The Big Clean-Up: Green Week at UWC
Hundreds of the University of the Western Cape's green students and staff members – both in the way they were dressed and the way they think – gathered outside of Chris Hani Residence and the New ResLife Building early in the morning on Saturday 27 April 2013 for the Big Green Clean-Up Day.
The Big Clean-Up Campaign was an enormous recycling drive, and saw staff members, students and service providers picking up waste around campus, emptying the bins, and separating waste for recycling. Participants got the opportunity to experience the recycling process/system at UWC. The aim was to raise awareness of environmental issues by educating students and staff on the difference between recyclable and non-recyclable items, and to encourage them to use the correct bins when disposing of waste
The clean-up was led by Njabulo Maphumulo, Coordinator of the Green Campus Initiative (GCI), with the help of student leaders of faith-based ministries including the Student Christian Organisation. Participants included Prestige Cleaning Services Management, Metro Cleaning Managers and the Central House Committee.
The Green Campus Initiative (GCI) is an independent higher education student programme that promotes the improvement of energy efficiency, the conservation of natural resources, and the enhancement of environmental quality by educating for sustainability and creating a healthy living and learning environment for students and staff alike.
The Big Clean-Up was only one part of UWC's Green Week activities. It was preceded by a Green Talk at Cassinga Residence on 26 April, where students openly debated issues related to sustainability, energy and water saving. Students in first year residences recommended more initiatives to reduce electricity and water usage in residences: this includes encouraging the University to measure electricity usage on a monthly basis, conduct competition amongst the University departments for electricity usage, and finally raise a big awareness about saving energy and water around campus to reduce costs and further contribute to the national campaign of saving electricity.
On Sunday 28 April, a Green/Dark Sunday Service was held to raise awareness about energy saving – the Student Christian Organisation conducted their service in darkness to educate members about saving electricity. The service was attended by over 150 members, and was conducted by GCI Campaigners and student leaders. The programme encouraged on-going discussions amongst the faith-based ministries about taking a stance and saving electricity – particularly in the UWC residences.
GCI Campaigns Coordinator Njabulo Maphumulo believes that Green Week is an important part of raising awareness at the University. “Going green is important because it reduces carbon dioxide emissions, reduces harmful impact on the environment, and also helps cut down on costs, considering the rapidly-increasing fuel, energy and water prices. Furthermore, greening creates jobs, meeting government halfway and contributing to a better living environment for the next generation,” he says.
Green Week is about promoting green initiatives on campus through recreation, discussion and open debates. Students filling the role of green ambassadors are partnering with various stakeholders and arranging different events on an at-least daily basis until 10 May 2013.
Activities that will still be running during Green Week include green talks in residences, open green debates, tree planting, green exhibitions, a green walk/pledge, and even a green fashion show.
For more information about Green Week, please contact Njabulo Maphumulo on 021 959 3557 or 079 630 271 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.