[Photo]: Ir Professor Alexander Wai, Vice President (Research Development), Chairman of Campus Sustainability Committee
With the increasing number of students and staff joining the University after the rolling out of the new four-year undergraduate programme in recent years, PolyU has been undergoing an exciting period for sustainable development, new initiatives and programmes to drive for excellence in both campus sustainability and social responsibility education to the University community.
Since 2011, the Campus Sustainability Committee (CSC) has been taking lead in promoting sustainability in planning, development, and operations of the campus environment and facilities. The committee engages students and staff in green practices and programmes, and oversees the planning and implementation of sustainability policies and strategies across all facets of campus life and development. Progress in advancing sustainability was evident with the support derived from the University community. In early 2015, we have re-branded and upgraded the network of Departmental Environmental Coordinators to Departmental Green Officers, which further empowers departmental representatives with increased recognition and responsibilities to promote sustainability awareness at departmental level. Being the backbone of the University’s sustainability roadmap, 6 campus sustainability polices were officially issued in August 2014 which set out the primary direction of sustainability development of PolyU. These policies were endorsed by the President’s Executive Committee subsequent to a campus-wide consultation.
PolyU is resource-conscious and mindful of our energy spending, and we have achieved significant resource-saving achievements. In addition to hardware upgrading and infrastructure enhancement, a growing emphasis is evident in building awareness on environmental measures and driving behavioral change of the University community.
PolyU has organized a variety of campaigns and activities for the University community on campus to engage students and staff, to equip them with sustainability knowledge, and to motivate them to practise environmentally friendly and healthy lifestyle. We encourage students to play an important role in promoting a green living style through initiating special activities on campus and in the halls of residence. Being the signature sustainability event on campus, PolyU organizes the Campus Sustainability Weeks on an annual basis, providing an excellent platform to communicate and exchange with different stakeholders on various green messages and topics on sustainability through a wide range of engaging activities.
As an education and research institution, PolyU strives to incorporate creativity and technology innovation in realizing its sustainability initiatives. Our environmental innovation achievements yield high impacts and are well recognized both locally and internationally. Whenever feasible, we would apply relevant environmental innovation for trial use on our campus, allowing a “Test Bed” for our researchers to try out their new green technologies or methodologies conveniently. A typical example is our “Eco-Block” with remarkable de-polluting feature. PolyU also steers large-scaled innovative research to tackle community and social problems, such as the innovative urban development proposal of “Green Deck” which aims to tackle the environmental challenges unique to the vicinity of the Hung Hom district. In 2014/15, our experts have undertaken nine associated research projects, in which the innovative proposals aim to confront the identified challenges in the neighboring area and help improve the quality of life of the residents in the community.
Contributing to an inclusive society, PolyU fosters a culture of community service and prepares students to become civic-minded professionals with a heart to serve. Our Service-Learning education cultivates students’ sense of civic responsibility, social awareness and caring disposition, fostering the university-wide culture of philanthropy, and enhances students’ problem-solving skills and social responsibility. We witness an increasing number of Service-Learning subjects being offered, and an increasing number of students enrolled.
With the continual and affirmed progress of PolyU’s campus sustainability development, the University is placing growing effort on inciting behavioral changes, engaging stakeholders, integrating sustainability considerations in more and more aspects of daily operations. We eye on adopting effective mechanism to ensure that PolyU’s governance model and organizational values towards the development of a sustainable community are fully respected and realized. We devise various sustainability goals and devise practical strategies to achieve them and keep track of the University’s environmental performance. We look forward to seeing the culture of sustainability to be continuously promoted and cultivated among younger generation, to blossom in the University community, and to benefit the society at large.