Five HCT-Abu Dhabi Women’s College (ADWC) students, with faculty and staff, attended the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD)’s 1st SCI Mentor Conference held recently at the Ritz Carlton Hotel Abu Dhabi.
The conference, held under the theme of The Need for Mainstreaming Sustainability into Universities and Colleges, was organised as part of the Sustainable Campus Initiative (SCI).
The HCT’s Khalifa City Women’s College (KCWC) and Madinat Zayed and Ruwais Colleges took part in the Sustainable Campus Initiative Pilot that was run during the last academic year.
The students, Alyaa Ali Al Zaabi, Hessa Saeed Alzaabi, Mouza Mohamed Al Blooshi and Shamma Jasem Al Balooshi, along with faculty and staff who are active with sustainability teaching and initiatives at the college, enjoyed a day of lectures and panel discussions with local and international experts, to bring best practice to implementing sustainable development in UAE universities. The event also allowed for networking with local university sustainability champions to share their implementation experiences with the SCI.
The international panelists participating were Professors Akpezi Ogbuigwe (Africa), Arjen Wals (Europe), Bob Jickling (Canada), Hongwei Tan (Asia) and Peter Blaze Corcoran (USA).
HCT employees Loretta Consolati from ADWC and Rosie Tennent from HCT-Madinat Zayed and Ruwais Colleges took part in a panel discussion on ‘Current Status and Challenges in the UAE for Promoting Sustainability Within our Universities and Colleges’.
“In the conference we learn how to be sustainable in our life and also in the college, and how we can be more sustainable in the colleges, universities and companies; and to try to apply sustainable systems in these places and hire a manager in to control sustainability,” said student Alyaa.
“Action is important and we as students can participate in our environment. The story not just about the environment, it’s about all of us and all of us can take action and be a teacher of this. As a group if we participate things will change and our behaviour towards the environment will change as well,” Alyaa added.
The General Education programme at ADWC has started an introductory course on sustainability and will be working in conjunction with the EAD to embed facets of the SCI, such as carrying out audits on electricity use, water use and waste. These audits should be ongoing so that the college can look at ways of reducing consumption and then check progress.
The college is also working on more recycling at campus and wants to start a Sustainability Club at ADWC, to work in parallel to the one already thriving at KCWC; and are looking for staff as well as students who want to get involved.
The SCI provides forums for students to get together at Green Youth Majlis meetings so they can interact and exchange ideas and develop projects with other interested students from several international colleges and universities that are taking part in the initiative. Several students have already registered their interest in participating in these meetings.
The SCI also includes community outreach projects, in which there are excellent opportunities for networking and leadership training, which in turn will provide students with the skills and knowledge to begin careers in the many new sustainability jobs being created in the sector in the UAE.