Educational Network Sustainability RCE East Württemberg Recognized by United Nations UniversityA Strong Pact for Regional Sustainability Education

Prof. Dr. Gerhard Schneider, President of Aalen University, Head of RCE Dr. Annika Beifuss, and Prof. Dr. Ulrich Holzbaur, Senate’s Delegate for Sustainability at Aalen University, are pleased about the positive response from the United Nations University.

Fr, 07. February 2020

Together for more sustainability: As of now, the Educational Network East Württemberg ranks among the regional centers of excellence, and is allowed to officially call itself the Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development (RCE East Württemberg). Aalen University’s request for recognition as an RCE was approved by the United Nations University. The city of Aalen supports the building of the RCE and allocated 15,000 Euros in the 2020 budget for this purpose.

TOKYO/AALEN For the United Nations, education is an important key to sustainable development. This requires players from different fields and institutes to network. This is why they support initiatives like the Educational Network Sustainability East Württemberg, which has now been recognized as an RCE and is doing just that. The goal of the Regional Center of Excellence is this: to build an educational infrastructure for sustainability through the use of their members, and to comprehensively implement education for sustainable development. It thereby not only involves the transfer of knowledge, but also the acquisition of competences for shaping the future, and the participatory design of the network.

A Successful Network

The idea for the RCE was developed in cooperation between the Department for Sustainable Development at Aalen University and the Department for Environment, Green Spaces, and Environmentally Friendly Mobility of the City of Aalen. Daniela Dorrer, former Sustainability Consultant at Aalen University, had experiences at her previous job at the RCE in Munich, and brought in important momentum. Rudolf Kaufmann, the head of the Department for Environment, Green Spaces, and Environmentally Friendly Mobility until the end of 2019, and Prof. Dr. Ulrich Holzbaur, Agenda Spokesperson and the Senate’s Delegate for Sustainability at Aalen University, wanted to transfer the successful networking activities of Local Agenda 21 for Sustainable Development to the East Württemberg region.

Holzbaur and Dorrer drafted the application for recognition and submitted it to the United Nations University (UNU) in September 2019. This was done in close coordination with the City of Aalen. Mayor Thilo Rentschler supports the application. „The City Administration will recommend to the committees a subsidy of 15,000 Euros for the RCE at Aalen University,“ explained Rentschler. The planned commitment emphasizes the good cooperation between the university and the city, also with regard to these important sustainability issues. In addition to the City of Aalen, the DHBW Heidenheim and the PH Schwäbisch Gmünd, the Adult Education Centers of East Württemberg, the Federal Department for Environment and Nature Conservation (BUND) East Württemberg, the German Forest Protective Association, as well as Schubart High School, and the Kopernikus High School in Aalen have been gained as direct supporters. Many other partners have expressed their interest.

With the recognition of the UNU, the network can now run both regionally and internationally.

Dr. Annika Beifuss Should Build the RCE

Dr. Annika Beifuss, under the leadership of Holzbaur, has undertaken the assignments of development and support. The Germanist has lived in Japan and China for a long time, and has already worked in the fields of Sustainable Development and Journalism. In addition to networking, the formation of the network structure and the development of suitable educational formats will be the focus of her work. The RCEs are not only local networks; they also cooperate internationally.

Sustainability in Aalen

Through Local Agenda 21, the City and University, the Grünen Aal, and many educational institutions, education for sustainable development has a long tradition in Aalen. The City of Aalen has received several awards within the framework of the World Decade of Education for Sustainable Development and the UNESCO World Action Program. In May 2019, the City of Aalen signed the Model Resolution of the German Association of Cities „AGENDA 2030 – Agenda for Sustainable Development: Shaping Sustainability at the Local Level“ and has acknowledged the local importance of the goals for sustainable development (SDGs).

In the coming semester, this topic will play an important role in the joint lecture program of the City, the Adult Education Center, and the University, as well as the extracurricular studies.

The Aalen University Department for Sustainable Development implements the education for sustainable development at the university. The focus here is the experience-oriented transfer of knowledge, competences, and motivation for shaping the future. In addition to lectures, workshops are also organized and the sustainability of events is promoted.

Photo Credit: © Aalen University | Janine Soika