RU Environmental Award Winners 2011
Congratulations to the 2011 Environmental Award winners. They are Paul Juby (individual category), Environmental Learning Research Centre (institute / department category), and Calata House (student society / residence category). Their efforts to implement environmentally sound practices and promote sustainability were honoured at a celebratory function on Friday 7 October, hosted by the RU Environmental Committee. After handing out the unique and beautiful floating trophies and framed certificates, the Vice Chancellor Dr Saleem Badat commended the winners. Their names will appear in the Rhodes University graduation booklet, and be placed on an Environmental Awards Honours Roll. More about the winners (photos by Adrian Frost):
Paul Robert Juby has played an ongoing role in environmental awareness in his residence, putting up posters advocating the switching off of showers and lights when they are not required, taking readings of the electricity and water meters, graphing these and publishing the results so residents know how much they are using and the extent of their environmental impact. He maintains the Winchester House rain water tank, and recently fitted it with a top filter which keeps out debris, insects and animals. He also involved fellow residents in planting fruit trees in their back garden, and drew a diagram showing their positions and the proposed sites for additional trees. His hope is that each year more trees will be added to this orchard, for the benefit of all in Winchester House.
This young student has played a significant role in promoting environmental awareness in Allan Webb Hall. He chairs the Allan Webb environmental committee (in this its first year of existence), which has initiated a number projects. For the Allan Webb earth hour, the entire hall switched off their lights and gathered on St Peters lawns where a quiet night was had along with a short talk/lesson from the Chairman of AstroSoc. During Rhodes University environmental week, he played a role in the production of green ribbons for sale, proceeds of which will be donated to the Rhodes University Green Fund. He has also been involved in the donation of shade trees to Ntsika secondary school, so that in years to come, there will be shade in what is currently a rather ‘barren’ playground. He approached the SRC, who agreed to donate trees, and together with the SRC and 30 Allan Webb Hall students, planted the trees at the school. The aim of this project is to engage the community and pupils of Ntsika in the planting process, as well as promoting environmental awareness and sustainability.
Calata House (previously Hilltop 3): In just one year, this student residence has already contributed to the greening of Rhodes University’s peripheries. The residence was built with the intention of being at the forefront of the University’s shift towards a more environmentally friendly campus. This included the installation of motion sensor lighting and the inclusion of an energy efficient heat pump system.
The House committee has embarked on a long term environmental project involving the rehabilitation of the area surrounding the residence as well as a move towards reducing their carbon footprint. Their project was inspired by the Green Fund Run held last year, where Spekboom truncheons were distributed to all participants. Students in the residence have already planted an estimated 220 Spekboom slips in the surrounding area which had been severely degraded during construction.
Spekboom is indigenous to the Eastern Cape and is known to have an exceptionally high carbon sequestration rate. Planting Spekboom has thus helped the residence to collectively reduce its carbon foot print. They will continue to plant Spekboom in years to come. The land rehabilitation project will gradually move beyond their own residence and into the greater Grahamstown community, with the aim of creating a tradition in their residence and growing legacy of caring for and rehabilitating our environment.
Environmental Learning Research Centre (ELRC): This new university-community facility was established at Rhodes University through a partnership with the Makana Municipality, DEA and SANBI in 2010. It houses a post-graduate programme in environment and sustainability education, a social learning research network, and an internationally recognised research programme focussing on environmental learning, agency and societal change and associated implications for education and training systems in South Africa. The ELRC also hosts a number of community engaged programmes and projects, which form part of a Sustainability Commons initiative, a social learning project which is an integral part of the Makana Regional Centre of Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development.
The ELRC is housed in a building that boasts a variety of ‘green’ technologies. Using the smallest demonstration unit for these technologies, it serves as public education site for sustainable living. It provides an open space for students and the broader community (both young and old) to creatively explore sustainability. The unit’s approachable and highly knowledgeable lecturers are open and willing to share information on sustainability, as well as supporting and encouraging students and organisations in their sustainability projects and endeavours.
The ELRC also promotes sustainability beyond Rhodes campus, hosting workshops for the broader community and engaging with African universities across the continent. The unit has created scores of high quality graduates who have gone on to promote sustainability across the planet, filling many leadership roles in the environment and education sectors.
More info on the RU Environmental Awards.
Go to the Rhodes University ENVIRONMENT front page. Suggestions/Questions? Contact environment(at)ru.ac.za