CUHK Sustainability Initiatives Recognised by UN International Green Gown Awards
The rural sustainable development assistance programme initiated by the One University One Village (1U1V) team of the School of Architecture, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), has recently won the 2021 International Green Gown Awards in the category “Benefitting Society”, while the SDG Study Scheme, launched in 2020-21 by the Office of University General Education of CUHK, was selected as a finalist in the category “2021 Next Generation Learning and Skills” of the Award.
The International Green Gown Awards, supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), is the most prestigious recognition of sustainability best practice within the education sector globally.
Professor Rocky S. Tuan, Vice-Chancellor and President of CUHK remarked, “Social responsibility and sustainable development is one of the seven key areas in the new 5-year Strategic Plan of CUHK. We are committed to addressing society’s needs and contributing to the well-being of the global community through the integration of teaching, research and engagement. The International Green Gown Awards are a recognition to our researchers, teachers and students for their endeavours and achievements in driving sustainable development. They have set a fine example both locally and globally, and we are very proud of their achievements.”
The One University One Village (1U1V): To encourage endogenous and sustainable rural development
The research and projects under the programme include village improvement work, bridge building, and a new rammed-earth building system in Mainland China. In 2015, the 1U1V team conducted a post-earthquake reconstruction demonstration project in Yunnan, China to demonstrate the use of “high-science, low technology” strategies with the “3L” (local technology, local materials, local labour) principle of rural construction. The prototype house, constructed for an aged couple to demonstrates how bio-climatic design, cost-effectiveness, aesthetics and residential needs can be taken into consideration and implemented simultaneously.
The judges commented that the 1U1V team had provided much needed sustainable reconstruction in rural areas and empowered local citizens to continue this valuable work. The judges were particularly impressed by the upskilling elements and the holistic approach taken which made this a winning entry, because they illustrated how ethical development can lead to empowerment, especially of women, and the inclusion of climate adaptation and skills transfer.
Professor Edward Ng, Yao Ling Sun Professor of Architecture and Dr. Li Wan at CUHK who launched the 1U1V programme in 2014, are honoured to receive the award. Professor Ng said, “The CUHK 1U1V team addresses global and regional challenges and societal needs by implementing 1U1V projects. It provides an interdisciplinary, innovative and sustainable solution for poor rural areas in China. This solution has been generated by multidisciplinary partnerships and networking platforms between different universities worldwide, including the University of Cambridge, the University of Huddersfield, Tsinghua University, Kunming University of Science and Technology, Chonqging Jiaoting University, Tongji University, and various government agencies.”
For further details on this award and the programme, please visit: https://www.sustainabilityexchange.ac.uk/2021_benefitting_society_the_chinese_university
SDG Study Scheme: To inspire students to be future leaders of sustainable development
General Education is a hallmark of the whole-person education at CUHK. Using the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework, the Office of University General Education launched the SDG Study Scheme in 2020–21 to prepare students for the challenges of tomorrow. It takes the opportunity of CUHK being the co-host of the Hong Kong Chapter of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), which aims to mobilize different sectors to promote practical solutions for sustainable development.
The SDG Study Scheme is comprised of three components, combining knowledge-based learning with experiential learning: a short online course by SDG Academy; 3 SDGs-related General Education (SDG-GE) courses; and participation in SDGs-related voluntary activities. There are currently 48 SDG-GE courses, on both University and College level. More than 1,000 students enrolled in SDG-GE courses since the launch of the Scheme this year.
“Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, teachers have come up with creative solutions to organise very stimulating experiential learning activities for their SDG-GE courses. We hope to further contribute to heighten awareness of the SDGs and bring up new generation to be leaders who will build a sustainable world,” said Professor Leung Mei Yee, Director of University General Education at CUHK.
For further details on this programme, please visit: https://www.sustainabilityexchange.ac.uk/2021_next_generation_learning_and_skills_the_ch