UCC’s Green Campus programme has been recognised by Cork Environmental Forum (CEF) at its annual Environmental Awards under the Public Sector category, the latest in a number of awards received by UCC for its leadership in environmental sustainability.
The award was made at a ceremony in the Firkin Crane Cork on Thursday night, December 5th. Professor John O’Halloran, chair of the UCC Green Forum said: “We very proud to receive this award in recognition of the student-led, research informed and practice focused green initiatives at UCC.
“While receiving international recognition as the world’s first green flag campus is a great benchmark to achieve, local recognition is often the hardest and perhaps the sweetest to get and we are very proud of what our students, staff and stakeholders have achieved in sustainability,” O’Halloran continued.
UCC was awarded the internationally recognised Green Flag by An Taisce and the Foundation for Environmental Education in 2010, the first third level institution worldwide to achieve such a feat. In its first full scale re-assessment in April this year (2013), UCC’s status as Green Flag University was renewed once more.
Green Flag status forms the centrepiece in UCC’s overall Green Campus strategy that is dedicated to ensuring it runs in the most sustainable way possible. Green Sustainability is part of the university’s strategic plan. In the Green Campus Committee and Green Campus Forum, students and staff (both faculty and admin) come together to discuss and initiate various initiatives and projects. This ranges from increasing environmental awareness and ‘green’ informed teaching, to taking concrete measures to ensure the operation of the campus in the fields of energy, waste, recycling, water, travel, commuting and biodiversity remains sustainable.
Mark Poland, director of Buildings and Estates, at UCC said: “we continue to actively promote a range of sustainable practices and another recent win was the success of the UCC Commuter Plan with students and staff.”
The share of cycling among staff has doubled within give years to 12%, with UCC the first Irish university to introduce a free campus bike-sharing scheme.
With a constantly growing community currently numbering some c. 20,000 students and staff, UCC plays an important role in furthering the green credentials of Cork and indeed Ireland, as it informs the next generation of the importance of environmental citizenship.