UWC Remains Africa's Greenest Campus
The University of the Western Cape (UWC) was crowned Africa's Greenest Campus at the third national Association of College and University Housing Officers International (ACUHO-I) Southern Africa Chapter African Green Campus Initiative conference, held at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University from 29 June to 4 July 2014.
The African Green Campus Initiative is an independent higher education student programme that addresses the climate change challenges facing our universities, colleges and communities. It's based on the notion that campuses that address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and integrate sustainability into their curricula will better benefit students and help create a thriving, modern community.
UWC's Green Campus Initiative was assessed on energy efficiency, water conservation, biodiversity and nature reserves, green buildings, green purchasing, green programming, waste reduction and recycling, green leadership and innovation – and naturally, UWC excelled in all of them, receiving the overall Outstanding Award for an Advanced University.
Cited UWC projects included the Back to Earth Campaign, an initiative that raises awareness about making recycling a daily practice, and the Residence Leaders' Green Campus Initiative (GCI) programmes, including food security, food gardens, green debates and workshops
offered by GCI as part of allowing green ideas, and many more.
“UWC management, service providers, media and students have once again proven that, working together, we can move our campus into the future,” said UWC Green Team Leader and Residential Services Officer, Njabulo Maphumulo. “It's no wonder many universities have come to see UWC as a green benchmark.”
The University is no stranger to greening – it's the second time UWC has taken home the prize, having been elected national Green Campus of the Year in 2012, the inaugural year of the GCI conference. And for 2014/2015, GCI is leading the campus in going 200% green – cutting water and electricity useage, renovating older buildings to be more green, and more.
“UWC going 200% green means making greening part of our daily lives,” explained Njabulo. “The aim of the campaign is to encourage students, staff and service providers to ensure that during their daily operations, greening is observed – and to urge us all to be more green than we've ever been before.”
The 2014 GCI conference, themed “Student Housing Creating Green Legacies”, also featured presentations and training seminars focused on sharing knowledge on climate change, energy efficiency, the conservation of natural resources, educating for sustainability and creating a healthy living and learning environment for students and staff alike. There was also a Green Fashion show, showcasing garments made from recyclable material.
“It's about sharing experiences, best practice and networking with knowledgeable people
so that the next generation is better equipped to care for our national resources,” explained conference convener, Sammy Elie. “That’s the only way we can solve the challenges facing us all.”
Check out the video of the conference “couch” chats here. Pictures and presentations are also available via Dropbox here and here (respectively).