Wednesday, November 18, 2015

MUSINGS FROM PRIYADARSHINI KARVE: Important for colleges and universities!

Are you working in a college or university? Is your academic institution scheduled for NAAC accreditation any time soon? Are you aware that UGC has now added a requirement of a green audit in the accreditation process? Read on to find out more! 

A couple of years ago, I was approached by Deepika Singh of Institute for Community Organisation Research (ICOR), a Mumbai based NGO, with an interesting idea - to develop a process for environmental audit of educational campuses. 

I had been exploring issues of urban sustainability for a few years, and had been doing workshops on carbon footprinting for urban Indians. I felt that this was a logical next step. The Samuchit Carbon Footprint Calculator helps urban Indian individuals and families measure their personal contribution to climate change. A green audit process would help an organisation measure its own impact on the local and global environment. If the organisation is an educational institute, it also helps spread the concept of environmental sustainability to young generation, which is a big bonus. I was very happy to collaborate with ICOR on this idea, and so emerged the ICOR-Samuchit Green Audit Tool for Educational Institutes. 

At that time we had no idea how we were going to 'sell' the concept to educational institutes, but it so happened that ICOR was approached by a college with just this requirement! That is when we first discovered that UGC was asking about environmental audit in its new NAAC accreditation questionnaires! 
Planning Meeting for Green Audit with the faculty members at a college in Mumbai

We have so far completed two audits, and are in the middle of a third one. A couple of more assignments are in the pipeline. We are realising that at least in Maharashtra nobody is offering to do environmental audits within the budget that undergraduate colleges (or any other non-profit campuses) can afford. 

The other advantage of our process is that since we had focused specifically on educational institutes, our process is tailored to the specific activities and issues of an academic campus. The Tool is also sensitive to challenges of information and data availability, particularly in view of resources being shared between different institutes on the same campus. 

Furthermore, we have developed a process that is participatory - a group of teachers and students works with us in data collection and analysis, and therefore it is also a huge experiential learning opportunity for the college community. 

For more information, please contact: Deepika Singh, ICOR on deepika62001@yahoo.co.in or write to me on pkarve@samuchit.com. 


Priyadarshini Karve
Director
Samuchit Enviro Tech



#BeModernBeResponsibleBeRespectful
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