Building an enviro-smart campus

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On behalf of the Rhodes University SRC, I would like to extend my heartiest welcome to the 2020 first years to their new home away from home.

As the SRC Environmental Councillor, one of my objectives is to create a culture of environmental awareness on campus and collaborate with different stakeholders to create pro-environmentalism at the University. To realise the objectives, I will be through working closely with the Rhodes University Environmental and Sustainability Unit and societies to promote environmental education through research and community engagement. Most important, I will be working with the environmental reps and the student body as our environmental champions.

We are at an environmental tipping point and an eco-friendly lifestyle has become of utmost importance. Makhanda is, unfortunately, affected by the global world issue of water scarcity and is experiencing one of the worst droughts recorded in history. Water must be used sustainably by conserving and recycling it, such as the use of grey water for flushing the toilet.

Students’ acceptance of recycling and conserving methods and changes in behaviour and attitude are critical.

Like the rest of the world, the Makhanda community is faced with the crisis of plastic pollution. As the SRC 2020, we ask students for their active involvement in combating this through recycling. There are a few ways in which every one of us can meaningfully participate in making the University environmentally friendly, such as joining the environmental societies and groups, working together in reses and dining halls and also by doing some projects individually.

There is a very interesting campaign called ‘VUKA MAKANA!’

Initiated by the Rhodes University Community Engagement (RUCE) office, one of its goals is to promote environmental sustainability. If residents or students dedicate time to – say, for example, cleaning up a section of river –  they can log the hours they have completed through an online app that will record those hours. The goal is to have at least 365 hours a year.

The RU Sustainability Group has very interesting projects tackling environmental issues and focusing on plastic, paper, electricity and water.

It is our collective and individual responsibility to preserve and protect the environment in which we live.

The SRC has planned an environmental extravaganza on 8 February 2020 at the Steve Biko lawns. This will be a fun-filled event that includes environmental games and activities. Campus-based environmental societies that students can join include the Students organisation for Animal Rights (Soar) and Children of the Soil, to name a few. You can find out more about these and other environmental groups in the broader Makhanda community during the Sports and Societies extravaganza in O-Week.

“Our very being, essence, health and happiness depend on Mother Earth” ~David Suzuki

  • Putuma Balintulo is the Rhodes University SRC Environmental Councillor for 2020.
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