Thanks to numerous activities, initiatives and a shared vision for the future, the Singapore Polytechnic community is always inspired to live green. Everyone, from senior management to student, is all in on going eco. The many green practices and spaces in this campus in a garden have naturally led to SP winning a slew of environmental awards. Inspiring Green Living in SP
SP Principal & CEO Tan Choon Shian with staff and students at a tree-planting ceremony in 2013
SP student Jocelyn Tan would rather not have her father take a detour to drive her to class, opting instead for public transport.
“I would rather take public transport or walk instead of taking my dad’s car to school. This way, I can do my part for the environment and reduce my carbon footprint. No matter how small an effort each individual makes to save the earth, it will help improve the earth’s environmental situation,” says Jocelyn.
Similarly, Mr Tan Yew Meng, Chairman of SP’s Go Green Committee since 2010 and Director of the School of Communication, Arts & Social Sciences, prefers to take a BMW – that’s Bus-MRT-Walk! – to get to SP on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Mr Tan credits SP’s first Car-free Day in 2010 for inspiring his change in transport habits.
“We launched the first SP Car-free Day on 22 April 2010, Earth Day. It was an amazing sight to see the SP campus without any cars. Nearly all of the staff supported the movement and since then, many staff, myself included, have turned this into a habit of consciously going car-free whenever we can,” says Mr Tan.
Mr Ken Choo Keng Hui, member of the Singapore Polytechnic Green, Energy and Environment Steering Committee (SPGEE) and Director of the Department of Student Development, adds that environmental consciousness is inherent in SP’s culture – from the ground up, all the way to the top management.
“A forward-looking management team together with the support of the students in SP set the tone of SP’s ‘green wave’, helping to create successful campaigns such as Car-free Day,” he says.
Car-free Day is just one of many green activities in SP’s eco-friendly scrapbook. Everywhere around, green thinking is pervasive in SP, and put into practice often.
On the individual level, you have students such as Jocelyn. Rather than using a disposable cup, she brings her own tumbler to Starbucks to get her cup of coffee. She also prefers to eat in at SP’s food courts, again to avoid the use of disposable takeaway containers. Unsurprisingly, Jocelyn is President of the SP Environment Club, where she helps organise activities to increase awareness of environmental issues and how we can all do our part.
Jocelyn (middle row, 4th from the right), leads the SP Environment Club in organising activities to promote environmental awareness and stewardship within the polytechnic campus and beyond
“Seeing the environment issues that the earth is currently facing motivates me to go green in life. I often visit websites that have regular updates of the problems that the world is undergoing. After reading those articles, how can I not do anything about it?
Our actions will encourage others to go green and make this world a better place for the generations to come,” she says.
Jocelyn’s green stance is one that Mr Tan hopes everybody in SP will emulate.
“SP’s mission involves being a leading institution that prepares students to be work ready, life ready and world ready, and an integral part of these is to be environmentally friendly. We want to nurture young minds into future citizens who contribute to the society both economically and ecologically,” he says.
Staff and students join Mr Tan Choon Shian, PCEO of SP, in planting trees around campus
On the organisational level, SP has been developed to be home to numerous gardens, swathes of green spaces, even green discovery trails that further inspire one and all towards a deeper appreciation of nature.
“Physically, SP has one of the greenest campuses amongst Singapore’s Institutes of Higher Learning. We value this heritage and intend to preserve this lush, natural environment as a legacy for our future staff and students,” says Mr Tan, on SP’s green grounds.
Mr Lim Cher Yam, former Chairman of SPGEE and Senior Director of the Architecture, Design & Environment Cluster (ADEC), also shares that SP consistently strives to embrace and celebrate nature.
“The poly is naturally charming and rustic. Its 38 hectares of land is blessed with an undulating landscape, beautiful trees and lush greenery. We leverage on this natural setting to develop SP as a ‘Campus in a Park’.”
One such development that will reach fruition this year is SP’s planting of 60 trees in celebration of its 60th anniversary.
This is a plan that took root in 2010, when it was decided to further green up SP’s grounds by planting more trees on campus. Three batches of 15 trees each have since been planted, and the final 15 trees are to be planted by end-July 2014 so as to help ensure SP’s verdant greenery continues to blossom for the enjoyment of future generations.
And if that is not already inspiring enough, it’s wonderful to know that these tree plantings have – in a sense – already borne fruit, even before the trees have reached maturity. In 2011, the trees from that tranche were auctioned to SP alumni for adoption, raising over $100,000 for the Student Needy Fund!
For its inspiring eco-initiatives over the years, SP has won numerous awards and accolades.
In 2010, it was the first polytechnic to win Singapore’s most prestigious environmental accolade – the President’s Award for the Environment – for its significant contributions to protecting and sustaining Singapore’s environment and water resources. SP has also twice won the Best Environmental Report award from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), in 2005 and 2008.
More recently, SP won the Platinum Award, the highest award in the Community in Bloom competition organised by the National Parks Board in 2012. This particular award was in recognition of how SP had allocated plots of land on campus to various schools and departments to encourage staff to plant and tend fruit trees, vegetables and flowering plants on them.
Verdant and lush, it’s little wonder that SP is the evergreen poly of choice!
Mr Tan Hang Cheong, Principal of SP from 2008-2012, accepting the President's Award for the Environment from President S R Nathan