Online and connected: Creating a Sustainable Campus using Apps – (part 1)

OnlineOrganizations around the world, from business to NGOs to individuals, are creating apps for smart phones. These mobile apps enable people to connect to networks, get access to real time data, receive feedback and understand information in a visual way.

Although these apps are not focused specifically on university campuses they are easily used in green campus initiatives. In the first part of this three part series we will look at apps that help a campus reduce paper, water, energy and waste.

Reducing Paper

WorldCard Mobile allows cell phone users to use their phone to take a picture of business cards picked up at academic events and translate them into the phone’s contacts. TurboScan turns your phone into a scanner for documents, receipts and other items.  MailStop Mobile lets you take pictures of junk mail you don’t want to receive and provides help take you off those mailing lists.

Reducing Water

My Water Diary allows you to track your water usage over a week and aim to reduce your consumption. Waterprint lets you calculate your water footprint. Drip Detective shows you how much water and money is being lost from a water leak. Daily Water Free reminds you at various times every day to drink water to ensure that you are drinking enough water.

Building/Energy Efficiency

Sustainable Facilities Mobile brings together sustainable building and workplace design guidance to make it easy to identify sustainable practices and evaluate options for implementing them in renovation projects. JouleBug is a game that organizes energy-saving tips into achievements, motivating players to live more sustainably. Light Bulb Finder turns your phone into a light bulb expert which helps you to identify any light bulb and provides options for more sustainable options. Offset4Poor helps you to not only measure your carbon footprint but also offers the choice to offset your emissions by paying for carbon saving work projects.

Recycling on campus

iRecycle helps find local, convenient recycling opportunities for over 350 materials. Aluminate allows you to track the aluminum cans you have recycled and where you can go to recycle them. Some businesses provide web-based programmes to engage consumers and small businesses in recycling and provide apps to help them keep track of their status such as Recyclebank and Opower. GreenCan helps users locate the nearest public recycling bin for a range of different items such as organics or electronics.

What apps do you use in your business school? Have you developed any apps to help drive your sustainability efforts? Share your experiences in the discussion board.

Sustainable Food on Campus (part 2)

Farmer’s Market, University of San Diego

Food is one of the 7 critical issues bring discussed at the upcoming Rio+20 summit taking place this June in Rio de Janeiro Brazil. As the Rio+20 site states, “It is time to rethink how we grow, share and consume our food,” and, in this two part blog, we will be looking at a range of ways that university campuses are doing just that throughout their operations.

Community Gardens

With the increased push to provide more locally produced food, some campuses are taking matters into their own hands by creating gardens where students and staff grow some of the vegetables and produce consumed in the cafeterias. Royal Holloway School of Management has launched its Campus Community Garden to encourage students to grow and eat their own fresh vegetables. With help from the College’s gardeners, an area of wasteland on campus, measuring 152 square meters, has been turned into vegetable patches ready for students to cultivate. SLUG (Student Led Unity Garden) at the University of Portland is an organic, sustainable garden started in 2006 by a small group of students. The University of Victoria Campus Community Garden provides a range of introductory gardening workshops. The school provides 90 plots at the gardens, including individual allotment gardens, communal gardens for volunteers and food bank donations and garden plots used by advocacy groups and classes.

Farmers Markets

A growing number of schools are also providing space for farmers markets, where local farmers and producers can sell their products. The University of San Diego started a market in 2009 that provides fresh fruit and vegetables and food cooked on site on Wednesdays from 11-2pm. The University of London  also has a certified organic farmers market on campus, where students can grab their lunch every Thursday.

Celebrating Progress made

Copenhagen Business School celebrates Sustainable Food Day on campus. The day gives students the opportunity to sample delicious sustainable foods while becoming better informed about the links between social entrepreneurship and sustainable food production. It also gives students and staff the opportunity to interact with innovators who have turned their passion for sustainable food into profitable businesses. EM Strasbourg has been organising annual eco-banquets for volunteers who had taken part in actions dedicated to sustainable development in the School through the year. Each participant is able to discover the regional specialties and chat over a glass of organic cider and fair trade apple juice. The banquet is also an opportunity to speak about progress made on sustainable development projects over the previous year.

Giving back to the community
Campuses are not just looking at food on campus, but how to help ensure food donations for local charities. Students from Marketing Institute of Singapore Training Center had a Food donation drive in support of a local charity called Food from the Heart. They also partnered with the Singapore Environment Council to deliver a talk on “Being a Responsible Consumer by Going Green” to enhance understanding of the impact of food choices. “Food Fight” is an annual tradition in which a number of MBA programs across the US, including the University of Michigan, compete to see who can raise the most food to donate to local communities in need. The school that collects the most food (total or per student) wins money to donate to the charity of their choice and a coveted trophy. Staff, faculty and students at Grenoble Ecole de Management worked with Danone, an international food company, on a humanitarian project to collect food for the Restaurants du Cœur, a nationwide association that distributes meals and food to those in need.


For more on the Rio+20 theme of Food, read the Issue Brief prepared by UN-DESA visit the Rio+20 site.

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