On 18 August, this year’s climate ambassador course got underway, and after two days devoted to all things climate and sustainability, SDU gained 28 climate ambassadors. The course brought together participants from many different places at SDU, who left the course with new learning, motivation and a completely new network. The SDG HUB has spoken to two of this year’s climate ambassadors. Christina From-Nielsen comes from SDU Procurement and Tendering, and Trine Baltzer Demkjær works at SDU Climate Cluster.
"As a purchasing department, I see a unique opportunity for us to get around within the organisation, and because we have a little more experience in working with tenders than perhaps other departments, and also because you can always learn something new," says Christina From-Nielsen about her reasons for signing up for this year’s climate ambassador course and adds:
"And then this thing about having an inquisitive mind. I want to know more, I want to be better prepared, I want to be equipped to guide and advise our organisation better."
Trine Baltzer Demkjær also signed up for this year’s course to gain a new network and meet different employees from SDU who also want to make a difference for the climate and sustainability.
"I did it for many different reasons, such as networking with like-minded people at SDU, both in terms of bringing their good ideas and practices into play over here where we are, but also to have a network and some channels out in the faculties, and in that way I’m also helping to promote what we do in the SDU Climate Cluster," says Trine Baltzer Demkjær.
A sustainable background
Neither Christina From-Nielsen nor Trine Baltzer Demkjær are strangers to sustainability in their work with sustainability and climate through their positions at the University.
But the climate ambassador course has nevertheless given the two ambassadors new knowledge and motivation for their future work.
"It was inspiring to hear about how many initiatives are actually going on around us and how many departments are incorporating sustainability in their daily work," says Trine Baltzer Demkjær.
For Christina From-Nielsen, receiving her diploma on Friday afternoon unleashed a surge of motivation and enthusiasm.
"I'm now drumming my nails on the table, you know that feeling when you’re sitting on the edge of your seat and you’re thinking how great it would be if we could get this going, and let’s just get the ball rolling."
New network and a lot of work ahead
The climate ambassador training was the start of a completely new and dedicated network, which will now drive the ambassadorship forward. And the new network is something that both Christina From-Nielsen and Trine Baltzer Demkjær have taken away from the course.
"I believe that this cutting across disciplines and the approach here at SDU is completely unique. We have both academic staff and technical administrative staff, and I think this connection is just brilliant, and I think it’s important to bring it into play, and we have a huge resource in the many committed students who also want to help make a difference. Now let’s get cracking!" says Christina From-Nielsen enthusiastically.
Now, the network will work more with initiatives and projects at SDU – something that both climate ambassadors are looking forward to.
"I think that some of the dots have been joined, and I also think that it’ll be supported by the newsletter, which is about to be launched, and of course more network events," says Trine Baltzer Demkjær, who explains that the climate ambassadors will, for instance, visit the Climate Cluster for one of this year’s network meetings.
But there is a lot of work ahead, and the two climate ambassadors are looking forward to the future collaboration.
"It’s really important to hold on to this enthusiasm. There is still novelty value, but we can’t wait much longer, we have to get things started," says Christina From-Nielsen.
At the beginning of October, the climate ambassadors finally had the opportunity to meet again and move forward with their projects and ambitions for SDU.
The role of ambassador going forward
The coming months will bring a series of more network meetings where the climate ambassadors can get their ambassadorship underway, and it is something they have been waiting for:
"I believe we should strike while the iron is hot," says Christina From-Nielsen, who is looking forward to taking on her ambassadorial role and getting things started.
And in the coming months, the new climate ambassadors will finally have the opportunity to take up their new role:
"I think the way I primarily see my role as ambassador is not to set initiatives in motion as such, but more that when SDU introduces new sustainability measures, to be able to explain or justify why things are being done. So, to have a front-runner role in it," says Trine Baltzer Demkjær.
You could be next
The two climate ambassadors are in no doubt that you should sign up next year when the opportunity arises.
"I think you should do it, because you get some concrete tools, you get a network, you get inspiration for what you could bring back to your own organisation and implement. I also think that it is a good initiative that SDU has put in place, and that it is an opportunity to support it and, for some people, also be able to put your words into action and flesh out the good intentions," says Trine Baltzer Demkjær.
We will wait with bated breath to hear more about which projects the climate ambassadors will launch, but there is no doubt that SDU now has a number of highly motivated and ambitious ambassadors who will work with the University’s sustainable development going forward. You can follow the latest news on our pages, where we will update you about the climate ambassadors and their important work.