A group of universities from the Metropolitan Region has signed an agreement with the National Commission for the Environment (Conama), the Chilean state institution that will sponsor the project aimed at turning their campuses into models of environmental sustainability.
The Universidad de Santiago de Chile (Usach), the Santiago campus of the Universidad de Talca, Universidad Tecnológica Metropolitana, Universidad Bolivariana, Uniacc and the Universidad Andrés Bello are the institutions participating in the initiative, which is aimed at each campus achieving exemplary environmental management and making them examples to be followed when it comes to environmental protection.
This is a great step forward for Jaime Cornejo, an academic at the Usach chemistry and biology department, as the universities’ experiences can be used to resolve common problems in the country’s cities.
“The campus becomes an object of environmental study, because it is a miniature city,” the academic states. “All of the problems of a large city are reproduced here: there are people here engaged in their everyday activities; there are activities that generate waste; resources like water, electricity, and biodiversity are used. The campus becomes a mini laboratory to engage in environmental observation.”
In the same way, the academic institutions will incorporate environmental issues into each of the study programs that they offer, in a search to provide Chilean professionals with environmentally responsible values and attitudes.
Another aspect of the agreement is that they are promoting Clean Production Agreements as part of what the Conama calls Voluntary Environmental Management Instruments. The point of this is for the universities to establish voluntary environmental management pacts, including those related to clean production.