Professor Poovendree Reddy from the Department of Environmental Health at the Durban University of Technology believes that the idea of a green campus can only be realized if there is a concerted effort from all stakeholders to make it a reality. She was speaking during the 7th Annual Green Campuses Conference hosted by the Durban University of Technology. currently taking place at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College.
The 2018 GCI conference is being held at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Howard College. This year’s theme is: ‘Land and Marine Polution’, and it aims to encourage students and staff to “think green” by recycling and promoting climate interventions at college and university campuses. An estimated 380 students from different universities around the country including, the university of Johannesburg, University of Free State, University of Western Cape are part of the conference.
Reddy emphasized the importance of broader involvement on campus greening initiatives, and that it should not only be driven by students but staff members and the academia should participate.
“There is a need for academics to be involved. They need to leave their offices and get involved because they are also parents to students. As academics we have an obligation to our students to do right,” said Reddy.
‘Re-energizing campus sustainability’ was the slogan for this year’s event, and various key speakers spoke on topics such as “Zero waste on campus” and “Waste Management in the Cities”.
Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement, Professor Sibusiso Moyo highlighted that universities must be accessible to its students.
“We want us, as universities, to be more accessible and when you leave you should be successful so that you (as a student) can bring change in the communities you are from. We have to be the change that we want to see. We have to impact our communities in a positive and practical way” said Moyo.
Phumulani Mnyango, Conference Convener, said they are happy with how the conference is progressing. “We started this conference on a high note and I was very impressed with our speakers. We need to be able to influence government policies and change how we use our environment. I hope our students can absorb information and implement it on their campuses,” said Mnyango.
Associate Conference Chairperson, Dr. Euvette Taylor said the purpose of conferences like these is to provide an opportunity to self-reflect on our actions.
“I hope after this conference every student questions every single thing they do [in terms of waste management]. Think about where will it end up. Think about what you are touching and where it will end up,” said Taylor.
Student and Chairperson of the DUT Green Campus Initiative, Nompilo Luthuli, said she is very happy that everything is going according to plan. “Our university hosted the green conference for the first time and we are the first executive committee members to be involved in planning and preparations. I think we did a good job and I hope everyone learned something valuable,” said Luthuli.
The 7th Annual Green Campuses Conference started on 01 July and will conclude tomorrow (Thursday), 05 July 2018. The conference is co-hosted by the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Durban University of Technology in partnership with the Association of colleges and university housing Officer- International in Southern Africa (ACUHO-I).
Pictured: President of Association of Colleges and University Housing offices – International(ACUHO-I) Quitin Koetaan. Department of Environmental Health DUT, Professor Poovendree Reddy, Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement, Professor S Moyo and Conference Convener, Mr Phumlani Mnyango.