This study aims to describe the process leading the climate emergency declaration (CED) at the University of Salamanca. In contrast to similar initiatives, this was achieved with the participation of students on the social movement Fridays For Future Salamanca.
The context of the CED is described. Statements in Spanish universities are used for comparison and internal reports and evaluations were analyzed to measure the progress. Testimonies from the proponents of the declaration and from the agents implementing actions were classified to describe the roles and dynamics involved in the participatory process. Twitter and newspapers are also used to complete the data triangulation.
The results show that Climate Emergency has been enriched by a bottom-up approach, generating challenges and opportunities to take into account when considering community participation. A university that aspires to be a role model for a low-carbon future needs to address how to construct efficient participatory mechanisms. In that matter, the authors propose their experience that might be useful for other institutions.
The CED is a common practice in universities but it is not always associated with specific actions and policies. In this case, the main feature is the students participation, in particular the social movement Fridays For Future.
The authors acknowledge USAL for allowing the investigation around the CED, specially Javier Carbonero Ciria and María del Mar Marcos Martín, the environmental technicians at the Green Office.
Reyes-Carrasco, P.M., Ferrari, E., Ruíz Méndez, C. and Barrón Ruíz, A. (2022), "Bottom-up approach: the participation of Fridays For Future in the climate emergency declaration in the University of Salamanca", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-09-2021-0380
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