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Tomorrow’s Universities shall thrive on Sustainable Development Practices– Global Experts at Amity University Haryana Webinar

Amity Academic Staff College, Amity University Haryana organized a high impact webinar on “Tomorrow’s Universities and the Sustainable Development Practices” on 27th September 2021 during the Amity Innovation week – 2021. Sustainable development has been defined as the development that meets the needs of the
present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The seventeen goals of the Sustainable Development are the blueprint to accomplish a better, brighter and a healthier sustainable future for the humanity. All the SDGs are interconnected and are important for the well-being of individuals and the global community.

Innovations have emerged as a major driving force for growth and development of Nation’s economy. However, it is absolutely essential that the goal of Innovations goes beyond pushing the GDP. Innovations for sustainability as well as for taking the current and future challenges head on is as important as the economic prosperity, said Prof PB Sharma, Vice Chancellor Amity University Haryana while delivering his welcome address at the Amity Innovation week-2021 webinar organised by Amity Academic Staff College at AUH on ‘Tomorrow’s Universities and the Sustainable Development Practices’.

It is absolutely important for all of us to identify the approaches for the university’s future engagement with sustainability challenges and to create an upsurge of sustainability-enhancing innovations in institutions of higher
learning.Higher education institutes have a lot to do in terms of instilling the spirit of sustainable development practices at all levels in institutions, in departments, in classrooms, in research labs and these practices should be very well integrated into the curriculum and in the R&D and Innovation ecosystem of the Universities, opined the Global Experts at the webinar.

Dr Alicia G Harley, Research Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School in sustainable science program at Harvard University in her address on ‘Operational Capacities to Advance Sustainable Development’ highlighted that the pathways of development for our complex nature-society systems cannot be fully predicted, and thus require global cooperation and collaboration to foster a more profound understanding and target innovations to solving these problems. The pursuit of sustainability requires operational capacities for learning by doing. She highlighted upon six major Capacities-Capacity to measure, Capacity to promote equity, Capacity to adopt to Shocks, Capacity to transform development paths, Capacity to link knowledge with action, Capacity to govern cooperatively, all these
are interlinked and have emerged as the foci of multiple research programs in recent years.

Dr. Alicia also emphasized upon the goals of sustainable development that have been debated through a multi-decade de-liberative process spanning the globe. The constituents of the goals that are given the most weight vary across groups, places, and times. But a widely shared common vision has emerged focused on equitable improvements in human well-being within and across generations. The ultimate foundations or determinants of sustainable development are the suite of natural and anthropogenic resources on which people draw to produce the goods and services that are consumed to create well-being. Development paths that deplete the ability of the resource base to generate well-being are not sustainable.

Dr S Venkata Mohan, Sr Principal Scientist at Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad in his presentation stressed the need for an influx of circular economy to transit towards a highly resilience ecosystem. He also elaborated on the requirement of resource-efficient practices and bioeconomy by showing biorefinery models being developed in his research labs. These included green hydrogen production from biowaste, absorption of CO 2 and its conversion into hydrogen. He was of the opinion that the universities of tomorrow shall have learning centres that shall play a major role in fostering the ecosystem for effective integration of knowledge, skills and Innovations to transform the global society towards a sustainable future.

Dr Nalini Chhetri, Clinical Associate Professor at School of Sustainability and College of Global Futures of Arizona State University while delivering her address on ‘Rethinking sustainability in our society and in our university’ explained that the Sustainability Concepts based on three pillars- Environment, Social and
Economic development. Dr Nalini emphasized that universities alone cannot do everything, they need to imbibe a culture of global collaboration to accelerate the growth of sustainability practices. To produce the better results and outputs, sustainability should be in our thinking and actions, and we must practice what we teachin order to mentor our students and research scholars. We need also to inspire the students of current and future generations to collaborate with each other to address the major challenges that we faced today and be future ready.

Sharing the vision of ASU President Michael M Crow, Dr Nalini said “Our college of Global Futures has a strong focus on driving innovation at same time forge closer ties with private sector and government alike to realize the potential of this moment that will require a focused collective commitment and realization that sustainability like democracy is not a problem to be solved but rather a challenge that requires constant vigilance”.

We need to work on informal education also as we cannot just stick to regular learning system for creating the vital urge for sustainability at all levels. We must build a learning system which should start imbibing the spirit of sustainability and integrate sustainability practices all the way from elementary schools to the university level.

Dr A S Raghuvanshi, Director of Sustainable Development at BHU while delivering his presentation on sustainable development highlighted Green University Networks, a functional network of higher education institutions that incorporate environment, low carbon-climate resilience development strategies and sustainability aspects in their education, training, campus operations and enhanced student engagements. Dr Raghuvanshi shared the sustainability practices at BHU and the research and innovations in areas relating to climate change, wastewater treatment technologies and green engineering.

While addressing the gathering, Vice Chancellor, Prof P B Sharma, Amity University Haryana said, “At Amity University Haryana we have laid a strong focus on Sustainable Green Practices that include Green Building Designs, Extensive Rain Water Harvesting, Wastewater Treatment and its reuse, Green Energy from Solar Installations, Effective Solid Waste Treatment and Energy Efficient Campus

Operation that has enabled AUH to achieve the LEED Platinum Certification from US Green Building Council in June 2017”. Our commitment to sustainability science and technology is unconditional and total and our innovations are
targeted to creating a bright future for our country and the global community, said Prof PB Sharma.

While moderating the event Dr Sanjna Vij, Program Director, Amity Academic Staff College, AUH said, “It is high time for Higher Education Institutions to realize their role as promoters of sustainable development and start demonstrating their performances. If universities and colleges understand how to manage sustainability, they would contribute to the growth of the society and nation at large that values people, the planet, and the mother earth.”

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