NUIG has been awarded that internationally recognised Green Flag accreditation for promoting sustainability and reducing its environmental impact.
The Green Flag was awarded to the university by An Taisce under its Green-Campus programme on behalf of the Foundation for Environmental Education.
NUIG was granted this status after a rigorous assessment process that examined how the university has reduced its own environmental footprint and promoted a more sustainable future to its students.
The University recently hit a major milestone by cutting its energy usage by 34% since 2006, exceeding a target of a one-third cut by 2020 in a metric audited and validated by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.
A new target of a 40% reduction by 2020 has been set on the back of this achievement.
Other projects considered include NUI Galway’s participation in the the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, introducing a planting scheme that’s friendly to pollinating plants and insects, as well as introducing composting stacks, bird boxes and insect hotels to the Biodiversity Trail and other locations across campus and setting up herb beds and two fruit gardens for staff and students.
The university curriculum also reflects this shift in focus with 230 modules across all Colleges that contain an element on, or a focus on, sustainability.
Prof. Pól Ó Dochartaigh Registrar and chair of the university Sustainability Project said that NUIG’s work towards a greener campus has been about recognising that everyone has a role to play in building a more sustainable society.
“Universities have a particular responsibility to promote sustainability through education, knowledge exchange, research, corporate social responsibility and shaping future agendas,” he added.
“A sustainable campus is one which maintains a green and healthy environment, promotes the use of resources efficiently and instils in graduates and staff the importance of tackling environmental challenges.”
The Community and University Sustainability Project at NUIG was set up in 2015 to spread information to the large audience at their disposal about greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity and many other areas touching on environmentalism.
Michael John O’Mahony, Director of the Environmental Education Unit of An Taisce congratulated NUIG on being awarded the Green Flag, saying that the collaboration of staff, students, and contractors to make a greener campus should be applauded.
The Green-Campus Programme is an international environmental education and award scheme operated by An Taisce which encourages large scale action at colleges to reduce their environmental impact and use their resources to promote sustainability.
It focuses on five key themese of energy, waste, travel, biodiversity and water.
Lorraine Rushe, Environmental Manage at NUIG said “Each theme poses its own unique challenges but is essential to ensuring that our campus achieves environmental, social and economic sustainability, which will benefit us now and into the future”.