Inauguration of the USI House of Sustainability in Airolo

Institutional Communication Service

This morning, the new university antenna located in the Alpine setting, a prime location for observing and tackling major sustainability issues, was officially inaugurated in Airolo. The ceremony was attended by USI Rector Luisa Lambertini, State Council President Raffaele De Rosa, Airolo Mayor Oscar Wolfisberg, and Vice-President of the House of Sustainability Scientific Commission, Massimo Filippini.

 "The USI House of Sustainability is a tangible project that exemplifies the commitment of the Università della Svizzera italiana towards environmental, social, and economic sustainability. The project began in 2018 and is now a reality, thanks to the contribution of various actors, both academic and non-academic, who supported this vision and made today's milestone possible. The House of Sustainability is now USI's northernmost antenna, covering the entire Canton and representing not only our commitment to a more sustainable future but also acting as a catalyst for innovation and collaboration in this crucial area." - stated USI Rector Luisa Lambertini. "USI is committed to promoting sustainability in all its forms and intends to play a leadership role in this regard. In addition to the House of Sustainability project, which was inaugurated this morning, the University has initiated efforts to support research, teaching, and third-mandate activities related to sustainability in a structured manner. These efforts have been taken to the Pro-rectorate level to ensure that sustainability remains a key priority for the University."

"We have received further confirmation that the peripheral areas of our Canton have great potential, even though they may be remote. The Upper Ticino region is a prime example of this potential, as it offers unique resources and is broadening its horizons beyond just tourism. It is increasingly being recognised as a scientific hub, as it has become home to various scientific projects," stressed Raffaele De Rosa, President of the Council of State. "The USI House of Sustainability is part of a network that can only be further strengthened following the scheduled motorway works at Airolo."

Airolo Mayor Oscar Wolfisberg reiterated how "The House of Sustainability's presence is not just an opportunity for Airolo, but for the entire Alta Leventina region. The region will no longer be seen as a peripheral location but as a place that contributes to the education of young people and international research. The USI antenna will increase the cultural offerings of the region and create synergies for the valley's development and revaluation. This operation will have a positive impact on the village's image and induced activities, particularly for restaurants, service, and local businesses." 

"The House of Sustainability is a place for training and promoting sustainable development that is based on experiential learning," emphasised the Vice-President of the House of Sustainability Scientific Commission, Massimo Filippini. "In the Alpine region, it is possible to observe and study the major themes of sustainability closely. Students from different faculties will have the opportunity to experience as active players an education in direct contact with nature and with economic and social realities through moments of experimentation, confrontation, group work and community life." 

During the event, Giovanni Pellegri, head of the House of Sustainability and lecturer at the Alpine seminars, and Cristina Gianella, coordinator of the House of Sustainability, emphasised the educational value of the Alpine landscape and illustrated the events open to schools and the public that will revitalise this Alpine venue of the University. In Airolo, thanks to L'ideatorio, the regional branch of the Science et Cité Foundation, a programme of events will be offered and a new planetarium has been set up inside the building.  

The event featured alternating speeches, images, and sounds, with two musical pieces performed by Duo Àmar (Rocío Sánchez Gallego and Elia Pellegri).


The House of Sustainability 

The House of Sustainability is a project born from the synergy between the Municipality of Airolo and Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) with the aim of creating a flagship location in Ticino for education and reflection on sustainable development, starting from the encounter with the Alpine region. The Alps, especially the Gotthard region, provide an excellent opportunity to study and explore some of the most significant challenges of our time, including climate change, preserving biodiversity, energy production, transportation, tourism, and more. In the House, students will have a chance to meet experts from various fields and reflect on how to create a society that doesn't compromise the quality of life for future generations.

The House of Sustainability's educational and training activities are intended for the entire USI community, as well as for schools, groups, organisations and companies wishing to explore sustainability issues in greater depth.  The House will also host the activities of L'ideatorio USI, including the astronomical planetarium, and will also be the base for the activities of the USI Sports Service. 


Partners in the initiative 

The House of Sustainability was built through a collaboration between the Municipality of Airolo and Università della Svizzera italiana, with the support of the Cantonal Office for Economic Development and the Bellinzona and Valleys Regional Development Agency. Additionally, several major sponsors, including BancaStato, AIL, and SBB, contributed to the project, ensuring its quality and content.




Sustainability finds home in Airolo (in Italian)
Video report on the inauguration - Il Corriere del Ticino (in Italian)
Video report on the inauguration - Il Quotidiano RSI (in Italian)