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The application of a resilience assessment approach to promote campus environmental management: A South African case study

Irene Muller (School of Education, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa)
Johann Tempelhoff (School of Basic Sciences, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 7 March 2016

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to outline the benefits of using resilience assessment instead of command and control mechanisms to evaluate sustainable campus environments.

Design/methodology/approach

An exploratory mixed-method design was followed for the purposes of the project. During the first qualitative phase, a historical timeline of the focal system was created. In the quantitative phase, the resilience assessment guided the investigation. To collect data, the case study research strategy included a heuristic process of collecting and reviewing documents, semi-structured interviews, observations and the systematic implementation of the resilience assessment approach.

Findings

Based on the resilience assessment approach, it is argued that the environmental status of university campuses can be considered relevant to the local community and immediate environment. Knowledge of the finite resources and their capacity in the context of the social-ecological system may increase the resilience of a campus.

Originality/value

This research study explores the use of an alternative approach to environmental practices at university campuses. The resilience assessment is usually performed on large ecosystems. By applying this approach to a small ecosystem, the study fills a gap in the applicability of the resilience approach.

Keywords

Citation

Muller, I. and Tempelhoff, J. (2016), "The application of a resilience assessment approach to promote campus environmental management: A South African case study", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 228-245. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-06-2015-0106

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited