Friday, September 2, 2011

Woosong University's Sustainable Future

The United Nations declared the period of 2005 to 2014 the“Decade of Education for Sustainable Development”, and since then hundreds of universitiesaround the world have incorporated sustainable development into their campuses,classrooms, staff trainings, and matched their long-term objectives with thephilosophy. The term, now more commonly known as sustainability, is generally definedas, meeting the needs of the currentgeneration without compromising future generations to meet their needs (BrundtlandReport, 1987). The term has become synonymous with ”green” or “eco”. Thereare three pillars - Economic, Social, andEnvironmental - (sometimes referred to as profit, people, and planet in business)that are interconnected and represent various facets of society.

The sustainability movement has sparked significant trendsglobally, such as the demand for more organic foods, carbon footprint reduction,an increase in renewable energies, socially responsible businesses, waste reductions,and increased efforts in recycling. Many institutes and municipalities are redesigningtheir growth strategies significantly taking into account sustainabledevelopment. Daejeon, for example, aims to become the “greenest” city in Koreaby 2020, according to the Mayor at the Pan-Pacific Conference earlier this year.

In recent years, the Korean government has developed programsand policies which support “green” initiatives in both public and privatesectors. A small number of Korean universities have also adopted strategies forsustainability which mirror efforts visible at universities in the States, Europe,Australia, as well as other parts of Eastern Asia.

What does all this mean? It means that Woosong Universityhas the opportunity at this time to become an innovative leader within Korea (andquite possibly beyond) in the movement for a more sustainable (or green) futurenot only for students and Koreans within the community, but also for the internationalfaculty and communities that call this their home as well. What’s my vision?Well, it is a challenging endeavor and at times seems unfeasible, but only if Iam acting alone! My goal is to pioneer a “sustainability” or “green” programwhere students can collaborate, gain skills in research and leadership,marketing and presentations, and, overall, develop a “green” initiative oncampus conscious of the three pillars of sustainable development. The overallinitiative will compliment Woosong’s mission of “Leading the Future Society”, becausesustainability isn’t just a trend but is clearly a new facet merging its wayinto the social fabric of society.

Given the interconnectedness of sustainability and its threepillars, no one department or person will be excluded from this idea, and,therefore, you, students and faculty, are invited to join the start of theWoosong Green Committee (WGC) by attending presentations (TBA), helping out, orsimply spreading the word to help see this idea come to fruition. For moreinformation on sustainability projects in higher-ed visit ( and in Korea visit ( To participate here at Woosong please contact, Andy Northrop -

Andy Northrop is an instructor at Woosong University
with an Sustainable Development, and several years’ international experience in thefield of development, education, and sustainability.


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