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Spreading the sustainability word on campus

Nelly Matar (BSc International Business Administration 2020) has been encouraging fellow students to sign up and take part in more sustainable actions. For example, she advocates ECO coin, an eco- currency that anyone can earn through making sustainable actions. It’s making its way into organisations around the Netherlands, and was used on RSM’s campus in 2018.

What is it about your effort that makes a positive change?

“When they sign up for ECO coin, students get a digital wallet that receives their ECO coins as a reward for sustainable actions such as using a reusable water bottle, taking the stairs, or eating a meat-free meal. When these actions have been verified, participants can spend ECO coins in a sustainable marketplace on ecological goods, services, and experiences. Each ECO coin represents a tree, which means every coin becomes a part of a real ecosystem.”

Why do you do it?

“In addition to the obvious reason of doing something good for society, I grew up in Shanghai and was exposed to a lot of pollution there; sometimes I wasn’t allowed to go outside because of it. Now that I’m at university and have the opportunity to make an impact, I joined ECO coin; it means I can learn how something works in practice as well as valuable theory.”

How can others get involved in doing something with you – or something like what you’re doing?

“Students can get involved by signing up for ECO coin and doing small sustainable actions – and by spreading awareness. For those who want to get even more involved, they can join the ECO coin group on campus. ECO coin also benefits from collaborating with organisations outside of campus, for example Next Nature Network in Amsterdam. We’re often busy with everyday tasks that we don’t realise how small choices and actions can make a difference and contribute to sustainability. ECO coin makes it possible to suggest actions that have a greater impact on ecology.