With the looming challenges of sustainability, mankind is facing unprecedented and highly complex problems. The ever-increasing global population needs more resources but most resources are limited and exploiting them has consequences. Are we therefore ready for the challenges which await ahead?
According to UAE national agenda and the UAE vision 2021, more effort should be spent to ensure sustainable development while preserving the environment, and to achieve a perfect balance between economic and social development. At University of Sharjah (UoS), we are convinced that the university has a significant role and responsibility to tackle these challenges and develop sustainable solutions for the benefit of our society. With UoS's goal to contribute to the scientific and economic progress of the society, a decision was taken by H.E. the Chancellor of UoS to form a university Sustainability Office on the 22nd of October, 2017. This decision is aligned with the values of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah and the founder and president of the University. The vision of this office is:
" For the University of Sharjah to become a regional and global benchmark for sustainability excellence in higher education".
The Sustainability Office endeavors to develop a culture of sustainability, by reducing the environmental impact and incorporating sustainability in every aspect of UoS campus life and operations. These efforts can seek "incremental" improvements over time or "breakthrough" improvement all at once. This will be accomplished by implementing the continuous improvement methodology—the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle:
- Plan: Identify an opportunity and plan for change.
- Do: Implement the change on a small scale.
- Check: Use data to analyses the results of the change and determine whether it made a difference.
Act: If the change was successful, implement it on a wider scale and continuously assess the results.
I am confident that with the help and support of the newly developed sustainability circles concept, which involve members from students, employees, and faculty members, and the continuous support of the university administration, as well as participation of the local communities, we will reach new heights and become recognized as a local and regional leader in sustainability excellence in higher education within the next five years.
Dr. Imad Alsyouf
Director of Sustainability Office