Student projects funded so far
The following student sustainability projects have already been funded by the Sustainable Impact Program (SIP). More projects are being added on an ongoing basis.
Teenage pregnancies and HIV-Aids are among the greatest threats to girls in Kenya. Reasons for this include poverty and lack of education. With the help of urban agriculture, food security and the economic status of the poor urban population can, however, be improved. The CSAWE project therefore trains women in urban agriculture with horticulture and poultry farming. Raising insects for feed, making worm compost for organic fertiliser, and promoting agroforestry are part of the programme. Here, the aim is to increase food production while reducing food costs. This way, the economic situation of the population can be improved, and unemployment and poverty can be lowered.
In Switzerland, some insect species have been commercially available as food since 2017. In this context, Karen Briggs and Irmak Uzundemir, students in the “Preneurship for Regenerative Food Systems” programme, are researching the use of bee drone larvae. Each year, more than 50 tons of this nutritious substance is discarded as a waste product of honey production. The goal of the project team is therefore to transform bee drone larvae into a new food product and establish it as a regenerative business model. Further, the project includes educational activities about edible insects and their role in sustainable nutrition, as well as the development of a chocolate product with freeze-dried bee drone larvae. Successful implementation would also benefit beekeepers in the long term, as they could benefit from another source of income.
In Switzerland, 1.6 billion PET bottles are produced every year. This not only consumes a lot of energy and resources, but also creates large amounts of waste. Luca and Alexander Pfyffer want to change this with the development of their zero waste drinks dispenser called "fountain": In the future, everyone should be able to enjoy their favourite cold drinks in their own reusable bottles. As a result, the energy and CO2 footprint of the drinks should be reduced by at least 40 per cent. In the course of the project, the ZHAW is serving as a real lab to test the acceptance and use of the automat.
With their project, Gianluca Isler and Tobias Büchler want to create an urban green space in the former Zentralwäscherei in Zurich. A canopy of foliage is to be created over the square to reduce heating and create a seating and lounge area. In this way, the project contributes to improving the urban microclimate and air quality, promoting biodiversity and enhancing the quality of life in the city. The project is carried out in collaboration with the Zentralwäscherei association and aims to sensitise visitors and the local population to the issue of climate adaptation in the city.
The goal of the social start-up km0 foodgardens is to promote local food gardens and integrate their products into the menus of communities and restaurants. The two "Preneurship for Regenerative Food Systems" students Melanie Millenet and Noemi Schärlig want to address a whole range of issues: The decoupling of humans and nature, the loss of ecosystems, the avoidance of unnecessary packaging and transport of fresh produce while promoting bioregional food cultures. Moving the production of the fresh products back to the place of processing and consumption aims to have a positive impact on all these aspects. A cooperation with SwissRe enables the implementation of a pilot project at two locations in Zurich.
In her bachelor's thesis, Lotta Widmer examined the Winterthur Music Festival in terms of social, ecological and economic sustainability. From her analysis, she concluded an action plan with over 70 measures that are now being implemented step by step. The festival is thus becoming a real laboratory and the findings could point the way for other events. For her outstanding work, Lotta Widmer was presented with the SDG Award at the Swiss Green Economy Symposium 2022.
From surplus food, Sophia Graupner and Ximena Franco produce wholesome meals as ready-made products, so-called convenience products. The meals are offered cold and can be flexibly heated in the microwave. The food technology students are planning to conduct a real laboratory at the ZHAW. ZHAW students and employees will be able to order a lunch and have it delivered. The students also won over the ZHAW Startup Challenge with their business idea for "hängry foods".
The two food technology students Selina Lüthi and Dominic Spichtig are using previously unused fruit in and around Wädenswil to make cider. The focus is on old apple and pear species from high trunk trees. The fruit is collected together with volunteers, then pressed and processed into cider. In this way, on the one hand, unused fruit is refined into a culinary product, and on the other hand, it is produced regionally and in a climate-friendly way.
The podcast "foodtäch insights" by Sophia Graupner deals with topics related to sustainability in the food industry. The student clarifies open questions about current developments with experts and presents new ideas. With the podcast, she wants to educate listeners about the high environmental impact of food and, at best, achieve a change in eating habits.
Status is a support service provided by ALIAS, the ZHAW Student Association. As a point of contact for refugees who are interested in studying or are already enrolled, Status offers personal, digital or telephone counselling sessions. The newly funded project aims to develop a solution for introducing a trial semester for refugees at all departments of the ZHAW.
Shqipron Brajshori, together with fellow students, runs the Sustainability Day at the School of Management and Law. The theme of the day is social responsibility and sustainable development. It is aimed at all ZHAW students and staff, as well as the surrounding population. The aims of the Sustainability Day are to raise awareness of sustainability-related issues and to promote dialogue within the ZHAW.