Many of the world's leading universities work hard to green their campuses. And many are heavily involved in sustainability research and teaching. But precious few are dedicated to deeply integrating those operational and academic efforts in sustainability.
On June 20, in Eugene, Oregon, the University of British Columbia was recognized for its integration efforts as one of five winners of a prestigious Excellence Award from the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN), a global network of colleges and universities focused on sustainable campus planning and operations.
“This year’s award winners truly raise the bar on campus sustainability projects” says Dr. Matthew Gardner, of the ISCN Secretariat and Award Committee. “Each winner represents a best practice and a lighthouse-type of project that campuses around the world can learn from. In fact, this year, for the first time, we needed to recognize two winners [The University of British Columbia and Ball State University] in the Integration category, as we felt that both projects brought a truly unique approach to the integration of sustainable campus programs into to the academic mission of the institution.”
UBC’s award celebrates the success of the UBC Sustainability Initiative, created in early 2010 with the goal to integrate deeply academic and operational sustainability and make the Vancouver campus available as a kind of societal test-bed where the University works with partners to prove out the technical, economic and behavioural aspects of sustainability.
“This is indeed an honour,” says Professor John Robinson, executive director of the UBC Sustainability Initiative. “It is an award that we can be really proud of, given its provenance and focus.”
The 2012 winners of the ISCN Excellence Awards are:
The ISCN Awards are open to any college or university worldwide that has developed outstanding planning, construction or educational projects that promote sustainability on campus and in the surrounding community. Over the past four years, over 150 applications have been submitted for these awards, from schools in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and Australia.
The ISCN is a Swiss based global network of colleges and universities that are actively pursuing sustainability across their educational and research missions and operations. The ISCN offers a sustainable campus charter and sustainability reporting framework in conjunction with the World Economic Forum’s Global University Leaders Forum , and has active working groups and conferences/events to promote best practice exchange.
2012 is the fourth year that the ISCN Excellence Awards have been presented. Previous award winners include Brown University (USA), the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Saudi Arabia), University of Bradford (United Kingdom), University of Amsterdam (Netherlands), Leuphana University (Germany), Ecole Polytechnique de Federale Lausanne (Switzerland), and Australia National University (Australia).
The jury responsible for selecting the winners has included Professor Jack Spengler (Harvard), Professor Jelena Srebric (Pennsylvania State University), Professor Jenny Su (National Cheng Kung University Taiwan), Dr. Peter Hopkinson, (University of Bradford, and HEEPI UK) and Professor Yong Kwet Yew (National University of Singapore). The ISCN Working Group responsible for designing and managing the awards process is led by Professor Claude Siegenthaler (Hosei University), and is supported by the ISCN secretariat.