UL marks 50th year with plan to become a sustainable university

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An image of how UL's Sustainability Framework would influence the university's future development.

UNIVERSITY of Limerick has marked the 50th anniversary by adopting a strategy to become  a ‘truly sustainable university’ over the next ten years.

UL President Professor Kerstin Mey made the announcement at the annual President’s Dinner in Adare Manor – an event that has not taken place for three years.

Professor Mey said a UL Sustainability Framework 2030 had been approved by the Executive Committee and Governing Authority as part of an initiative to drive the vision of the institution’s future.

The President’s Dinner also marked the beginning of UL 50, a year of events to mark the anniversary of the establishment of the university in 1972 as the National Institute of Higher Education.

“The UL Sustainability Framework 2030 advocates a mission-based approach which aligns with much of the work currently been undertaken within the EU and globally,” explained Professor Mey.

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“The Framework will act as a bedrock for our decisions and actions to shape the future of higher education, research and the organisation itself,” she added.

Futures and Foresight Lead Andrea Deverell explained the work taking place to reimagine UL as a ‘sustainable university’.

“Preparing for the UL 50 celebrations gave us an opportunity to stand at the crossroads between UL’s past achievements and what we could be and do in the next ten years,” she said.

“We discussed the importance of sustainable governance and the role of procurement in ensuring that we source products and services that are sustainable. We discussed local produce, and producers and how to reduce air miles.

“We considered our approaches to education and our curriculum, discussing how we could engage more meaningfully with sustainable development.

“We talked about the central role of research and how it connects with sustainability and how we can actively encourage a deeper campus wide focus and a series of  projects to drive future activity,” Ms Deverell added.

“Over the coming months we will work with the campus community to further develop each of our missions. Some will be prioritised to start immediately, others will be launched over the coming years.

“Some are very ambitious while others build on work that is already going on in UL. We will learn as we go, shaping and reshaping our missions. Inevitably, some will fail and some will succeed.

“As a first step, we have dared to imagine what UL could be like in 2030. What would it feel like to work and learn at UL? How would we experience our campus, walking through large re-wilded spaces, welcoming nature into our buildings, protecting natural habitats, celebrating our community, producing energy, with a radically reduced carbon footprint, ensuring equality and diversity in the workplace and universal access to education, working in partnership with local communities and companies towards a world that we would be happy for our children to inhabit,” Ms Deverell explained.

The UL Sustainability Framework 2030 will be officially launched in September.

A full schedule of events is being organised to mark UL’s fifty years including seminars, conferences, concerts, exhibitions, publications, lectures and cultural and sporting projects.

More details here