Turn off the lights when you leave a room, carry reusable eating utensils, ride a bike instead of a motor vehicle whenever possible, use recycled paper, and reduce electricity usage during peak hours:these are just some of the practical ideas that students offered when they were called on by the NTU Student Association’s Sustainability Division to exercise their imagination and powers of observation in coming up withmeasures and practicesto help make this a more sustainable campus.
The Sustainability Division presented the students’ suggestions as “100 Sustainable Living Ideas for the NTU Community.” They divided the suggestions into four categories: low-carbon campus, waste-reduction campus, ecological campus, and animal-friendly campus. The Sustainability Division has given much thought to these problem areas since its establishment just last year.
The NTU Student Association established the Sustainability Division in an effort to prioritizecampus environmental issues and policies, and to encourage students themselves to start taking practical steps to live in more environmentally friendly and sustainable ways.
The division’s director, Meng-Hui Lin, a graduate student at the Sustainable Development Laboratory of the Department of Bioenvironmental Systems Engineering, recalls that when she was the president of the student club, NTU Roots and Shoots, she found that the club’s efforts to promote environmental issuesmade little or no impact. Now, with the backing of the NTU Student Association, she finds it much easier to initiate projects and generate considerable student interest.
By establishing the Sustainability Division, NTU became the first university in Taiwan to have a unit dedicated to addressing sustainability issues. Government agencies and non-governmental organizations alike have taken note. Lin reports thatafter she was named Director of the Sustainability Division, she was invited to meet with officials at Taipei City’s Department of Environmental Protection who were eager to voice the city government’s support for campus sustainability.
The division has also cooperated with the NGO 350.org, which is dedicated to the reduction of carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.They also review the investments of NTU’s endowment fund to make sure the fund does not support enterprises that produce excessive pollution and high-carbon waste. They even called on the candidates for the NTU presidency to pledge to ensure the fund would only make investments in climate friendly enterprises. Several of the candidates for NTU president indeed promised to review the fund’s investments to ensure they were consistent with this goal.
The division has also developed graphic visualizations of the campus building electricity meters and conducted energy conservation workshops. Also, it has initiated a campus biodiversity survey that aims to measure the distributions and numbers of plant and animal speciesobserved on campus every three years.