rootAbility is an organization run by youth for youth. Most of its members are between 20 and 30 years of age. rootAbiliy supports and inspires students to make their universities more sustainable, resilient and fair, by designing, advocating and running student-led and staff-supported sustainability hubs. rootAbility is a member of the GAP Partner Networks.

The organization receives the award for its “Green Office” intiative.

Green Office Model

Students around the world strive to make their educational organisations more sustainable. However, many lack the resources, time and knowledge to do so. The Green Office Model addresses this problem, by structurally integrating the energy and creativity of youth into a whole-institution approach towards ESD in their universities, colleges and schools.

The model is based on open-source principles, which are adapted to the context of each institution: A team of students and staff runs the Green Office with a mandate to advance sustainability within the institution. The Green Office receives resources in the form of office space and a budget for salaries. The team members are trained to run their own activities, such as waste recycling and sustainable catering, while raising their own funding.

Until today, the Green Office Model has inspired 14 student-led and staff-supported sustainability hubs at universities in Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Belgium, reaching more than 2000 young people across Europe.

International Jury recommendation:

“This project models the youth as transformation agents by structurally integrating their energy and creativity into a whole-institution approach towards ESD. Through the sustainability hubs, called green offices, they have developed strong partnerships with staff members of the institutions. This intense collaboration and inclusive participation have ensured the best conditions for the necessary changes towards sustainability. The effectiveness of this model is dependent only on the initiatives of students. Further, the model is capable of utilisation and adaptation to many private, public and non-governmental organizations, quite beyond universities and colleges.”

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