Published: 22nd January 2020
How this Kerala college managed to go 100% green will give you #SustainabilityGoals
This is how Rajagiri College of Social Sciences has managed to walk the talk when it comes to sustainability and conservation on campus
If you see a student of Rajagiri College of Social Sciences on the first metro train of the day, it's not because they missed their college bus, it's because they don't have one! The first autonomous college in Kerala to be fully powered by solar energy, the institute is on its way to set a number of records when it comes to walking the talk on sustainability. The best part is that their campaign was launched before educational institutes got the memo that climate change needed to be taken seriously.
Dr Binoy Joseph, the Principal of the college says, "Wherever it is possible, our motto is to reuse, recycle and reduce waste. All our power requirements are met through solar energy. More than 7 lakh litres of the college's drinking water requirement is sourced through natural rainfall. We also have in-house sewage treatment where we reuse the water for flushing toilets and the rest is for gardening purposes." Through their latest programme, the institute has brought into action a number of green initiatives through student groups and regulations.
While the average carbon footprint is 120 per cent, the institute has been able to bring theirs down to 38 per cent. They regularly conduct green audits overseen by government-authorised bodies. They also have glass crushers and plastic shredders which recycle the waste into tar and cement which help build the roads for the campus. The principal says, "Even before we started all this, our campus was built with butterfly gardens, herbal gardens and spices gardens. Our focus is on taking care of our landscape.
FOOT FALLS: The carbon footprint in the campus is 38 per cent
He continues, "We have farms within the campus itself. We have done a census on the trees and plants within the campus and a biodiversity register. Recently, the National Biodiversity Office recognised us for our work for the environment. We have also prepared a biodiversity register within the campus." In fact, the whole campus has been engineered to support green and sustainable initiatives.
Thomas MT, Executive Director of Renq, an organisation that supports sustainable engineering says, "When the institute approached us with the work, the question was about how we would be able to redesign and reset the campus with minimal disruption to student life. We have basically created a futuristic model of sustainability with minimal structural changes. One thing we kept in mind were probabilities and changes that might come up in the future. Just the solar panels alone have been set up with such precision that the have taken into account the changing shades from the sun and any future additions that the college may add to its architecture."
For years, they have been the recipient of 'green campus' awards from a number of organisations in the city. Last year, they received the Swachh Campus recognition from the Ministry of Human Resource Development. Their work has often spilled forth into the streets through outreach activities. Through their Suchitwa Bojana Yatra, the students carry out a padayatra to create awareness about their mission among the community. Under the central government's Unnat Bharat Abhiyan, they have adopted 5 villages in and around the campus. Recently, they also conducted a camp under the NSS where they collected plastic bags and distributed tote bags.