UCC first college to retain Green Flag

University College Cork has made history as the first university to retain its Green Flag for being an environmentally-friendly campus.

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan bestowed the accolade on the university on Friday last, April 19th. He told students their efforts were “helping to ensure that environmental issues remain to the fore of our priorities”.

The university was also the first to be awarded the internationally-recognised status of ‘Green Campus’ and was presented with its first Green Flag in 2010 by the Foundation of Environmental Education and An Taisce.

Environmental initiatives implemented by students as well as an extensive environmental review by the Building and Estates Department at UCC started the ball rolling towards UCC’s green achievements.

Thanks to UCC Students’ Union; the university’s Green Campus programme; and its Environmental Society, almost €1 million has been saved since 2007, as well as 750,000 cubic metres of water.

Recycling rates at the university increased from 21% of all rubbish in 2007 to 75% in 2012, while total on-campus energy consumption has also been cut by 9%.

According to President of UCC Dr Michael Murphy, it remained “a source of immense pride to the University, its staff and its students for UCC to become the first third-level institution in the world to reaffirm this important recognition.”

UCC is now ranked third in the world amongst 215 competing universities in the Universitas Indonesia Greenmetric World University Ranking System.

Trinity College Dublin was also awarded a ‘Green Flag’ recently for its efforts.

DCU, meanwhile, began formally working towards ‘Green Flag’ accreditation in January of this year with the setting up of a Green Committee, comprising of students and staff. The committee’s three areas of focus are energy, waste and biodiversity.

One green initiative that has already been implemented by the Estates Office is the planting of new trees at different locations around the DCU campus.

As part of the ‘Green Campus’ initiative, DCU President Brian MacCraith and SU President Paul Doherty launched a DCU Community Garden last month. Speaking at its opening, Prof MacCraith said the initiative would “hopefully lead to a Green Flag award from An Taisce”.

Sarah Bermingham

Image Credit: Olivier Bruchez via Flickr Creative Commons

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