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‘Board, you must switch to a sustainable search engine’

Green Office and student factions argue for Ecosia

‘Board, you must switch to a sustainable search engine’

In a letter to the board of directors, Green Office ambassadors and the student parties in the university council argue that the UG should switch to ‘green’ search engine Ecosia.
12 April om 16:27 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 13 April 2021
om 16:34 uur.
April 12 at 16:27 PM.
Last modified on April 13, 2021
at 16:34 PM.

Door Felien van Kooij

12 April om 16:27 uur.
Laatst gewijzigd op 13 April 2021
om 16:34 uur.

By Felien van Kooij

April 12 at 16:27 PM.
Last modified on April 13, 2021
at 16:34 PM.

Felien van Kooij

Student-redacteur
Volledig bio
Student editor
Full bio

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.

Time for a change

‘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.’

Privacy

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.

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