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Article
Publication date: 14 August 2021

Liane Dalla Gasperina, Janaina Mazutti, Luciana Londero Brandli and Roberto dos Santos Rabello

Smart campuses can be seen as the future of higher education efforts, especially for their contributions to sustainability and to encourage innovation. This paper aims to…

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Abstract

Purpose

Smart campuses can be seen as the future of higher education efforts, especially for their contributions to sustainability and to encourage innovation. This paper aims to present the benefits of smart practices in a Higher Education Institutions and highlights its connections to the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology is divided into three steps: first, an international search and assessment of smart practices at universities; second, the identification of smart practices in a university campus in southern Brazil; and third, the presentation of the benefits of smart practices and their relationship with the SDGs.

Findings

The results showed that globally, the area most covered by smart practices in universities is the environment and, specifically, focused on waste reduction. in the context of this case study, the benefits of implementing smart practices mainly reach SDGs 4 and SDG 9, especially due to aspects of teaching technologies for the new classroom models and the optimization of campus infrastructure management.

Practical implications

The study encourages other universities to implement smart practices in their campuses, to becoming smart campuses while they also collaborate in achieving the SDGs while raising the discussion on the importance of committed actions taken on a university campus with the UN SDGs, to leverage synergies on campus operations at universities.

Originality/value

This paper presents a set of smart practices that universities are applying both globally and locally (in southern Brazil). In addition, it contributes to sustainability research by showing how smart practices have the potential to promote SDGs in universities, especially through campus operations.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 15 July 2020

Shadi Moqbel, Rund Abu-Zurayk, Ayat Bozeya, Raed Alsisan and Abeer Al Bawab

This study sought to assess the process of initiating a sustainable recycling program at the University of Jordan. It illustrates the potentials of recycling, perceived…

Abstract

Purpose

This study sought to assess the process of initiating a sustainable recycling program at the University of Jordan. It illustrates the potentials of recycling, perceived awareness of recycling by the students and staff, as well as challenges to a sustainable waste recycling program. This study aims to identify the barriers and challenges that face a sustainable waste recycling program at the University of Jordan.

Design/methodology/approach

The study consisted of investigating waste recycling potential on campus, inspecting general environmental awareness toward recycling and running an experimental recycling study on part of the campus. A waste characterization study was conducted to assess the current waste status and recycling extent. A questionnaire survey was carried out to obtain information on the students’ and staffs’ awareness of waste recycling and management on campus. In the experimental recycling study, seventy units of waste segregation bins were distributed on campus. The recycling efficiency was evaluated at two schools; the School of Engineering and the School of Medicine. The administrative support and collaboration while running the recycling program were also observed.

Findings

Overall, waste recycling at the University of Jordan has an appreciable opportunity and potential. A substantial amount of waste can be diverted from going to the landfill. Data showed general positive recycling rates except for plastic. Also, the recycling rates show great potential for enhancing. The recycling at the University of Jordan faces several barriers and obstacles. The greatest barrier was identified as the lack of cooperation of the administrative system on campus. The administrative support for the recycling program was strong only at the initiation of the recycling program. Administrative support has a vital influence on the recycling program. It has the potential of boosting it or bringing it to halt. Future studies should focus on investigating recycling efficiency for the entire campus and focus more on increasing pro-environmental behavior among students and staff in higher education institutions.

Originality/value

The value of this research lies in it being conducted in a large campus university in a developing country. Also, the study used a diagnostic approach that is based on evaluating an environmental sustainability program as it evolves inside a higher education institution. The study illustrates the challenges that face universities in developing countries while adopting green campus initiatives.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 21 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 14 August 2017

Şiir Kılkış

Despite an emerging trend in the higher education sector toward sustainable campuses, comparative analyses that span multiple themes across multiple campuses are still…

Abstract

Purpose

Despite an emerging trend in the higher education sector toward sustainable campuses, comparative analyses that span multiple themes across multiple campuses are still limited. The purpose of this paper is to reduce such a gap by comparing universities that are members of the International Sustainable Campus Network across themes that are related to environmental quality.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 34 universities are included in the sample. Indicators are systematically reviewed and clustered into ten themes. Common indicators (CIs) are identified in seven themes for at least seven and at most 20 campuses. At the absence of CIs, the given theme is assessed based on the measures applied. The results indicate the average levels of performance in the sample and/or the scope of the measures that are undertaken.

