Eco campaigner and TV personality Duncan Stewart will pay a visit to GMIT Mayo on 22 February next to formally launch the campus teaching and learning 'Sustainability Statement' at a ceremony in the campus at 11.30am, and deliver a short talk on the topic 'Education for Sustainable Development and the role that third level institutions have to play'.
The willow living classroom was a Green Campus project.
'GMIT Mayo has a well-established reputation in leading environmental and sustainability projects,' points out Michael Gill, Acting Head of GMIT Mayo. 'We were the first Institute of Technology in Ireland to receive the coveted green flag for energy, litter, waste and water in 2011, and the first to receive the green flag for biodiversity. Our green campus committee is currently in the process of applying for a green flag for transport. We are also the first third-level institute in Ireland to have an outdoor living structure classroom - made from willow, it was built by students on a variety of degree programmes as part of their coursework last year. Our sustainability statement shows our commitment to continue our work in this area.'
The Campus Sustainability Statement was developed by a research group working on an interdisciplinary research project on Education for Sustainable Development and has been formally adopted by the staff and management of the campus.
GMIT Mayo students in their outdoor classroom
The statement cites the following: 'The Mayo Campus is committed to embedding sustainability into the core of its activities and operations. We endeavour to provide a teaching and learning space that promotes critical engagement with sustainability.'
Lecturer and project coordinator John Scahill says that the statement articulates the passion and commitment of the Mayo campus staff to meeting the challenges of sustainability through their role as educators. 'The aim is to ensure that our graduates are committed, responsible, globally aware and well informed critical thinkers who also have expertise in their chosen fields of study.'
The launch of the statement coincides with another pioneering initiative. GMIT Mayo Campus is undertaking a feasibility study on the development of a Centre for Community Sustainability. The initiative is being spear-headed by an interdisciplinary steering group, chaired by Dr Deirdre Garvey. 'The objective of this proposed Centre is to provide a focal point for community-related sustainability issues,' explains Dr Garvey.
'It is proposed that the Centre staff will work with local organisations and community groups to develop networks and sustainable solutions that support rural development and regeneration. The focus will be on maintaining and improving population and environmental outcomes by creating capacity for resilience against the challenges of today's world.'
It is envisaged that the Centre will be community-led and the first task in its development is to examine and understand how such a centre could work with and benefit the various stakeholders and community groups in the Mayo region. To do this, GMIT Mayo Campus plan to host a Community Sustainability Co-design workshop in early May. The workshop will consist of community groups and other stakeholders working together with facilitators and subject area specialists to articulate a vision for the proposed Centre.
GMIT formally invites expressions of interest from organisations and community groups interested in attending and contributing to such an event. Expressions of Interest should be sent to the project coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to John Scahill, GMIT Mayo Campus, Old Westport Road, Castlebar.