Greening ULAB Campus Sustainability Program
ULAB Goes Green logoThe first-ever Campus Sustainability Program in Bangladesh!
Campus sustainability has become an issue of global concern due to the impact of the activities and operations of universities have on the environment. Universities today bear the same responsibility to confront environmental challenges as any other organizations, institutions, and municipalities. However, a university, as a whole or as a part, can make unique contributions through research, teaching, outreach, and student initiatives in helping society to make the transition towards sustainability.
Well known for its liberal arts based curricula and academic research, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB) enhances the learning process of its students through instilling socio-environmental knowledge. The Center for Sustainable Development (CSD) of ULAB, launched at ULAB in 2006, plays a key role in this process through its program “Greening ULAB”.
Greening ULAB aims to make the operation of the university more sustainable and environmentally friendly. The framework is organized into four broad categories that complement the existing operational and academic structure; namely:
1. efficient energy consumption,
2. water management,
3. waste minimization and recycling,
4. promoting sustainability in teaching and research.
There are specific subject areas under each category managed by the CSD with active participation of students, faculty members and administration. In April, the action plan of Greening ULAB was presented at the 1st Regional Conference on Campus Sustainability in Malaysia where ULAB received international accolades, especially for its programs on energy conservation and waste recycling.
Sustainable university campuses must address environmental awareness and social well-being. Globally, a range of efficient environmental management initiatives are being considered and implemented by over 400 universities. For instance, energy and resource conservation, biodiversity management, waste reduction, reuse and recycling, use of renewable raw materials, minimization or elimination of use of toxic substances are actively pursued.
Campus sustainability is a continuous process where environmental sustainability practices are continually improved and evaluated.
Worldwide, universities have ratified declarations designed to strengthen their pledge to the commitment and the number is increasing annually. Unfortunately, a commitment is lacking in most universities in Bangladesh. Many universities do have some environmental management or safety measures in place. However, a more integrated approach in decisions making, investments and management is required.
In the current global socio-environmental scenario, as university communities renew their environmental policies and practices, campus sustainability can be integrated to university management and policy making in Bangladesh. There should be provisions for a relevant action plan to sustain itself in the long run to provide a model for graduates to practice this sustainable behavior in their profession and day-to-day lives.