VUT green team scoops Eco Award 
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VUT green team scoops Eco Award 

Green machine: VUT’s GCI team scooped the Eco Award at this year’s GCI Annual Conference held in Cape Town.

Azande Ralephenya

The Vaal University of Technology’s Green Campus Initiative (GCI) team attended this year’s 6th Annual Green Campus Initiative Conference hosted at the University of Western Cape in July and, to no one’s surprise, scooped the EcoRunway Award for participation.

The team also received two nominations for Greenest Student of the year, Mr Luis Fonseka and Greenest Staff Member of the year, Mr Pakiso Tjotjo. The conference, which was themed “Save Water”, had GCI teams from various universities across the country participate and present their ideas for the practical implementation of green campus programmes within their respective institutions.

In a location that caters to over 16 000 students, it must be quite challenging to maintain a clean and green environment. It’s also seen as important to promote and teach the use of water and electricity preservation techniques. This is exactly what the VUT Green Campus Initiative team does.

We sat down with Residence Life Officer, Pakiso Tjotjo and asked him a few questions on VUT GCI’s future plans for the university.

Pakiso says that VUT GCI wants to create a sense of pride within the students and involving them in the GCI is a great start, because they take full ownership of the projects they come up with and are able to use their creative expression to implement these ideas.

“We want to inspire and instil responsibility amongst our students, to preserve the environment that we live in by keeping it clean and to save water and electricity.  Our future plans include creating an app that will encourage students to join the GCI movement and help us work towards creating a clean and environmentally friendly campus by placing more garbage bins around campus. These bins will be visible because we plan to creatively design and paint them. We’re also in the process of planting a vegetable garden at the residences to assist in poverty alleviation. The vegetables will be for our underprivileged students. We also want to create awareness on saving water and electricity through campaigns which we’ll run on campus.  We have big plans, and we’re constantly working hard and smart to achieve them,” said Pakiso.

From what we’re seeing on campus, it seems that VUT GCI has a lot more in store for us.

The GCI Conference promotes educational awareness on the causes and impacts of climate change. It also explores the practical interventions that institutions can use for the successful development of green campus programmes.

VUT GCI team members; from left – Liteboho Pitso, Timone Smith, Luis Fonseka, Khululwa Sisa and Sipho Nkosi

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