Act for Change - acting for sustainability

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sustainable development

In 2015, EPFL’s sustainability group launched the Act for Change Challenge – an annual, fully online contest where teams of EPFL students and staff are asked to take simple steps towards adopting a more sustainable lifestyle.

Act for Change Food: a challenge that draws attention to the environmental impact of the food we eat

The 2018 edition was focused on the environmental impact of food production and was carried out in association with the School’s catering department. The goal was to build awareness about the environmental impacts of the food we eat – especially meat and fish. Over 1,200 EPFL students and staff, or some 10% of our community, signed up for the 2018 Challenge.

The Challenge also aimed to (re)introduce participants to the flavors of vegetarian fare. A number of vegetarian cooking classes were held throughout the two weeks, as well as tastings where participants could sample delicious vegetarian dishes. Several campus restaurants also served vegetarian meals designed specifically for the event. Researchers from EPFL’s Data Science Lab, headed by Professor Robert West, were on hand to track participants’ behavior. They found that the number of vegetarian dishes served rose by 30–40% during the Challenge. The researchers will follow up with further data collection to see if there has been a lasting effect.

 

Act for Change LAB provides a forum for sustainability projects

In the spring of 2018, EPFL’s Act for Change initiative gained momentum with the addition of the Act for Change LAB. In this idea generation laboratory, students and staff can design, build and test ideas for promoting sustainability. The first five projects have already been chosen by the cross-disciplinary selection committee and will be carried out in 2019.

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