RCS Sustainability Committee – Reflection on 2021-22

RCS Sustainability Committee – Reflection on 2021-22

Published: December 15, 2022

It is over a year since Glasgow hosted the COP26 conference and RCS was involved in many creative projects and performances as part of the programme of events around climate change, including the Etch festival (below), Vital Signs of the Planet, the Climate Portals festival and Climate Café events. A publication, What Can Art Do? reflecting on this work will be launched in the new year.

The RCS Sustainability Committee actively collaborates to embed sustainability into every aspect of our operations. It welcomes all suggestions from students and staff to further the sustainability of our campus and how we operate. The committee reports to the Board of Governors through the Academic Board, with goals to increase awareness, visibility and accountability of sustainable practice across our community.

Last year, the RCS Sustainability Committee worked on developing projects and initiatives to further embed sustainable approaches within the institution and also to celebrate student work that engages with ideas, processes and outputs that foreground sustainability.

Details of sustainability initiatives were included in our prospectus and the first RCS Sustainability Prize was awarded to Penny Chivas, MEd in Learning and Teaching in the Arts student, for her dance-theatre work Burnt Out – which centres upon her experience of the deadly Australian Black Summer fires of 2019-2020 – and an excerpt of her masters dissertation, which proposes ways in which ecopedagogy could be applied to dance improvisation.

Applications for the Sustainability Prize for 22/23 will be announced in January, with a submission deadline of 31 May.

Production students and staff continue to pilot approaches from the Theatre Green Book to ensure production processes and outputs are as sustainable as possible. Sustainable performance-making practices are being considered over multiple disciplines and art forms with the long-term ambition of embedding sustainability within all of our performance-making processes.

The Whittaker Library developed an ongoing project with Glasgow Seed Library to grow plants within the library to make it a greener space and to promote wellbeing.

The committee is exploring a number of possibilities for developing overall efficiencies across the RCS estate, including insulation, triple glazing and implementing solar panels.

The Sustainability Committee set up working groups last year to focus on Production, Learning and Teaching, Recruitment, Ethics, Estates and Information Services, and the committee is currently working on an RCS Sustainability Policy.

At RCS, we are committed to ensuring that we play a role in tackling the challenges of climate change on our environment. A range of measures is underway, including:

  • Growing root vegetables and herbs in our roof garden, for use in our café
  • Annual reduction of our carbon footprint
  • Managing our investments responsibly. We invest up to 15% in companies specialising in renewable energy and we do not invest in fossil fuels
  • Installing energy-efficient LED lighting and solar energy on campus
  • Operating a campus energy monitoring system and motion sensor lighting
  • Committing zero waste to landfill
  • Subscribing to the Caledonian Forest scheme and planting trees to the equivalent of the paper we consume
  • Cycle Friendly Campus Award from Cycling Scotland that recognises our commitment to encouraging and promoting cycling as a healthy, sustainable mode of transport for all

The Sustainability Committee held its first open meeting in February last year – this was an opportunity for all students and staff to feed in ideas. The next open meeting is onThursday 12 January 2023 in the Boardroom, 1-2pm.

If you wish to attend, please email Gill Paton (g.paton@rcs.ac.uk). The committee warmly invites you along to share ideas of sustainable practice in your areas and to suggest questions around sustainability that you would like RCS to consider. It will be informal and all ideas and thoughts are most welcome.

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Towards a Sustainable RCS

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Sustainability Prize win for sound artist Jaime Díaz

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