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Developing a Sustainable Campus: Strategies for Educational Institutions

sustainable living

A Call to Action for a Greener Tomorrow

As an esteemed educational institution, you want to hold a profound responsibility not only to nurture the minds of the students but also to contribute towards the planet.

Campuses are one of the largest entities for educating for a better tomorrow. Then why not start sustaining educational institutions?

To embrace development towards an eco-friendly tomorrow and save your pocket as well, you shall embrace the beauty of sustainability within the campuses.

Here are five quick key strategies to adapt your institution towards a sustainable future:

Begin Where You Are: Build a Community

  • Empower Students Committee/Club: Start with establishing a club or committee. Focus on creating a safe space for students to form a sustainability club. Students can initiate different activities and awareness, Everyone can pitch ideas related to campus clean-ups and eco-friendly events. These will help the institute to save, sustain and secure the campus.
  • Engage Professors and Staff: You can ask the faculty to conduct webinars and workshops on sustainability practices. Try to make these as engaging as possible. You can conduct an open mic on the campus where students can pitch in their thoughts for sustainability. 
  • Go Local: Team up with NGOs, environmental organisations and government agencies. You can create an upscaling project with them.

Smarter Investments for a Better Tomorrow

  • Light Pocket Investments: Install feasible solar panels, wind turbines, or geothermal installations to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. This way you can save loads on those high electricity bills.
  • Quick Smart System: Install smart lighting systems and energy-efficient appliances. This will make the campus ready for the future, not just financially but sustainably as well.
  • Learn & Reward: Reward students and staff for adapting to sustainable habits. This shall encourage them to boost their sustainable energy-friendly behaviour. You can mix up these rewards as something as simple as seeds and small plants. Reward the students, faculty and staff workers who are putting effort into making the space sustainable.

strategies for developing sustainable campus (1)

Recycle, Upcycle Waste into Resource

  • Create a Waste Management System: Ensure a clear separation of recyclables, compostables, and non-recyclables, with dedicated collection bins and facilities. This will definitely help with sustainability, recycling and waste being useful.
  • From Garden to Plate: Create Fertiliser: Hey! You can make your fertilisers at the campus. Not only that but you can create nutrient-rich fertilisers. All just through the campus garden. You can convert food scraps and yard waste into these amazing rich fertilisers.

Cultivating a Culture of Sustainable Food

  • Support Local and Organic Agriculture: Partner up with the local farmers to fetch fresh, organic produce for campus dining halls and cafeterias.
  • Student-Faculty Workshops: Conduct workshops in the garden. Create a space where everyone can garden, and cultivate their vegetables and herbs. This would be a new experience for the students. This will also create fun beyond classroom learning.
  • Minimise the Menu: Minimise the canteen menu. Look out where you can save on those paper bowls and plates. Use recycled paper for paper bowls. Initiate portion controls to minimise the waste on the campus.

Green Game on: The Knowledge Game

  • Mix Match and Curriculum: Ask the faculty to create a curriculum which includes talking and educating more about incorporating environmentally friendly measures. There could be case studies, courses, and one quick assignment on the same. This will encourage the students for a better sustainable future. Not just for the campus but for the planet altogether.
  • Invite the Experts: Invite lecturers who have done research in sustainability. Encourage student-expert question and answer sessions. Call out activities for small workshops. This shall enlighten the students. These communities, activists and researchers will inspire students for a more sustainable tomorrow.

What Does the Research Say?

According to research on “A Systematic Review of the Sustainable Campus Concept” in May 2022  by Agus Sugiarto, Cheng-Wen Lee,  and Andrian Dolfriandra Huruta; there are many more ways to make a sustainable campus. Here are more ways to build a sustainable campus:

Strengthening Leadership Commitment

  • Leading by Green Example: The leaders of the university can motivate the rest of the campus. This will not only inspire the students but also create an interactive environment. This means presidents, deans, and department heads actively practising and promoting eco-friendly behaviours like using reusable water bottles, biking to work, and participating in campus clean-up events.
  • Policy for a Better Tomorrow: State clear In-Campus policies for everyone that prioritise sustainability. This could include reducing single-use plastics in cafeterias, implementing bike-friendly infrastructure, or even offering incentives for energy-efficient dorm living.
  • Championing Sustainable Initiatives: University leaders can become driving forces behind Sustainable Campus Programmes, actively allocating resources, establishing dedicated teams, and promoting initiatives across departments and student groups.

Building Green Engagement

  • Revamp the Eco-Culture on the Campus: Create an eco-friendly culture on the campus. Organise green movie classes, and eco-friendly themes.
  • Extracurricular Green Sprout: Supplement academic learning with practical experiences. Offer hands-on workshops on composting, rainwater harvesting, or upcycling, engaging students in real-world sustainability solutions.
  • Engaging Every Voice: Create platforms for open dialogue and feedback. Student committees, campus-wide surveys, and interactive forums can empower students and staff to contribute ideas and actively participate in shaping the green future of the campus.
  • Aiming for Green Fame: Participating in Sustainable Campus ranking programmes can be a powerful motivator. The external recognition can drive internal improvements, encourage healthy competition, and showcase the campus’ commitment to sustainability to a wider audience.

Source: Sustainable Campus Research

Conclusion

Remember, the journey towards a sustainable campus is not a sprint, but a marathon. It requires unwavering commitment, collaborative effort, and a constant thirst for innovation. By adopting these strategies and fostering a culture of environmental consciousness, we can transform our campuses into beacons of sustainability, nurturing future generations of responsible global citizens and setting a powerful example for the world.

Embrace the challenge, ignite the green flame, and let’s embark on this journey together towards a thriving, sustainable future for our campuses and our planet.

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