Developing towards a sustainable and a self-sufficient campus
VGU campus through its interdisciplinary back up of academic expertise and unique inter dependent policies aims to develop into a self-sufficient campus for itself and all its stakeholders.
Objectives of the practice
Fast expanding university campuses have often been expensive to operate and maintain. At the same time the infrastructural and peripheral needs of the different domains are highly demanding in the initial years of a department’s inception. The management team of VGU along with its team of administrative and academic heads planned to involve and utilize this available multidisciplinary expertise on campus to suffice for the tangible and intangible needs of the university, its faculty members and students. Relevant actions and codes of activities towards achieving these goals have been devised and practiced on VGU campus.
- Conserve identified resources like water and electricity through various principles of reuse, recycle and reduce.
- Promote inter-dependence and co-existence of people and domains by developing practices of sharing resources and utilizing each other’s expertise for their day-to-day needs.
- Reduce and manage operational financial demands by utilizing services, equipment and expertise on campus.
- Inculcate good practices, awareness and morals among all its students and employees towards energy conservation through various curricular, co-curricular and administrative regulations and policies.
VGU campus is situated on the fringes of an urban area, at the confluence of rural and urban settlements of Jaipur city. Thus, the provision of civic amenities and services like water supply and drainage was an identified challenge for an aspiring and growing campus. At the same time the students and faculties from varied socio-economic and educational backgrounds thrived the campus with their expectations and apprehensions of the university’s capacities to meet their growing demands.
- The 6.70 lakh sq.ft of built up space and 30.70 acre of the campus area needed to be well developed and maintained to match the infrastructural needs of rapidly adding academic programs and the minimum requirements of educational standards.
- Each domain of education had its unique set of under-utilized equipment and human resource in the beginning phase of its establishment.
The daily and occasional number of campus users increased swiftly in last 5 years, developing into a localised consumer set with defined requirements and demands to utilize and purchase. Governance and daily operations at the campus were planned to map these demands internally instead of completely relying on the government provided services and funding from the sponsoring body.
- Basic requirements like lack of piped water supply and drainage facilities were met through rainwater harvesting provisions and STP set up on campus in the year 2013. The rainwater harvested into the tanks is being utilized for drinking and other potable uses after due treatment. The recharge wells have been instrumental in maintaining the underground water table and the recycled gray water from the STP is used for watering large landscape areas on the campus and general washing and cleaning requirements, thus managing the water requirements on the campus indigenously.
- The regular curricular and co-curricular activities on the campus are designed to produce usable products and services for the people on campus.
- The regular produce of vegetables from the farmlands and agriculture labs are used by the university mess and distributed among and sold to faculty members for their household needs.
- The bakery and food products from the hotel management workshops are utilized as provision items for daily hospitality need of the university.
- The university design department is promoted to take up exercises and projects to design and fabricate products like mementos, trophies, and other smaller products for use during guest visits and events.
- The engineering workshops and labs at VGU with team of its trained lab technicians, takes care of regular repair and maintenance of university electrical and IT equipment.
- The university physiotherapy department takes the onus of providing its expertise for regular physiotherapy OPD, yoga and fitness sessions for all hostellers and faculty members.
- Further, the campus promotes out of campus consultancy and projects to fulfil needs of the campus by utilizing the HR pool and under-utilized infrastructure to generate and share revenue among faculties and students.
- VGU campus has over the time utilized the digital learning and governance source of ERP-LMS by TCSion to progress towards a digital campus and thus conserve paper, energy, and time. Also, the campus promotes its faculties to utilize well connected public transport of the city, car-pooling and campus bus facilities through various policies and incentives. Such activities and more from by the societal outreach cell of the university help developing habits and notions of community well being among all its stakeholders.
Evidence of Success
The campus has been able to save important environmental resources, expenses and individual hard work through the above listed practices and concepts of co-existence and conservation. With such consistent efforts and innovative mechanisms, the campus plans to achieve commendable standards of a sustainable campus and contribute significantly to attainment of SDGs. The associated achievements and savings thus mapped by the campus associated to the identified practices are summarized as below:
Problems encountered and resources required
The applied practice is a long-term goal for a measurable and visible output, but the continued efforts and actions at VGU have surely contributed to significant behavioural changes and adaptative actions by the campus users. The indirect benefits and immeasurable non-tangible outcomes have been identified as a major shortcoming to the practice. Further, lack of awareness about the concepts and aspects of sustainability among new users, create regular challenges for the campus maintenance and related savings targets for the estate officer. Though, regular efforts taken by the university for sensitization activities and training programs has let to significant change in the stakeholders opinions towards the practice.