News 2013

National University Environmental Forum

Tue, 19 Mar 2013

NUEFThe UCC Environmental Society will launch the inaugural National University Environmental Forum (NUEF) on Friday the 22 March in Brookfield Health Sciences Complex.

The public, as well as students right across primary, secondary and third level are actively invited to attend. Attendees will even be greeted by the sight of owls and a rather unusual approach to exercise as they approach the venue - a smoothie bike.

The purpose of NUEF is to encourage university students from all over Ireland to gather and discuss environmental issues with their peers, academics, professionals and the public. Going forward, NUEF will be hosted in a different university annually with the aim of facilitating engagement and contribution nationally. Friday 22 March will see its formal launch by the UCC Environmental Society in association with the Green Campus initiative, the School of Biological, Ecological and Earth Sciences (BEES), UCC and Building and Estates, UCC.

Registration begins at 9.30am, with the opening address at 10.30am. The day will provide many opportunities for attendees to engage in debate and discussion. The first part of the day will consist of two main panel discussions:

  • “Environmental activism and the Media” will feature Oisin Coghlan, Director of Friends of the Earth Ireland and Head of the panel of representatives of the Environmental Pillar of Social Partnership, and John Gibbons, journalist, former columnist with The Irish Times and founder of
  • “Food Waste, Global Food Production and Climate Change” with Dr Colin Sage, senior lecturer, Department of Geography, UCC and author of ‘Environment and Food’ (Routledge, 2012), and Colum Gibson from the Clean Technology Centre (CIT) managing the EPA’s Stop Food Waste program.

John O'Halloran, Professor of Zoology and Head of the School of BEES will make the opening address, followed by keynote speaker Eamon Ryan, leader of the Green Party and former Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, who was invited by the UCC Young Greens.

Several external organisations will also have an active presence, including An Taisce, Clean Coasts, Stop Food Waste, Fota, Young Friends of the Earth, and the Irish Wildlife Trust. Undergraduate and postgraduate students, who are carrying out research on the environment within the School of BEES, and across the College of Science, Engineering and Food Science, UCC are invited to showcase their work through a poster session competition.

The afternoon will provide an opportunity for primary, secondary and third level students to interact and discuss recent progress made in their respective schools under the Green Campus/Green Schools initiatives with other attendees of the conference. UCC became the world’s first university campus to be accredited with the “Green Flag” by the Federation for Environmental Education in Copenhagen, in collaboration with An Taisce, in 2010.

Welcoming this important initiative, Professor John O'Halloran asked all those attending to think green in all they do: “We should all aim to research, teach and manage with sustainability in mind. This important national conference is a first in green citizenship and an important step change in green networking".

Barrie Curley, Estates Administrator, UCC comments: “It is of utmost importance to the Department of Buildings and Estates that we set an example in how we deliver services to students, staff and stakeholders and establish ourselves as a leader in this area. By embracing the student perspective and its accompanying enthusiasm, it has enabled us to move our sustainable approach forward as a university community. We have been delighted with the results and the Green Campus Flag is great recognition to the work that is on-going by the staff and students in UCC. What makes the Green Campus programme so worthwhile, leaving aside the immediate and obvious benefits to UCC, is that it helps in preparing students to contribute as working citizens to an environmentally healthy and equitable society. With such a large body of environmentally conscious students dispersing throughout society each year, it should have a great influence on the external community going forward. That is why this conference holds such merit”.

The event is directly organised by UCC Environmental Society members Maggie Creed, studying for a PhD in Engineering, Jess O’Connor, an undergraduate student studying Folklore and Celtic Civilisation, and Colm Foley, studying Geology as an undergraduate.

The charge for the day is €10 (€5 for concessions - students, senior citizens, the unwaged). Students travelling from outside of Cork should contact for preferential rates and accommodation information. Schools who wish to facilitate attendance of their students should also contact or Colm Foley, Auditor of the UCC Environmental Society on 0861770435. Further updates can also be found on or via Twitter: @UCCEnviroSoc The hashtag for this event is: #GreenUCC

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School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences

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