Thesis - Volunteer opportunity: Carbon neutrality at the VU Sportcentrum


Arie Koops - VU Sportcentrum


The VU Sportcentrum, a cornerstone in promoting physical well-being and a healthy lifestyle for our students and the broader community, faces a challenge - aligning its operations with a steadfast commitment to sustainability. At the heart of this endeavor is the central research question: 'How can the VU Sportcentrum (location Uilenstede) most effectively curb its CO2 emissions?' Achieving carbon neutrality is a multifaceted challenge, and this research project is dedicated to identifying the most effective strategies to reduce CO2 emissions. The investigation will encompass exploring various solutions, from energy-efficient facility upgrades such as assessing the potential of alternative energy sources, such as solar, where possible. Additionally, we will address the issue of waste streams, aiming to optimize waste management practices and reduce the associated environmental impact. This research project therefore opens up two distinct opportunities for students. The first opportunity focuses on the physical building itself and alternative energy sources, seeking innovative ways to make the Sportcentrum's infrastructure more sustainable. The second opportunity centers on waste streams and behavioral change by promoting more eco-friendly practices among Sportcentrum users and physical changes where needed. Your involvement in either of these areas will be instrumental in creating a more sustainable and environmentally responsible Sportcentrum at VU, paving the way for a greener and healthier future.


Through the Green Action Lab, you will collaborate the VU Sportcentrum and help them:

  1. To evaluate the current carbon footprint of the building, focusing on key areas such as energy usage and waste management.
  2. To investigate and propose innovative solutions for reducing CO2 emissions, including the assessment of alternative energy sources like solar power and energy-efficient facility upgrades.
  3. To analyze and optimize waste management practices at the Sportcentrum, aiming to reduce waste production and improve recycling processes.
  4. To explore and implement strategies for behavioral change among Sportcentrum users, promoting eco-friendly practices to enhance the center's overall sustainability.
  5. To provide actionable recommendations on how the VU Sportcentrum can align its operations with sustainability goals, effectively reducing its CO2 emissions and environmental impact.

The anticipated outcome of this project is a dual approach strategy focused on physical infrastructure improvements and community engagement initiatives, contributing to a more sustainable and environmentally conscious VU Sportcentrum.

Depending on your academic background and personal interests, you can choose to focus on either the physical aspects of the building and energy use or the behavioral and waste management aspects, contributing vital research and practical solutions to this significant sustainability challenge.


- You are interested in the people aspect of Sustainability and

- You are a bachelor/master student at VU Amsterdam for the duration of the appointment

- You can come to VU on a regular basis

- You have good oral and written command of the English language

- You are open towards interdisciplinary collaboration and show a welcoming and tolerant work attitude.

- Desired background: Environmental Engineering, Sustainable Design, Energy Management, Environmental Science, Waste Management, Behavioral Psychology, Public Health, Ecology, or other related fields focusing on sustainability, carbon footprint reduction, and eco-friendly practices.

What are we offering?:

By joining the project team, you will gain:

- Sustainability consulting experience

- Flexible desk and a study spot at the Green Office VU

- Peer reviewed publication in “Science for Sustainability” open access academic journal (when thesis is graded above 7.5)

Duration: From 1 February until 30 June 2023 (flexible)

Working hours: Approximately 8 hours per week depending on partner availability

Place: VU Amsterdam and remote

Supervision: TBA

Apply for this project