Findings

According to related values, an average campus spent 233,402 MWh of energy in buildings, 838,317 m3 of water on campus, generated 4,442 tonnes of waste, and emitted 75,354 tonnes of CO2 emissions. The average recycling rate was 50 percent, the average single occupancy vehicle rate in campus commuting was 34 percent, and on average, there were 152 sustainability-oriented courses. Best practices from the measures included energy audits for data centers, retrofit of water intense laboratories, and on-site renewable energy projects.

Originality/value

In addition, a unified monitoring framework is proposed to improve subsequent comparative analyses of campuses. Universities must focus on the use of the campus as a living laboratory to guide society toward a more sustainable future.

Details

Management of Environmental Quality: An International Journal, vol. 28 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7835

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Article
Publication date: 22 February 2019

Ali Soltani, Andrew Allan, Ha Anh Nguyen and Stephen Berry

This paper aims to clarify the differences between students’ travel behaviours in Australia and China and the association between students’ environmental attitudes and…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to clarify the differences between students’ travel behaviours in Australia and China and the association between students’ environmental attitudes and their travel behaviours in both countries.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper extensively reviewed most of existing literature work on commuting patterns of higher education students with referring to different studies around the world and then used it to build a theoretical framework and conceptual model to relate the travel patterns of students to built environment, personal demographics and environmental knowledge/consideration. An online survey was used with 230 students at Mawson Lakes campus of University of South Australia and Beiyangyuan campus of Tianjin University (China). Statistical tests (i.e. mean test, one-way analysis of variance, factor analysis) were used to analyse the data.

Findings

The study reveals that a high dependence on private vehicles amongst students at the Mawson Lakes campus, whilst a more environmentally sustainable modal choice dominated at the Beiyangyuan campus. Those who studied at Mawson Lakes campus tended to have stronger involvement in environmental activities than their counterparts at Beiyangyuan campus, which presented a clear association between environmental awareness and the travel behaviours of the sampled students.

Research limitations/implications

The study focussed on two respective campuses of both universities in Australia and China. Future work could be expanded with students at all campuses of two universities.

Practical implications

The study affirmed the value of nurturing environmental awareness for students in both universities to encourage more environmentally sustainable travel behaviours amongst students. The paper provides policy recommendations such as establishing infrastructure, and facilities for new stream of mobility included sharing bike schemes, which would be very practical due to flexibility and cost effectiveness within University campuses. The paper attempted to transfer lessons from Chinese bike friendly society to Adelaide’s car dominated campus.

Originality/value

This study brings remarkable contributions as comparing university students’ travel behaviours in two different nations. It is the first one in Australia, which links the environmental concerns among university students with their travel behaviours. The paper was successful in getting the gap between theory and practice filled to some extent. The paper has a capability to be used as an evidence-base work in the area of sustainability education.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 8 May 2019

Mihaela Sima, Ines Grigorescu and Dan Bălteanu

This paper aims to identify campus greening initiatives on a sample of universities in Romania reflected in the university curricula, the behavioral patterns of students…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to identify campus greening initiatives on a sample of universities in Romania reflected in the university curricula, the behavioral patterns of students and teachers, the administrative actions that carry out empirical investigation of students/teachers/management staff perception on campus greening (based on self-administered questionnaires); detect the way campus greening initiatives are promoted/made visible; and identify the gaps and needs of the universities under scrutiny in terms of campus greening initiatives.

Design/methodology/approach

The current research relies on two major components reviewing campus greening-related activities and initiatives, as reflected in the scientific literature and university curricula (empirical and quantitative assessment) and inquiring selected universities’ about the campus greening programs they unfold through questionnaire surveys (qualitative assessment).

Findings

Generally, sustainability topics (e.g. environmental protection, waste management and sustainable development) are largely addressed and, to some extent, applied in faculties dealing with earth sciences (e.g. geography, ecology) and technical sciences (e.g. environmental engineering). This can be explained by the traditional theoretical background of the first, and the experimental-oriented profile of the latter, which supports the development of innovative technologies (green technologies). However, there is a need to better undertake and promote greening initiatives for most of the higher education institutions in Romania. Some spatial (between institutions throughout Romania) and structural (according to the profile of the institutions) disparities are visible.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations of the study might be the small number of universities providing a positive feedback to the questionnaire survey and the degree of subjectivity of some of the answers, directly linked with the professional background and issue awareness of the persons who answered the questions.

