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TUMCS | Press release | 2020-08-03

How can we succeed in realising a global sustainability strategy that will protect life on our planet? Anyone dealing with this topic must develop an understanding for the situation of other people and cultures and their respective problems. Young people and young scientists can learn this empathy, for example, in simulations that deal with the work of the United Nations (UN). A virtual meeting of this kind has recently been held at the TUM Campus Straubing (TUMCS) – a sustainability council modelling the UN assemblies. Students each take on the role of a delegate of one of the UN member states, but usually not their own.

Following the UN model: United Sustainability Council meets in Straubing

At this year’s virtual conference, bachelor and master students from different study programmes at the TUM Campus Straubing simulate a fictitional working group of the United Nations, the United Sustainability Council (USC). “Our United Sustainability Council USC at the TUM Campus Straubing is an ideal medium for our students to develop interdisciplinary sustainability strategies. At the same time, they are introduced to the working processes of the United Nations,” says Prof Dr. Cordt Zollfrank, initiator of the USC at the Campus Straubing. The students additionally improve their rhetorical and negotiation skills.

Students present the sustainability strategy of their assigned country to the other delegates at the USC. In further meetings of the USC diplomats, resolutions are then submitted to the USC by the respective countries, discussed and voted on in the assembly. Prof. Zollfrank: “We want to develop a joint resolution for a global sustainability strategy, which can then be presented to mandate holders and decision-makers.“

The participants of the USC are enthusiastic about the seminar. “I really like the USC,” says Anna Konrad. She has the role analogous to that of the UN Secretary General. “What is special about the USC is that students from different courses and semesters can work together and apply their respective expertise.” For Anna Konrad it was a challenge to head the meeting as Secretary General, but with the support of her lecturers, it was possible to hold the first meeting successfully despite social distancing.

The interdisciplinary USC seminar perfectly fits with the TUM Campus Straubing and its mission statements on bioeconomy, biotechnology and sustainability. Further meetings of this year’s USC will take place in September and October. Prof. Zollfrank’s goal is to assemble the USC annually on a supra-regional basis; an international USC is planned for 2021 in the summer semester. Interested parties from universities and colleagues are welcome.

If universities are interested in participating in the USC please contact Prof Dr. Cordt Zollfrank (