What is a Green Campus ?
Campus Greening– What is Campus Greening ?
We live today in an era of surplus in which consumer products flood the shelves, while the natural world around us is being deplenished. Sustainable development refers to rational use of natural resources so as to preserve the planet as a life supporting habitat for future generations. Many complex environmental issues that relate to sustainability are at the center of the academic and social agenda.
Sustainability is a philosophy of life and a way of life that strives to enable everyone access to environmental, social and economic resources yet defends the rights of future generations as well. Every society has its special concept of sustainability linked to its traditions and environment. Therefore every group may enrich the ideas and activities of others. “Campus Greening“ is a concept which stands for the efforts to establish environmentally sustainable practices in educational institutions the world over. Its goal is to diminish the impact of ecological footprints by implementing the principles of sustainability at every level of institutional functioning.
Experience has shown that “Campus Greening“ relates to the following planes of institutional activity:
Learning Environment (Study Programs)
- Exposing existing environmental components in the college curriculum and introducing additional ones
- Adding environmental components and values in courses for students not specializing in the subject
- Opening environmental components and values to a wider public on the campus
- Training adults who are capable of transferring their new found environmental knowledge and values to the community in which they work and live.
Operational Plane (Environmental Management)
- Lowering consumption
- Applying principles of sustainability to the infrastructure, operations, and the daily routine of the college
- Lowering disposable garbage levels and, as a result, creating less pollution of the environment
- Making environment friendly purchases
- Building plans only in accord with state of the art,“ environmentally friendly“ construction according to ecological planning
Community Plane (Community Integration – The Institution Faces Outward):
Initiating environmental/educational activities and projects together with communities connected with the college: the educational system, the local and global academic community, municipal authorities, the “third world“.
Campus Greening has already been tried in many places around the globe. The University of Chicago started its project in 1999. The initiative came from the Environmental Concerns Organization (ECO) which takes part in the Center for Environmental Quality of the university. Previously the project had focused on the redesign of campus buildings to make them more energy efficient. In 2001 the project grew to include additional activities like the enlargement of university recycling facilities, writing a “green“ handbook with instructions to the students about how to minimize environmental damage on campus, establishing a,“sustainability council“ in which all these activities merge, and cooperating with the campus catering services to promote health foods and organic food.
Another example is Harvard University that initiated a similiar project in 2000 with the intention of transforming the campus into a sustainable, living laboratory. The Harvard experiment stressed the development of programs to further the collection of knowledge and information on sustainability which they sell to other institutions interested in diminishing damage to the environment and conserving resources. The university established a team of experts, which today numbers 19, who, together with 40 students, are improving buildings and making them more sustainable, changing inefficient methods and training work crews to be environmentally friendly, saving energy and cutting down on wasteful practises and, of course, engaging in environmental education. Harvard has begun to focus on “green construction“. The commitment to sustainability and sustainable design gave rise to a green student dormitories building with 145 apartment units. The project was completed in August 2007. The new complex saves 28.2% in energy on 32% less materials than the building which they are recycling.
In Israel, Campus Greening is the initiative of the Ministry for Environmental Protection and the Council for Higher Education with the cooperation of the Technion, the University of Haifa and Tel Hai College. Following the lead of many universities the world over, these institutions cooperated in setting the criteria for “ green“ campuses in Israel. There are already 17 academic institutions in Israel designated as green campuses, among them Kibbutzim College, Tel Aviv University, the Technion, Ben Gurion University in the Negev, Oranim College, Bet Berl College, and the Faculty of Agriculture in Rehovot.(from the website,“ the Sustainability Concept in Design, Art and Architecture“, Amalnet)