Practical implications

The findings can be useful to the university managers to better orient their actions toward campus greening, increasing their knowledge and awareness toward sustainability-related actions.

Originality/value

This is the first attempt reporting in the literature to analyze the campus greening initiatives to a large number of universities in Romania based on a common approach, identifying the main gaps and challenges in this process.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 20 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 6 May 2021

Albert Mawonde and Muchaiteyi Togo

The purpose of this paper is to explore the challenges faced by ODeL institutions to involve students in campus sustainable development goals (SDGs) related practices…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the challenges faced by ODeL institutions to involve students in campus sustainable development goals (SDGs) related practices. Given that universities are mandated by several calls to participate in the implementation of SDGs, one way they can contribute to the SDGs paradigm is through the involvement of students.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected through interviewing the Campus Operations Manager and the Students Representative Council (SRC) to determine the challenges of involving students’ in SDGs-related practices. The SRC completed the USAT (Part C) to determine SDGs practices students are involved in. An online survey was undertaken to determine how BSc Environmental Management students are participating in SDGs and the challenges faced towards their involvement. Thematic analysis analysed interview data and descriptive statistics analysed online survey data. Credibility and reliability were enhanced by data triangulation.

Findings

The research revealed that few students were involved in some campus SDGs-related practices. Few students were involved in off-campus SDG projects. This result is attributed to the distance between the University of South Africa (Unisa) and the students, lack of finance, the misconception around SDGs and a lack of interest in SDGs. The geographical distribution of ODeL students was concluded as the major barrier to student involvement in SDGs.

Originality/value

There are few studies, which investigated the involvement of students in campus-related SDGs in universities, let alone distance universities in Africa. The paper testifies that ODeL institutions have avenues to involve students in SDGs if such institutions become proactive through campus SDGs competitions and certification.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Book part
Publication date: 29 May 2018

Melissa Kelly

Purpose – This chapter explores how a group of African academics at a university in South Africa experience belonging at varying levels of geographical scale. It considers…

Abstract

Purpose – This chapter explores how a group of African academics at a university in South Africa experience belonging at varying levels of geographical scale. It considers how race, class and professional status intersect to influence the scholars’ experiences.

Design/Methodology/Approach – Narrative interviews were conducted with 24 individuals from nine African countries. All were current doctoral or postdoctoral fellows at the University of the Free State. The focus is decidedly qualitative in approach, with an emphasis on understanding the subjectivity of the people under study.

Findings – The interviews reveal that, while participants have struggled to forge a sense of belonging to South African society due to high levels of xenophobia and structural racism, they have found other spaces to validate their professional identities and, hence, forge a sense of belonging. These spaces include certain university departments and meeting places at the university. Importantly, these spaces have a very specific, local location, but are international in their linkages and their orientation. The professional identity of the scholars helps them overcome challenges to traditional modes of belonging based on race and class in the South African context.

Originality/Value – The findings contribute to broader discussions on the scale of migrant belongings and on the increasingly complex ways migrants relate to space and place. It also offers a new perspective on the belonging(s) of international scholars, which is largely understudied in the South African context.

Details

Contested Belonging: Spaces, Practices, Biographies
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-206-2

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Article
Publication date: 4 January 2021

Zeeda Fatimah Mohamad, Mohd Zufri Mamat and Muhamad Faisal Muhamad Noor

The notion of students as change agents have widely been used in the campus sustainability literature, but very little has been done to unpack what it really means in…

Abstract

Purpose

The notion of students as change agents have widely been used in the campus sustainability literature, but very little has been done to unpack what it really means in practice. This paper aims to critically investigate university students’ perspectives on their role as a change agent for campus sustainability in the context of Malaysian universities.

Design/methodology/approach

In-depth interviews were carried out with 21 students that have been categorized as change agents through selection criteria at three leading universities in the area of campus sustainability in Malaysia. The data collected from the interviews were analysed through content-based and thematic analysis.

