Our university has been part of the Bavarian Network for Sustainability in Higher Education since 2019 (link: https://www.nachhaltigehochschule.de/english/). The Hochschulinnovationsgesetz (Higher Education Innovation Act), which will come into effect in 2023, also contains a programme stipulation that sustainability should permeate all higher education tasks..
The goal of our university is to anchor and promote sustainability throughout university life. In order to advance specific measures in this regard, an internal university working group presented a catalogue of proposals to the University Administration in September 2022.
However, living up to this claim presents us with great challenges. For one thing, the term »sustainability« should not only be understood in ecological terms. The current crises clearly show that economic and social components also play a role in every system. On the other hand, there are fundamental social values according to which sustainable, even frugal lifestyles are not linked to prestige and recognition.
There are also special challenges for a university of the arts. The preservation of cultural heritage certainly plays a role at our university, yet at the same time it is about a current and future-oriented form of presentation and new forms of outreach. It is a matter of making art and culture accessible to the whole of society, of enabling family-friendly careers, of examining the canon for ideologies (key words here are »decolonisation« and »gender justice«), of working in a methodologically sensitive way, of linking prestige not only with international careers but also with local initiatives and social commitment. These issues put many tried and tested themes and rules of the game to the test.
Nevertheless, we are convinced that institutions that position themselves sustainably are generally more resilient in crisis situations. This has not only been shown by the Covid pandemic. It follows that the effort can be worthwhile, even if results do not show up immediately, but at least permanently.