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30 July 2017
UWC hosts 6th annual green conference

Green Campuses Conference 2017: Promoting sustainable campuses through preserving water

The University of the Western Cape hosted the 6th annual Green Campuses Conference for 2017. The conference ran from 27 to 30 July 2017 under the theme: “Promoting sustainable campuses through preserving water”.

The Conference, focused on water conservation, hosted various student green clubs, societies and structures commonly known as Green Campus Initiatives, alongside their campus advisors and academic staff members.

As the daily news brings more frequent stories of droughts and water shortages around the world, the wise management of potable water is becoming a growing issue for campuses — especially in the more arid parts of the country.

Recognizing this challenge, conference attendees shared information on water conservation initiatives in a wide range of areas, including Eco-Reps programmes, residence hall competitions and behaviour-change outreach. Perhaps most important, students are helping to influence and create sustainability-minded campus water policies and studies, and collecting data and identify key places where water can be conserved.

Greening Campuses - Greening the Future

Since the inception of the conference five years ago at Nelson Mandela University - where UWC was declared Africa’s Greenest Campus (and again in 2014) - the annual green conference has grown from strength to strength.

“We would normally have about 100 green ambassadors, but this year we had over 300,” notes UWC’s Green Campuses Conference convener, Njabulo Maphumulo, who has recently been announced as Executive Board Member of the Association of Colleges and Universities Housing Officers International (ACUHO-I) in Southern African Developing Communities.

“A lot of things have changed from last year, including the Green Business Breakfast which was introduced and funded by UWC, in association with Nedbank for Entrepreneurs in the green sector.”

In order to host the Green Campuses Conference, universities need to hold the Green Campus Award - and to do that, they need to have green facilities and green buildings, and a real dedication to the green lifestyle and sustainable development. Next year the conference is moving to the Durban University of Technology (DUT), whose greening efforts have greatly impressed their fellow universities.

“We would like to congratulate DUT, and wish them the best of luck for the next three years,” says Njabulo. “They have been doing great and have improved over the years, have great support from their University executive and have invested a lot in their staff and students to be part of the conference.”