Residences have a critical role to play in reducing UCT’s environmental footprint, and provide a great opportunity to influence the future behaviour of students. The Department of Student Housing and Residence Life (SH&RL) has worked very closely with the GCI, service providers, and student leadership to help make residences greener. In this regard they have received national recognition from the Association of College and University Housing Officers International – Southern Africa Chapter (ACUHO-I-SAC), for what has been achieved.
The majority of waste from residences gets recycled. In catering residences there is no active recycling on the part of students, however in kitchens and in self-catering residences, students separate their waste at source into recyclable (dry) and non-recyclable (wet) waste.
Many of the sustainability initiatives within residences would not be possible without the cooperation of support staff who play an important role in carrying out environmental action on the ground. Raising awareness among staff and recognising them for the role they play is an important part of “greening” residences.
As part of making residences more sustainable students, staff and service providers have been encouraged to sign a Green Residence Pledge, committing themselves to contributing to the campaign. The idea is get everyone to make small changes in their behaviour, like taking short showers, switching off lights and computers when not needed, and eating fresh food; and through this create awareness on sustainable living at residences.