NTHU: A Model of Sustainability
National Tsing Hua University (NTHU) was awarded the Taiwan University Sustainability Award at the 14th Taiwan Corporate Sustainability Awards (TCSA) held by the Taiwan Institute for Sustainable Energy (TAISE) on November 17. Standing out amongst the 38 participating universities, NTHU was ranked first in the comprehensive evaluation, and in the individual competitions also received the Social Inclusion Leadership Award and the University Sustainability Report Gold Award.
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The judges cited the exemplary way in which NTHU has built on its core competence in teaching and research to respond with concrete actions in meeting the requirements of sustainable development, including the implementation of a campus-wide campaign for reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions. In addition, they were impressed by NTHU’s workplace ethics emphasizing diversity and equality, as well as the way in which faculty and staff are rewarded for outstanding performance in research, teaching, counseling, and public service, all of which has had a positive impact on the larger society and enhanced the university’s international profile. In terms of sustainability, NTHU has consistently demonstrated what is meant by its school motto, “To Oneself Be True, Give Nature Its Due.”
President Hocheng Hong said that the natural beauty of the campus goes hand-in-hand with the principles of sustainability. In addition to being the first university in Taiwan to appoint a chief sustainability officer, NTHU has a total of 517 undergraduate courses related to sustainability, and 216 at the graduate level, which together amount to 13% of the school’s courses.
NTHU senior vice president and chief sustainability officer Tai Nyan-hwa pointed out that in order to deepen the concept of sustainability on all levels, each administrative and academic department has appointed a sustainability officer, all 26 of whom belong to the Sustainability Committee, which meets every two months to discuss the latest developments and coordinate their efforts.
Sustainability Office director Lin Fu-ren said that since research, teaching, and public service are the most important tasks of a university, the school’s early efforts in promoting sustainability focused on encouraging teachers, researchers, and students to integrate the principles of sustainability into their ongoing work. Numerous faculty members at NTHU are conducting research directly related to the 17 goals of sustainable development promulgated by the United Nations. In the process, they have demonstrated how focusing attention on an issue generates positive change.
Lin said that in addition to the ongoing Rising Sun Scholarship for financially disadvantaged students, NTHU has established a special fund for assisting students undergoing hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both of which tie in with the UN’s sustainability goals of “no poverty” and “quality education.”
Lin also pointed out that making sustainable development a reality requires planting the seeds of sustainability in the hearts of students, so that when they graduate, these seeds will sprout and grow strong throughout society.
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