Trinity College’s second Green Flag was presented to the college by An Taisce today. The ceremony was held in the Exam Hall due to bad weather, though the flag was presented again in Front Square once the rain had lifted, following the initial ceremony.
Mr Noel McCann, Treasurer of the Green Campus Committee (GCC), opened the event on behalf of GCC Chair, Dr Ronnie Russell, who is currently abroad.
Mr McCann praised the work of students over the past year to raise environmental awareness on campus: “The students have created a foundation we will have to build on in the coming years.”
A speech was given by Professor Shane Allwright, the College Registrar. She first gave a brief history of the environmental movement in Trinity, which began in the 1990s with the founding of the College Recycling Committee, forerunner of the GCC. It had been founded by the late Professor Simon Perry, a professor of civil engineering.
Professor Allwright outlined the Strategic Plan formulated by the provost, Patrick Prendergast, and the college administration. The Strategic Plan lays out a number of “specific sustainability targets.” One of these is the establishment of a Sustainability Advisory Group, which will advise the GCC and report directly to the provost.
An Taisce were represented at the ceremony by Anthony Purcell and Deirdre O’Caroll. Purcell praised both management and students for their combined efforts in promoting conservation. He said that An Taisce’s first indication of Trinity’s commitment was “when we walked through the gates and started talking to students at the outset.” Purcell stressed that much more work remains to be done, and that the Green Flag award “is a milestone rather than an end goal in itself.”
The flag was then unfurled by Lynn Ruane, president of the Students’ Union and newly elected senator, and Áine O’Gorman, chair of the Trinity College Environmental Society. Ruane said that she had barely considered environmental issues a year and a half ago, and praised the college for raising awareness of them since then.
O’Gorman said the Green Flag is a symbol of how a movement can bring all parts of the campus together, from “the people who cut the grass, to the people who work in catering, to academics.”
She went on to say that the various environmental groups on campus needed to work harder to further raise people’s awareness of sustainability issues: “We need to bring sustainability into every part of college life.” O’Gormon closed her speech by saying that, as well as a symbol of unity, the Green Flag should also be “a catalyst for action.”
The Green Flag is awarded by Green-Schools, an initiative run by An Taisce that raises awareness of environmental conservation in educational insititutes. Trinity was awarded its first Green Flag three years ago.
The TCD Green Campus Committee oversees environmental initiatives on campus, including the green flag programme and Green Week. The GCC has collaborated with a number of student societies, such as the Environment Society, to raise environmental awareness. Among the committee’s past achievements include establishing the annual Green Week in 2003, and stimulating recycling programmes for bottles, cans and batteries.