Minister Seán Canney returns to GMIT to launch Green campus bid & Open Event
New GMIT & An Taisce agreement aims to turn two city campuses Green
Date Article Written:
Saturday, October 8, 2016
Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) this week launched its bid for Green Campus status for its two Galway city campuses, with the official signing of an agreement between An Taisce and GMIT at the Institute’s inaugural Green Campus & Energy Awareness Open Day.
Seán Canney, Minister of State for the Office of Public Works and Flood Relief, and former lecturer in GMIT’s School of Engineering, formally opened the well-attended event on Tuesday morning (4 Oct), marking his return to GMIT for the first time since he was elected to the Dáil in February.
Minister Canney was welcomed by GMIT President, Dr Fergal Barry, and senior management and warmly greeted by his former students, lecturing colleagues and well-wishers. He visited various stands and met with guests and representatives from sustainable energy companies, communities and organisations.
As part of the open event, the first meeting of eight regionally based Sustainable Energy Communities (SECs) took place, organised by GMIT’s Dr John Lohan, School of Engineering and Head of CiSET (Centre for integrated Sustainable Energy Technologies), and Cormac Walsh of Energy Co-ops Ireland. The inaugural meeting was attended by leaders of the eight SECs, and was addressed by the President of GMIT, Dr Fergal Barry, who said “Sustainability is central to the Institute’s vision and our new strategy, with objectives to embed sustainability and green principles into our curricula and research activities.”
The new An Taisce/GMIT agreement aims to repeat the success of GMIT Mayo, the first Institute of Technology to achieve the Green Flag, in 2011, and GMIT Letterfrack, which was awarded Green Campus status in 2014. Staff and students in the two Galway city campuses, Dublin Road and the Centre for Creative Arts & Media, Monivea Road, have now committed to working towards that same goal.
A number of green campus and sustainable energy community initiatives have already been implemented, involving students, staff and the wider community in collaboration with State agencies and local authorities, such as SEAI Energy Awareness – Engaging People, SEAI Public Sector Energy Partnership, SEAI Research, Development and Demonstration, National Transport Authority’s Smarter Campus Travel , Campus Engage Civic and Community Engagement charter, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Green Enterprise scheme, and SEAI Better Energy Communities scheme.
Chair of the Green Campus Committee, Dr Mark Kelly, School of Engineering, says the Open Event was a great success: “We had fantastic engagement between the industry exhibitors and GMIT staff and students through the various product demonstrations and technical talks. Two particular highlights included the GMIT Campus Energy Tours, which were full to capacity and an inspiring series of talks on Inis Oírr’s transition towards becoming a sustainable energy community. On a personal note, I would sincerely like to thank everybody involved.”
Deirdre O’Carroll, An Taisce’s Green Campus Programme Manager, says: “We are delighted to welcome GMIT Dublin Road and Monivea Road campuses to the Green Campus Community. They join a community of practitioners who uphold a very high standard of work on the programme including their sister campuses at Letterfrack and Mayo. They will no doubt benefit from the experience, support and advice of their colleagues. Benefits of the programme include significant financial savings on for instance waste, energy and water bills. But there are also the more intangible benefits from engaging with the local community. For instance, GMIT Mayo and a number of other sites such as DCU, UL and UCC have as part of their green campus activities developed outdoor green spaces for the campus and wider community to enjoy. These might include community gardens that produce food or space such as the GMIT Letterfrack Native Woodland or the GMIT Mayo Serenity Garden which is a haven for wildlife and people alike.
David Lee, Manager of GMIT Buildings & Estates, says: “ GMIT has always strived to be as energy efficient and ‘green’ as practicable, and is building upon the good work done by GMIT staff, past and present, to obtain Green Campus status in the near future, for its campuses in Galway City.”
For further information on GMIT Galway’s Green Campus initiatives, please visit: www.gmit.ie/green
L to R: Seán Fahy, Buildings & Estates, Annemarie Harte, GMIT Catering Co, Dr John Lohan, School of Engineering, Amy Kelly, Students Union President, Dr Mark Kelly, School of Engineering, Peter Butler, Lifelong Learning Manager. Front row: Dr Fergal Barry, President of GMIT, and Deirdre O'Carroll, An Taisce.