Green Campuses Conference 2016: Creating Sustainable Green Campuses for Our Communities
The annual Green Campus Initiative Conference hosted at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) – the greenest campus in Africa - saw students, academics, environmentalists and a range of other experts coming from universities all over South Africa to discuss issues regarding environmental sustainability.
The conference took place from Sunday 3 July 2016 to Thursday 7 July 2016 and focused on the theme of “Creating Sustainable Green Campuses for Our Communities”, with speakers discussing such topics as the Green economy, renewable energy, habitat management, water shortages in South Africa, and the skills needed to address these issues.
The Department of the Premier in the Western Cape was represented by Mr Linda Grootboom, and the conference was chaired by Mark Seal, Director of Residential Services at UWC, and Doc Nhassengo, National President of the Association of College and University Housing Officers International South African Chapter (ACUHO-I-SAC).
Attendees were given an opportunity to ask the speakers questions after each presentation, touching on topics like transportation, student residency, water conservation, and green purchasing.
The African Green Campuses Initiative (AGCI) is an independent higher education student programme that addresses environmental challenges facing universities, colleges and communities. The formation of AGCI was underpinned by the belief that colleges and universities must exercise leadership in their communities and throughout society by modelling ways to minimize global warming emissions, and by providing the knowledge needed to achieve climate neutrality.
Delegates had an opportunity to visit noteworthy places such as the National Assembly, Table Mountain, Robben Island and other places of historical and environmental interest in and around Cape Town, including Backsberg Estates’ Carbon Neutral Wine Cellar.
UWC students were praised for making the conference happen, and the role the institution plays in ensuring a green environment, their efforts in the Nature Reserve, the green buildings and the fleet of golf carts around campus powered by Hydrogen fuel cell technology, and more.
Doc Nhassengo said it was ACUHO-I-SAC’s hope that the conference would be used as the start of great things, which would make a real difference and in some way benefit humanity.
“Enjoy your deliberations, being robust and constructive and building the citizenry of the future,” he told delegates. “But remember when you do this, you are entering a global debate and many opportunities and perceptions need to be accounted for through serious engagements with counterparts from other regions.”