Competence Center for Sustainability Transformation and Responsibility (STaR)


WU is committed to protecting and advancing environmental sustainability on its campus. As an institution, the university is certified by EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) as well as ISO 14001:2015. WU is actively engaged in offsetting its annual CO2 emissions as well as in raising awareness of our consumption of energy and resources (note, for example, the real-time WU Energy Screen in the entrance area of the TC Building). More details can be found on our Campus Management website (in German) and in the relevant reports.

There are many ways in which WU seeks to set an example as a socially responsible university. Its family friendly, barrier-free campus, active engagement in Occupational Health Management (if you are staff or faculty, visit the Well-Being@WU SharePoint page in German), and external cooperation with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) are a few of its many concrete initiatives to make responsibility a lived value and practice.

Here are some interesting facts about our campus life:*



200,000 — the number of avocados one could grow with our university’s annual water consumption of 62.5 million liters (2019 est.). Our tip: It is up to each of us to use water sparingly and responsibly. We should also inform ourselves about, and raise public awareness of, the so-called “hidden” water usage (amount of water required in manufacturing products and foods).


Basketball matches

15,000 — the number of complete basketball games that could be played over the course of the 10,000 hours (2019 est.) WU students contribute annually to Volunteering@WU in supporting youth from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds with afterschool tutoring and joint music performances. Our tip: Become a study- or music buddy! We guarantee you will learn more than you teach.


Baby elephant

1— a baby elephant weighs about as much as the organic honey produced annually on our campus (approx. 110kg). There have been active beehives on the roof of D3 Building since 2015. Not only the busy bees but also our students, staff, and visitors can enjoy the great variety of flora on our urban campus. Our tip: Take a minute to stop on your way to class or work and read the info signs about the seasonal plants on campus or visit WU's Urban Garden, with its 25 small lots behind the LC Building.


Taipei 101

3 — how many Taipei 101 towers one could cover using the 1.5km of tactile paving on the WU campus that helps people with visual impairments. WU also operates 90 audio induction loop systems in its lecture halls and event rooms to stream directly to the hearing aids of the hearing impaired. In addition, there are more than a 100 barrier-free restrooms and showers (2019 est.). Our tip: Think about how you can contribute to fostering inclusive study and work environments at WU. And spread the word to incoming students about the existence of the BeAble program!


A special year

1989 — the year the first female professor at WU, Renate Rathmayr, was appointed at the Institute for Slavic Languages. Today, 29% of WU professors are women (see here). To keep this number growing, the Female Scholar Program supports early career researchers, and the Wise Women of WU mentors WU alumnae on career planning. Our tip: Insights on gender sensitive language usage are provided in WU’s official guideline (in English and German). Have a look!


Apollo 11 crews

21 — the number of Apollo 11 Space Shuttle crews represented by the 63 essential workers (staff of the external service provider Götz) who keep WU's buildings and grounds in excellent condition. This team encompasses 11 different nationalities and speaks double that number of languages. During the nationwide COVID-19 lockdowns, the cleaning staff not only continued but also intensified its disinfection operations. Our tip: Saying "hello" and "thank you" is the least we can do and should continue doing, pandemic or not.



Our campus is carbon neutral! Of course, this does not mean that WU emits no CO2. In fact, our university’s emissions are proportionate to its size—at around 655 tons a year (2019 est., excluding faculty travel). However, WU offsets this number by supporting three sustainability projects, two in Austria and one in Rwanda. Our tip: Although WU actively strives to reduce its carbon footprint as an institution, it cannot account for our individual behavior. If you can, join the 25% of our employees and students who already bike or walk to campus and also reduce your air travel.  


Wiener Riesenrad

430 tons — how much the Wiener Riesenrad in Prater weighs, similar to the total number of tons of annual waste generated on our campus (2019 est.). WU’s waste-reduction initiatives include waste separation and recycling options as well as awareness-raising campaigns, such as BYOB (Bring Your Own Box) or the Vienna-wide reusable coffee cup system. Our tip: Support our Environmental Management team's efforts, respect the work of our cleaning staff, continue BYOBing for take-out lunches, and do not forget that small steps lead to big changes.

*The fun fact-comparisons on this page were prepared by Dorian Aigner (STaR Graduate Student Assistant, Summer 2020) and Susan Üstün (STaR Graduate Student Assistant, Fall 2020). All statistics are based on official WU sustainability reports.