Published: 19 May 08:30 2022 – Last updated 19 May 09:26 2022
– In order to make good environmental and climate choices, I think it is important that the initiative comes from above and below.
This is what the student Benedicte Steinbakk, who is one of the students who have already signed up for the Erasmus bus, says. She is going on an exchange to the Netherlands.
The Erasmus bus is an offer for students who are going on an exchange. It requires a free bus trip to the Nordics, and the opportunity to cover the rest of the trip, as long as it is not by plane.
The idea of the project is that the bus trip itself can create new friendships between people who, for example, go to the same place, as well as contribute to more students having the chance to choose an environmentally friendly travel route.
– Making green choices today is not always easy due to system failures in society. It must be prioritized differently both economically and politically, Steinbakk believes.
That is how it works
The project is sponsored with 160,000 kroner by the climate fund for the University of Bergen (UiB) and will initially be for students from the Norwegian School of Management (NHH), Høgskulen på Vestlandet (HVL) and UiB.
Surveys done for Erasmus Student Network (ESN) in 2020 showed that 75 percent of exchange students chose to fly to the host country, while nearly 20 percent chose the bus or train. The reason for the choice was largely economy and time. This is despite the fact that many students are worried about climate change.
Adrian Kjær, who is responsible for the project, says that the cost behind the bus offer itself is DKK 62,000.
The journey goes from Bergen to Oslo, before heading towards Fredrikstad with accommodation, and then on to Gothenburg, Lund and Copenhagen.
For students who are to travel further, a fund can cover travel costs of 1000 kroner, against documentation.
– The bus runs via Oslo, so I want Bergen students who live in Oslo to jump on there and not go to Bergen, says Kjær.
Challenging with planning
– We do not have a concrete estimate of how this will turn out when it comes to climate goals, climate accounts or emissions, but it has great potential, says Kjær about what the project has to say for UiB’s goal of becoming climate neutral by 2030.
He further elaborates that this is a pilot project, but that they want them to be able to expand the project over time.
– Now we have one bus, but maybe in the future we can get more on the track. We can also see opportunities to have a network of buses in collaboration with other institutions and partners. But before that, needs must be identified, he says.
He adds that different semester starts at other campuses can be challenging for planning.
Steinbakk also sees the challenges of finding the best solution for the expansion.
– All solutions have a downside. It can be silly to set up more buses if there are only three in the bus, for example, she says.
Both Kjær and Steinbakk think it is stupid that it is difficult to travel environmentally and climate-friendly, and that it is a good choice price both for the wallet, in terms of time and other things.
– But maybe the Erasmus bus can be a start and form a small environmental sprout in those who travel, Steinbakk concludes with a smile.