By 2020 the HKUST Sustainability Network will form a core social backbone to support and advance sustainability actions and policies across departments, schools, and the campus.
Engaging the Campus Community
Green Team members, comprising student and staff volunteers who work in their own time to improve campus conditions, collaborated with the National Geographic Society to hold a popular “Planet or Plastic” exhibition in the Atrium. A 100% recyclable cardboard display unit with a Y-shaped tunnel showcased photographs and videos on single-use plastic and how it is damaging wildlife and the environment globally. One of the most thought provoking images was an innocent monkey surrounded by tons of plastic around it. By walking through this exhibition, students and staff were motivated to have a new perspective and think about their daily habits. They were also encouraged to take an online pledge through social media, making a promise to themselves and Mother Nature to reduce the consumption of disposable plastic and shared with their friends. With the support of Facilities Management Office, most of the structure cardboard materials were reused afterwards to show the emerging designs of our new undergraduate residence halls (which are being designed to the highest BEAM Platinum standards.
The event was part of a larger year-long campaign to encourage our community members to practice different ways to reduce the use of disposable plastic, such as bringing their own lunch boxes, bottles, mugs and cutlery. A sub-group of the Green Team promoted food donations and sharing through social media with activities to collect surplus mooncakes after Mid-Autumn festival, as well as food and candies from the Chinese New Year.
The Sustainability Unit and the Dean of Students Office continued working with student societies via Green O’Camp for freshers and Green Promotion activities that contributed to campus waste reduction. Students and staff were engaged through social media campaigns, green gift distribution during first week of school, a visit to the T-park, a water for free exhibition, a green products fair, and WWF’s solar mobile café event that promoted United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Sustainability Network representatives continued to encourage their respective departments and offices to dispense with plastic water bottles and participated in the pilot Green Office Audit Program. Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Sustainable Campus Consortium worked across Hong Kong Universities to jointly organize a “UNIfy- Bring Your Own” campaign to motivate students and staff to reduce waste by bringing their own lunch boxes, water bottles, bags, and straws.