Findings

Findings demonstrate that students are the backbone behind the implementation of campus sustainability activities. They play the multi-faceted role of leaders, supporters and ambassadors in initiating and driving campus sustainability. The results further suggest that support and freedom to act are the empowering factors that have driven these change agents in carrying out their initiatives. However, without a position, the students’ voices are not significant.

Originality/value

This study provides deeper evidence-based insights on the notion of students as change agents and how it can be operationalized in the context of campus sustainability.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 29 October 2020

Janaina Mazutti, Luciana Londero Brandli, Amanda Lange Salvia, Bárbara Maria Fritzen Gomes, Luana Inês Damke, Vanessa Tibola da Rocha and Roberto dos Santos Rabello

Higher education institutions are widely known both for their promotion to education for sustainable development (ESD) and for their contribution as living labs to urban…

Abstract

Purpose

Higher education institutions are widely known both for their promotion to education for sustainable development (ESD) and for their contribution as living labs to urban management strategies. As for strategies, smart and learning campuses have recently gained significant attention. This paper aims to report an air quality monitoring experience with focus on the smart and learning campus and discuss its implications for the university context with regard to ESD and sustainable development goal (SDG) integration.

Design/methodology/approach

The air quality monitoring was held at the main campus of University of Passo Fundo and focused on three pollutants directly related to vehicle emissions. The air quality index (AQI) was presented on a website, along with information regarding health problems caused by air pollution, main sources of emissions and strategies to reduce it.

Findings

The results showed how the decrease in air quality is related to the traffic emissions and the fact that exposing students to a smart and learning environment could teach them about sustainability education.

Practical implications

This case study demonstrated how monitoring air quality in a smart environment could highlight and communicate the impact of urban mobility on air quality and alerted to the need for more sustainable choices, including transports.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the literature by showing the potential of a smart-learning campus integration and its contribution towards the ESD and the UN SDGs.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 21 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 13 October 2020

Elaine Nolasco, Pedro Henrique Vieira Duraes, Júlia Pereira Gonçalves, Maria Cristina de Oliveira, Lucijane Monteiro de Abreu and Alexandre Nascimento de Almeida

Universities are an example of institutions that aggregate people around work/study who consume water, energy and produce waste daily in their activities, generating an…

Abstract

Purpose

Universities are an example of institutions that aggregate people around work/study who consume water, energy and produce waste daily in their activities, generating an impact on the environment. The purpose of this study is to determine the quantity, composition and recycling potential of waste generated at the Faculdade UnB Planaltina (FUP) campus, of the University of Brasilia in the Federal District, Brazil, to develop a waste management strategy compatible with national legislation and sustainable global practices.

Design/methodology/approach

This study was based on conducting on-site visits to identify the sources of generation, hazardousness, management and gravimetric characteristics of residual waste from 2015 to 2016. In 2016, a selective collection was implemented on the FUP campus, and since then, actions to raise awareness for the selective disposal and monitoring of waste were conducted with the academic community.

Findings

The results showed that the campus generates 148 kg of waste/day, whereas the per capita generation is 92 g/day. The production of hazardous waste is related to campus laboratories which manage it under a specific program. The campus restaurant is the place that generates the most waste, of which organic waste is the most representative. When categorizing the waste generated on campus, the authors found that the majority are recyclables at 67% of the total. This category includes material composed of cardboard, paper and plastic, all able to be recycled in the Federal District.

Practical implications

The recyclable waste generated at the FUP campus is being diverted from the city’s landfill because they are donated to a recycling cooperative. These actions promote income generation, social inclusion of waste pickers and a circular economy, all in compliance with the National Solid Waste Policy. As a result, the FUP campus is more in line with Brazilian legislation and the global context of adopting sustainable waste management amongst higher education institutions.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the literature on sustainability in higher education by reporting the process of implementation of a waste management strategy in a university campus. Further, it presents tools and methods that can be used to achieve sustainability in waste management. The study also identifies that the crucial factor for the success of such actions is the mobilization and participation of the academic community in the process. It does so by presenting findings demonstrating how the University of Brasilia has been concerned with adopting pro-environmental measures for sustainable development.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

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