KU Leuven shifts fully to Ecosia

Leuven Life

15 maart 2020
Article
Auteur(s): Gwynne van Kaauwen
Since the 5th of March the KU Leuven no longer uses Google, but Ecosia as the standard search engine. The initiative was started in cooperation with the Green Office.

Originally written in Dutch for Veto by Daan Delespaul

Translated to English for The Voice by Gwynne van Kaauwen (Contributing Writer)

Originally published on March 3, 2020

Ecosia is a sustainable German search engine which donates 80% of its income to charities that plant trees all over the world. This income mainly comes from ads; for the search results Ecosia works together with Bing, Microsoft’s own search engine.

For a 10 year period this allegedly results in about 70 million new trees. After a year full of climate marches and wildfires in Brazil and Australia, Ecosia reported an increase in the amount of searches by 82%. Now, KU Leuven jumps on the green bandwagon as well.

Ecosia on campus

Concretely, Ecosia will become the standard search engine in all PC-rooms and libraries in Leuven and in the libraries of Brugge, Kortrijk and Antwerp. This fits in the framework of ‘Ecosia on campus’; an initiative of over 70 universities worldwide to set this search engine as the default.

‘At the beginning of the academic year, I started a campaign with the Green Office to promote the search engine,’ says initiator Eline De Witte. ‘Initially the campaign was focused on students, but later on we also reached an agreement with the ICTS (the central IT-service, red.) of the KU Leuven to promote the initiative at the university as well.’

The university was very supportive of the transition to the green search engine: ‘We prepared an entire argumentation to be allowed to try out Ecosia in two libraries,’ says De Witte. ‘However, they were willing to implement it right away in all libraries and PC-rooms.’

The ICTS itself has been busy becoming more green for a couple of years already. For instance, the service invested in a sustainable cooling system for its data center and pushes for environmental awareness concerning printing.