Putting DCU to the test in sustainability

Roisin Maguire

DCU is continuously seeking ways to increase the sustainability on campus, from the food we eat to the way we dress.

Every day we consume food and drinks that increase the amount of waste on the planet, we use electricity and our cars use fuel every day. These materials are taken from the earth for our use and sustainability means reducing how much we use in order to decrease our use of greenhouse gases.

DCU has online resources on how the college is playing its part to educate students on sustainability on campus.

Students and the public can access DCU’s sustainability policy on their website which outlines how “an important element of Dublin City University’s place in the community is to understand how its activities impact on the wider environment.”

“Enhance the local and global environment by adopting a continuous improvement policy; Incorporate, as much as possible, the principle of sustainable development into the teaching, training and research activities of DCU; Promote sustainable transport use and water conservation among the DCU community”. 

Both a vegan diet and using as little plastic as possible have been proven to be two of the and easiest and most effective ways to combat climate. DCU’s Londis offers vegan options in-store, yet stills sells bottled water, despite there being water fountains located in every building on campus.

The Student Union sell reusable coffee cups to replace single-use ones and Londis now sell metal straws, however, in order to reduce the use of plastic water bottles, students have to buy reusable water bottles elsewhere in shops such as Penneys.

Buying lunch from the canteen and bringing a packed lunch reduces the amount of plastic used compared to buying from retailers.

DCU have free bicycle clinics where students and staff can make sure their bike is roadworthy, however, you have to pay for new parts if necessary. Students are encouraged to walk or cycle to college when possible to increase mood, benefit health and well-being and save the planet at the same time.

Every year, DCU has a Green Campus report outlining what the university hopes to achieve on campus in the following number of years. The 2018 report mentioned how “DCU continues to work toward its agreed target of 33% energy reduction by 2020 on 2010 figures and has undertaken several infrastructural projects include LED retrofit, insulation upgrades, building fabric and glazing upgrades with several more in the pipeline.”

DCU’s sustainability website give pointers to help students reduce the amount of waste they use daily such as: “Use recycled paper for brochures/flyers etc, Run digital poster campaigns, not paper posters. Use refills rather than buying new each time, be conscious of packaging and where possible leave unnecessary packaging in the shop to encourage them to reduce it.”

UCD recently imposed a ban on the use of single-use plastics on campus, setting a great example for other universities in Dublin with DCU closely following this initiative.

Roisin Maguire

Image Credit: Sonja Tutty