The earth is facing numerous crises, including those in the environment, food, and energy. Add to this the exploitation of our natural resources, and the result? Severe problems like decreased air quality and global climate change. Take Europes raging forest fires. They are a result of rising temperatures and persistent drought. Moreover, leaders across the continent are scrambling to face the challenges arising from the impending gas shortage forecast this winter.
There is simply no escape! Sustainability is a critical and universal concern. As the climate crisis worsens, we can no longer put it off. However, becoming sustainable doesn’t happen overnight. It takes several baby steps, sometimes challenging and some into the unknown, to take sustainability to the next level and beyond.
India is committed to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It believes the education system has a significant role in achieving Sustainable Development Goals.
Acknowledging the growing need and concerns, University Grants Commission (UGC) 2020 proposed a sustainable campus framework to outline the principles for achieving a green and sustainable campus environment for Indian Higher Education Institutions. It will help make institutions more environment-friendly and educate the youth on the importance of ecological balance and long-term growth.
In this light, Shoolini University has taken several steps to combat climate change, including using renewable energy sources, decreasing reliance on fossil fuels for transportation, increasing participation in communal cooking, and cultivating drought-resistant plant varieties in agriculture. The university believes in the dire need for higher education institutions (HEIs) to address sustainability concerns. This can be done by creating awareness, imparting education, framing policies, and, most importantly, cutting-edge research.
Please keep reading if you have ever wondered about sustainable development and why it’s essential for the survival of all species on earth.
What is Sustainable Development?
The most widely accepted definition of sustainable development is, To meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
In other words, sustainable development is the way for a country to develop economically without compromising the quality of the environment for future generations.
The three main goals of sustainable development are:
Economic growth means building a robust and competitive economy. This can be done by ensuring that sufficient and the correct type of land is available in the right places and at the right time to support growth and innovation. Later, this will identify and coordinate development requirements.
Environmental protection helps to protect and enhance both our natural and built environments. It helps improve biodiversity, use natural resources wisely, reduce waste and pollution, adapt to climate change, and move towards a low-carbon economy on a global scale.
Social inclusion supports strong, vibrant, and healthy communities by ensuring enough housing to meet the needs of both the current and future generations. Also, it needs to be confirmed that there are high-quality developments with local services that reflect the community’s needs and support its health, social, and cultural well-being.
Importance of Self-Sustainability
Another term for environmentally sustainable economic growth is sustainable development. The goal is to achieve harmony between environmental, economic, and socio-political sustainability. Sustainable development always encourages us to conserve and enhance our resources by gradually altering how we develop and use technology. Every country must meet its basic needs for employment, food, energy, water, and sanitation. Everyone has the right to live in a healthy, safe, and clean environment. This is easily accomplished by lowering pollution, poverty, and unemployment.
Why is sustainable development significant?
- Making judicious use of resources and striving to maintain ecological balance.
- Emphasising preservation of the environment and halting its deterioration.
- Prevent overutilisation of resources.
Sustainable and Energy-Efficient Campus
Shoolini University has been ranked No.2 in the world in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for Affordable and Clean Energy and 6th in the Water Usage and Care category by Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings 2022.
The university has bagged the award for one of India’s most inspiring, green, and cleanest campuses. With exotic and indigenous plant species dotting this unique learning space and infrastructure integrated with nature, the university has become a popular spot for sustainable development.
Sustainability through on-campus initiatives
- Waste Management: The University is taking steps to dispose of and decompose garbage waste generated on the campus instead of burning it. It also promotes maximum reuse-recycle to minimise the use of disposable articles on campus.
- Energy Policy: Under the energy policy, all buildings are renovated, designed, and constructed as per energy-efficient solar passive and environment-friendly technologies. Shoolini University has installed a 400 kWp rooftop photovoltaic power plant on the campus to meet its energy requirements partially. It produces two times more electricity than it requires by installing solar power plants.
- Plantations: The campus is home to a variety of plants that maintain ecological greenery. Students plant trees on campus and even geo-tag them for visitors.
- Cleanliness Drives: Several cleanliness drives are held on the campus from time to time, involving NSS volunteers, faculty members, and students.
- Discourage the use of plastic: Usage of plastic bags, plastic crockery, thermoplastic and plastic dustbins is prohibited on the campus.
- Water Conservation: A Sewage Treatment Plant and an Effluent Treatment Plant are installed on the campus to treat sewage water and wastewater from hostels and research laboratories, respectively. Recycled sewage water is used for gardening, rainwater harvesting, and drip irrigation to conserve water and nutrients.
- Passive Solar Housing Policy: The university has developed a Yogananda Ville with several solar huts on the campus using sustainable building materials like wood, bamboo, slate, stone, mud, stabilised mud blocks, etc.
- Installation of eco-friendly bins: Different eco-friendly bamboo-based dustbins (blue for non-biodegradable and green for bio-degradable) are installed across the campus in various locations to separate wet and dry garbage. This also generates income for local bamboo basket artisans.
- Electric vehicles/Carts: Use of non-polluting electric vehicles for in-campus transportation and reducing carbon emissions.
- Solar thermal cooking system: The university has installed a solar thermal cooking system that provides for cooking food for hostel students.
- Solar streetlights and LED lights: Solar streetlights are installed throughout the campus to reduce dependence on conventional electricity and to utilise clean energy sources. Also, 90% of the university lights have been replaced with energy-efficient LED lights.
- e-Studios: Our cutting-edge e-studios are revolutionising online education. These wonderfully crafted eco-friendly log huts provide a one-of-a-kind educational experience, complete with state-of-the-art technology such as high-speed Internet, Ethernet, whiteboards, and lightboards for streamlined online lectures.
Find out more details: Community Building Programmes
Shoolini University is committed to building a more sustainable future with researchers and students. The campus doesnt just offer students an abundance of knowledge but also stimulates a dynamic learning environment. The university provides an ideal atmosphere where students can grow as individuals and as professionals.
Shoolini University is prepared to grasp the opportunity to rebuild a better and greener future. Are you? We hope after reading this blog you will be inspired to do your bit… sustainably!