The new team of the Green Office: (from right) Laura Brock, PD Dr. Thomas Heller und Claudia Hilbert.

A clear signal in favour of more sustainability

University of Jena takes important steps towards a sustainable university with newly structured Green Office and Sustainability Strategy
The new team of the Green Office: (from right) Laura Brock, PD Dr. Thomas Heller und Claudia Hilbert.
Image: Anne Günther (University of Jena)
This page has been machine translated.
  • Awards and Personnel


Sustainability: a buzzword that we often encounter in everyday life and yet usually seems abstract. Changing this and bringing the term to life in everyday university life is the aim of the newly structured Green Office at Friedrich Schiller University Jena.

The team now includes climate protection manager Laura Brock and the two sustainability officers PD Dr Thomas Heller and Claudia Hilbert. What is special about this is that all three work full-time in different departments of the University and manage the Green Office together with their different areas of expertise on a part-time basis. Laura Brock, an economist, works in the Division for Construction and Facility Management. Thomas Heller is a theologian and Head of the Office for Central Bodies. Claudia Hilbert is a geographer and works in public relations and marketing at the Faculty of Chemistry and Earth Sciences. The team of three is supported by student assistants.

Approaching sustainability from different angles

"Thanks to this structure and our interdisciplinary approach, we can contribute a wide range of perspectives and experiences. This is ideal, because the topic of sustainability is also very diverse," says Laura Brock. "And student collaboration is also enormously important and helpful," adds Thomas Heller. In future, another person will join the team. Funded by the cross-university project "Thuringia Teaches and Learns Sustainably" ("Thüringen Lehrt und Lernt Nachhaltig", ThüLeNa), they will focus on developing teaching materials on the topic of sustainability.

The Green Office, which now reports directly to the President, acts as the central coordination centre for sustainability at the University and supports the University's sustainability process. One focus of its work is networking with other sustainability stakeholders inside and outside the University. "Sometimes the topic of sustainability is perceived as a burden. But we want to show that the exact opposite is true and that sustainable action benefits us all in the medium and long term," says Claudia Hilbert. This is why the Green Office team takes a pragmatic approach: "It is important to us to implement projects as quickly as possible and to achieve visible and tangible effects," emphasizes Thomas Heller. A lot has already happened in the first few weeks of the new start: For example, there was an open bike repair day at the beginning of May and the Green Office took part in a workshop on the city of Jena's heat action plan. It is also involved in planning the redesign of Ernst-Abbe-Platz. The office is also currently supporting several student initiatives, including urban gardening and swap shelf projects.

Implementing the Sustainability Strategy

The reorganization of the Green Office goes hand in hand with the implementation of the Sustainability Strategy adopted by the Senate and Executive Board of the University. This was preceded by a university-wide participation process: over 130 employees and students took part in a "Zukunftswerkstatt" (future-oriented workshop) and several working groups. The Sustainability Strategy contains goals and measures for the fields of research, teaching, operations, governance and knowledge transfer. It will serve as a guide to a sustainable institution of higher education in the coming years. The strategy takes into account not only ecological but also social aspects. "The University is the largest educational centre and one of the largest innovation spaces and employers in Jena and the whole of Thuringia. We therefore have a special responsibility to help shape and decisively drive the necessary change towards a sustainable society," says Prof. Dr Georg Pohnert, interim President of the University.

The Sustainability Strategy is by no means to be seen as a static project. Rather, it should invite people to bring it to life and develop it further through their own ideas, concepts and projects. This also applies to the Green Office: "We want to establish the Green Office as an open workspace – as a space for all members of the university who are keen to advance sustainability at our University. Everyone is welcome to join in," emphasizes Thomas Heller.

Interested parties can contact the Green Office at any time and contribute their ideas to the weekly meetings on Fridays from 10.15 am, for example. "Sustainability concerns us all and we can only achieve the goal of becoming a sustainable university together," says Laura Brock.


In a series of videos External link, members of the University's academic, research, administrative and technical staff explain the Sustainability Strategy and its significance for the various fields of the University.

The Senate Sustainability Working Group publishes a monthly sustainability briefing that interested employees and students can subscribe to. The briefing provides information on current developments and events at institutions of higher education in the field of sustainability.


Green Office of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena

Room E002/E003
Zwätzengasse 3
07743 Jena