A surprising winner of the Campus Sustainability Champion 2021 award

The Campus Sustainability team announced the linden alleys of Otaniemi as the Campus Sustainability Champion 2021at the national Energy Awareness Week event on 13 October. At the event, also other news were shared about the sustainable development of Aalto University’s campus.

The Campus Sustainability team, with members from Aalto University, Aalto University Campus & Real Estate, and the Aalto University Student Union, organized the traditional Campus Sustainability event as part of Motiva’s national Energy Awareness Week (in Finnish). The event was completely virtual for the fifth time.

Among other things, the event’s topics included the campus carbon neutrality roadmap, the renovation and energy efficiency upgrades of the A Blanc shopping centre and the Campus Plan 2021–2030. The event also included a general discussion on the best energy-saving tips both on and off-campus.

The Campus Sustainability Champion was chosen for the fifth time this autumn. There were many good candidates, and the Otaniemi linden alleys won the vote. The linden alleys have introduced sustainable development and natural diversity and beauty to the campus long before the university moved in and it definitely deserves recognition. One of the reasons given was that sometimes preservation, minimal action and keeping the old may be a significant boon for sustainable development. The prize was received on behalf of the linden tree alleys by Antti Raike, who is the "talovastaava" of Väre and an active advocate of Otaniemi’s nature.

Honourable mentions were given to the Participatory Budgeting project, focused on student and campus user wellbeing, and to Meri Löyttyniemi for her work as a promoter of sustainable development at the university, and the Sustainability in Teaching course (login required), which will be available again in spring 2022.

Photo: Mikko Raskinen / Aalto University

"Trees are the champions, my friends
And we'll keep with them till the end

Nevertheless, only a living tree is a good tree, and here in Otaniemi we have friendly Lindens valuing equity, diversity, and inclusion. Lindens are hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and are pollinated by bees and other pollinators. Honeybees find them to be a particularly good source of nectar. Being open-minded, Linden trees attract other wildlife, too, and suffer from a few pests but none that seriously harm the tree. Many moths and butterflies feed their young on Linden leaves and songbirds in turn feast upon the caterpillars. Likewise, the flowers have been used by us for tea and the leaves and bark are edible."
(from Antti Raike’s speech)

The Campus Sustainability event will be held again next March. If you have ideas that you would like to be included in the event, contact the Campus Sustainability team!

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