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5 Sustainable Indian Campuses That Have Set An Example For Others

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Since 1991, each year, we celebrate National Energy Conservation Day to raise awareness on the importance of energy conservation for the present as well as future generations. The UGC in 2020 proposed a sustainable campus framework. I have looked for the greenest campus in India, which are integrating sustainability practices into their programs and student experiences.

I still remember Lester Brown’s quote from our school textbook, “We have not inherited this earth from our forefathers, we have borrowed it from our grandchildren.” Unfortunately, for a very long time, we have failed to understand this.

In 2015, India committed itself to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the education sector can play a pivotal role in implementing SDGs.

Acknowledging the need and concerns, University Grants Commission (UGC) in 2020 proposed a sustainable campus framework to set out the principles for achieving a green and sustainable campus environment for Indian Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). It will not only help institutions to go green but also teach the youth the importance of maintaining ecological balance and ensuring sustainable development.

1. IIM, Bangalore

iim bangalore - first green building in india
IIMB has won awards for its horticulture initiatives.

Spread over a lush 100-acre campus, it is one of India’s premier management institutions. Professor M S Narasimhan, Dean, Administration, says, “Living in a sustainable manner and integrating environmental education into the learning process helps students understand how their decisions and actions affect the environment and enable them to make informed decisions as managers of the future.”

The campus has solar panels, rainwater harvesting and a modest recycling centre where it is the responsibility of everyone on campus to separate their waste. Most of this waste is reused as it gets composted at a biogas plant on campus.

IIMB has also won awards for its horticulture initiatives, documentation of flora and fauna, readiness to adopt and nurture translocated trees, and sustainable practices and clean energy use.

2. Universal Business School, Mumbai

Universal Business School, Mumbai
It is the first MBA school in India to publish its own ESG report.

With a sprawling 40 acres campus in Green Karjat Valley, the campus employs 70% renewable energy (912 solar panels). In addition, it has water harvesting ponds and waste management plants. The 16 acres of green zone habitat in the campus is dedicated to various flora and fauna, including 7,500 plant species.

It is also the first MBA school in India to publish its own ESG report. Tarun Anand, chairman, Universal Business School, says, “I believe that the most critical and urgent issue that humanity needs to solve is climate change as it affects all of us together. 

“At Universal Business School, subjects like Green Marketing, Green Finance, Green HR and Green Supply Chain & Logistics are all mandatory credit-based courses. Following sustainable practices helps students to create a positive impact in every enterprise they join.”

3. Mangalore University

Mangalore university
The campus is ranked first in the country for Most Sustainable University in 2020.

Spread over an area of 353 acres, the campus has forest vegetation of around 114 acres. Located in the historic coastal town of Mangalore, the campus is ranked first in the country and 139th in the world for Most Sustainable University in 2020 by Green Metric.

Vice-Chancellor P S Yadapadithaya says, “The university administration plans to turn the campus clean, green, and fit through various measures. The campus has an eco-friendly infrastructure with waste and water management, and various researches on sustainability are in progress.”

4. St Teresa College, Ernakulam

St. Teresa College, Ernakulam
St. Teresa College, Ernakulam.

Situated in Kerala, this campus has bagged the National Energy Conservation Award 2019 instituted by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency. Sajimol Augustine, the principal, says, “We have an initiative called I-CONNECT, Initiatives for CONservation of Nature and Energy Coordinated by Teresians in which we aim to build a responsible generation towards the cause of conservation of nature and energy.”

5. IIT Roorkee

iit roorkee
IIT Roorkee.

Spread over an area of 365 acres, the campus has greenery covering all parts of the campus. Students and faculty conducted an energy audit to reduce energy and electricity consumption.

Prof R P Saini, Department of hydro and renewable energy, says, “Other than solarification of campus and use of green material for construction, the prototype testing for harnessing from flowing surface water is in progress. There is a need for new sustainable sources of energy to power the remotest areas of the country.”

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons

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        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

        Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

        As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Find out more about the campaign here.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

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        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

        Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
        campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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