Zuzka over Canopy: a new student community about sustainability

The community Canopy, established in January, aims to bring Radboud students with an interest in sustainability together. Community manager Zuzka talks about setting up Canopy and the first major event: four lunch lectures on 'plant-based diets' later this month.

This year, Zuzka (21), from the Czech Republic, started her bachelor's degree in biology at Radboud University. Alongside her studies, she quickly became the community manager of the Radboud Green Office, meaning she is the external contact person for all students with questions about or interest in sustainability. Within six months, she had built a strong network with twenty active members and a hundred others who are engaged online. As a first step, Zuzka reached out to the boards of various sustainable student organisations and held conversations with many others. ‘Many people were immediately interested. This confirmed our idea that people are looking for a community like Canopy.’

The idea behind the community

Members can decide how active they want to be: you can occasionally attend activities, and there is also space to organise your own events. The idea of Canopy is: ‘for the community, by the community.’ Zuzka: ‘If you want to organise something yourself, we encourage that and can offer support. And if you just want to chat or catch up with others from time to time, you are also very welcome.’

Zuzka emphasizes the importance of offline communication and events: ‘These are the moments where you are really together and connect with others. Especially for people who are new to the community, it’s easier to make contacts in person than to send someone a message online.’ Zuzka wants to be easily approachable: ‘I hope that community members feel comfortable and know that they can always reach out to me.’

The main added value of the community is connecting the various sustainable student organizations, as a stimulus for cooperation and meeting. Bringing people together is what Zuzka enjoys most about her work. ‘When I see people who didn’t know each other before talking and exchanging ideas, it gives me a lot of energy.’

Becoming more conscious of sustainability

Zuzka tries to apply sustainability more and more in her own life and sees a big difference between the Netherlands and her home country, the Czech Republic. Her work at the Green Office teaches her a lot about sustainability, something she hadn’t focused on much at home. ‘I didn’t have much knowledge about sustainability. I was always interested, but I didn’t really know where to start to delve into the subject.’ Thanks to all her new contacts, she is now learning quickly. ‘The awareness of the climate problem and sustainability really hit home for me in the Netherlands.’ This is also thanks to the attention to climate change in her studies. ‘I am now much more aware of my footprint. For instance, I started buying my clothes in second-hand stores and increasingly choose the vegetarian or vegan option at the supermarket. In the Czech Republic, I never thought about eating ‘plant-based,’ but here in the Netherlands, I see that it’s actually quite easy and doable.’

The lunch lectures

There have already been a few social gatherings under the Canopy banner, and now Zuzka, together with two members, has organized four lunch lectures as the first major activity. ‘I find it special that from an initial conversation at a social gathering, four lectures have actually come about.’ The lectures cover four different aspects of a ‘plant-based’ diet and are given by various speakers.


Kookworkshop 1

Lunch lecture: Healthy Eating on Vegan Diet, with Ekta Singh

Kookworkshop 2

Lunch lecture: Transition to Plant-based Diet as a University, with Pinar Coskun

The language of the lectures is English. There will be a free lunch available during the lectures. Click here for more information and to register. Would you like to join the Canopy community? Click here. 

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