As world leaders gathered for COP26 in Glasgow, the Tipperary campuses of the Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest gathered to raise the An Taisce Green Flag in Clonmel and Thurles.
The green flag, which was presented today (Tuesday) to students and staff at TUS Thurles Campus, and yesterday (Monday) to staff and students at the Clonmel Digital Campus, recognises the efforts of the campus communities in reducing waste and increasing recycling as part of the Green Campus Programme.
The programme is an international environmental education and award scheme that promotes long-term, whole institution action for the environment, and empowers both students and staff to create a more balanced campus community by reducing environmental impacts and associated costs.
Congratulating the staff and students of both campuses President of TUS Professor Vincent Cunnane said TUS is committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which underpins the strategy of the Thurles Campus.
Professor Cunnane said, “This Green Flag is a physical demonstration of our commitment to the SDGs and raising it today is a great milestone. It is also fitting that we are raising this Green Flag in the first week of COP26. The climate crisis and biodiversity crisis is challenging all leaders in society to radically consider how we can address these issues. However, there are immense opportunities in the future as we adjust our technologies, behaviour and economies to ensure we have a sustainable world in which we can live, work and play. TUS Thurles campus and Clonmel campus can visibly demonstrate that we are taking action.”
Director of the An Taisce Environmental Education Unit Dr Michael John O’ Mahony, also congratulated the TUS Green-Campus Committee for initiating an outstanding programme on site in Thurles and Clonmel.
“The long-term commitment of staff and students is clear to see. There are numerous best practice examples taking place. These are especially evident in links to the learning on campus and utilising the campus as a living lab. The student projects and annual green weeks are outstanding. We look forward to watching how the Green-Campus journey in TUS develops in the coming years. We are delighted to acknowledge and recognise TUS Tipperary on their Green-Campus journey,” he said.
Meanwhile TUS Lecturer, Department of Applied Science and TUS Green Campus Secretary Kevin Healion, was setting his sight of the future of the Green Campus Programme – biodiversity.
“Every year I am amazed at the energy, ideas and skills that our students bring. I’m delighted to see the student involvement deepening with students doing work placements and now final year projects on our next theme of biodiversity. I think that’s a theme which has wide appeal and where the Thurles and Clonmel campuses can really shine, fortunate as we are with large land areas with tree, hedge and grassland habitats. My wish is for TUS to demonstrate best practice in how campus developments can integrate habitat protection for multiple benefits – wildlife and carbon storage, but also environmental appreciation, mental health and recreation through for example a combined walking / biodiversity trail.”
Head of the TUS Thurles campus, Seamus Hoyne thanked everyone for their participation in the project. “The Green Campus flag is a physical manifestation of the efforts of the students and staff on the Thurles and Clonmel campus to address the sustainability agenda. The strategy for the Thurles campus is focused on ensuring that everything we do contributes positively to the sustainability agenda. Our programmes will produce graduates and leaders who can make a difference, our campuses will be demonstrators and exemplars and our research will drive new innovations.”