Bonn University’s Vice Rector for Sustainability visits STACEES

On the day of Prof Annette Scheersoi’s STACEES visit in mid-June, grey clouds loomed in the distance of an unusually warm and muggy—but decidedly cheerful— St Andrews. The town’s streets took on a celebratory mood as gowned graduands, their families, friends and lecturers hurried towards North Street for the morning’s graduation ceremonies.

The day was a memorable one for the STACEES team too; we were honoured to host Annette, who is Professor in Biology Education at the University of Bonn and who—on her election in May 2021—became Germany’s first ever Vice Rector for Sustainability. With her team, she leads the university-wide Bonn Program for Sustainable Transformation (BOOST).

The day’s activities began with a stroll across town to meet with a kilt-sporting Dr James Rae from the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences. This kilt-focussed photo opportunity was not overlooked! Having a shared interest on the topics of climate communication, climate justice and impact, Annette and James had plenty to talk about and they plan to stay in touch.

Next, we were treated to a guided tour of Eden Campus. We are grateful to Karen Primrose (Head of Special Projects) who kindly led our tour and talked Annette through various sustainability-focussed aspects of the site, including its biomass plant, its Centre for Battery Technology and its solar farm. This expedition was followed by a lunchtime discussion meeting spent reflecting on the respective sustainability-focussed research landscapes and governance structures at Bonn and St Andrews. Some discussions may have centred on the (occasionally discussed but rarely ever properly debated) issue of whether chocolate and mint belong together in desserts!

Returning to town by carshare, we enjoyed a lively and informative walking Talk and Tour of the central campus sites by a recently graduated student from the School of Mathematics and Statistics. Following this tour, Annette attended the Graduation Garden Party, joining Prof Ineke De Moortel, Master and Co-lead of the ‘Sustainable St Andrews’ strategy and Prof Catherine O’Leary, Assistant Vice-Principal Dean of Arts and Divinity, to begin discussions about possible avenues for strategic collaboration.

The STACEES team would like to extend our thanks to Annette for such an enjoyable day. We hope to continue our discussions in the not-too-distant future, be that in St Andrews or Bonn. 

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