DCU take on new environmental standards for EcoCampus Scheme

By Lauren Ennis

DCU is one of twenty-five Irish campuses that are working to promote environmental education as part of the EcoCampus programme.

The programme which was initially launched in Ireland in 2007,  was set up as a ‘Green Schools’ programme for third level institutions and has since recognised 25 campuses in Ireland for their environmental standards.

The Green Campus programme allows each college to choose their own personal theme and projects based on their local environment.

The long term plan set out as part of DCU’s environmental strategy is to increase the number of students and staff members taking public transport daily to 90 per cent and to also achieve a carbon neutral campus.

“We now have 16,000 students and 2,000 staff in a 2.5km radius, so active transport is a key area for us,” Sustainability Officer of DCU, Samantha Fahy, told the Irish Times.

In order to achieve these transportation objectives, the college have been working closely with Dublin Bus to reroute buses from their St. Patrick’s campus and Glasnevin Campus.

They have also recently introduced free water bottle filling stations, bike maintenance classes and inter campus bike schemes.

Other third level institutes involved with the programme include Maynooth University, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, the Royal College of Surgeons and Pearse College of Further Education.

Each of these campuses have taken on their own unique theme to meet the environmental standards of the programme.

Galway- Mayo Institute of Technology have focused their projects on outdoor education, Maynooth University’s green campus committee aim to improve the energy efficiency of all buildings on campus while Pearse College, Crumlin, are working with Dublin City Council and local community groups to renovate derelict spaces in the area to create publicly available community gardens.

Similar programmes to the above have also been introduced in other European countries.

However, unlike other countries in Europe who allow the enrolment of individual campuses in the programme, Ireland have adapted a whole-campus approach to the Green Campus scheme, meaning that the whole university must be involved with the project.

Lauren Ennis

Image: DCU