:
Publishing an on line eco-guide for students, which offers ideas on how to make everyday decisions environmental friendly and sharing practices the university has already done. The other booklet they have worked on is an information guide about the trees for one of their campus. This project is a threefold publication, one informative tablet on the trees themselves, one dedicated website, and one tree tour map. Informative tablets on the trees will help people learn about the nature around them and notice the greenery even though the campus is in the city.
At ULB waste is collected in 16 different categories ( a waste guide is also available on line) and the use of plastic cups is banned from all our campus for all students events.
ULB wants to promote sustainable transportation in a more dynamic way, so they are working on a new website dedicated to it, (www.ulb.ac.be/mobility) and they continue to work hard to offer appropriate discounts for all members using public transportation or bikes to get around. Recently ULB has built a guarded bike parking (200 places) in response to the problem of theft on the campus.

Universities will benefit through sharing best practices. Websites such as UAGF.eu are great ways to find new sustainable practices, and to see if sustainable practices are working on other campuses.