Green Office and student factions argue for Ecosia
‘Board, you must switch to a sustainable search engine’
Last October, the ambassadors started a petition to get the university to switch. So far, 1,200 people have signed this petition. Reason enough for the ambassadors and other supporters to write to the board directly.
Ecosia plants a tree for every forty-five queries. They pay for this with money they make from advertising. If Ecosia becomes the UG’s standard search engine, the initiators say, it’s a good step towards making the university more sustainable. The current search engine is Google.
‘We want a greener university, and it’s time for change’, says Femke de Ruiter with student faction SOG. DAG, Lijst Calimero, and De Vrije Student also signed the letter. ‘We hope the board takes our suggestion into consideration and that they’ll invite us to come up with a plan. Ultimately, sustainability is important for the university, and switching to a search engine like Ecosia only makes sense.’
The Green Office says there are no technical objections, but the switch can only be made if the board of directors initiates it.
Universities like Ohio State and the University of Maastricht have already installed Ecosia as their standard search engine. ‘The University of Bristol planted three hundred trees in the first months after installing it’, says De Ruiter. ‘That shows the impact it can have.’
There is one issue: the UG has an agreement with Google that guarantees the privacy of its users, and Ecosia does not offer this guarantee in its standard package. ‘However, we could make those arrangements with them.’
In fact, the letter states that overall, Ecosia’s privacy settings are even better. Unlike Google, it doesn’t create user profiles, and it deletes its data every seven days. ‘At some point, we have to make that definitive decision to become a greener university. The board of directors should do so now’, says De Ruiter.