The feather – Carla Uwents

A feather in your cap: the feather is a prize passed on from one UAntwerp colleague to another in recognition of their efforts or achievements. This time, Veronique Verhoeven (Department of Family Medicine and Population Health) passes the feather on to Carla Uwents (Environmental Office).

Dear Carla,

Twenty years ago, I got to know you when I first accompanied an expedition to Svalbard for UAntwerp students, where you – an experience expert – gave me tips on how to stay warm and dry in the Arctic. Your ecological commitment was big even then; for instance, I remember you advising me to bring an extra warm jumper for the baby shower for your first son Kobe. At that time, your family was taking part in a challenge to use as little energy as possible with the rest of street.

So it was no surprise when you later returned to the University of Antwerp as an eco-campus supervisor on behalf of the government. Meanwhile, you have been working for the Environment Office for some time now.

In 2009, you co-founded the first climate week at UAntwerp, positively expressing the concern of a, then limited, group of staff and students for our climate.

Soon after, you made great effort to spread ecological awareness throughout the entire university community; I still have the sustainable komida cookbook lying around that you helped compile many years ago. Since then, the whole of UAntwerp catering has been made more sustainable.

You stood at the cradle of the Green Office and the Climate Team, with numerous activities by students for students (e.g. biodiversity walk on campus, eco market, etc.), and very recently you helped prepare UZA’s and UAntwerp’s Green Deal.

Mobility is also an important issue in a large organisation like our university: we have numerous alternatives for sustainable commuting and traffic between campuses, and our own test caravan to try out alternative means of transport.

You show that sustainability is everyone’s responsibility: you discuss this topic with both the UAntwerp administration (ways to reduce our energy bill), and with students (the introduction of reusable cups).

It is a great feeling to know that here, with the help of your team, we can work and study in harmony with our environment. That you served us crickets and worms at a staff party, I’ll just have to accept!

Carla, I know you have a soft spot for magpies. For all your efforts, to keep UAntwerp liveable and to save the world, you deserve not only the feather, but the whole bird!