In recognition of its efforts to promote a clean and green environment, the Western Mindanao State University was once again declared by the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources- Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) as a Sustainable and Eco-Friendly School.
This recognition was given on November 8, 2019 at the Palacio del Sur, this city during the 2019 National Search for Sustainable and Eco-friendly Schools- Regional Level organized by the Environmental Management Bureau of DENR. Present to receive the recognition were Dr. Milabel Enriquez Ho, WMSU President, Dr. Teresita A. Narvaez, Vice President for Resource Generation (VPRG) and Dr. Eladia U. Rivera, Special Programs and Projects Office Director. WMSU came in second place in the tertiary category with only 0.67 points difference from the first place.
The biennial contest, now on its sixth leg, is geared to encourage schools/academic institutions to become more actively involved in environmental issues at a practical and local level, and to develop skills and understanding among the students, faculty and school administrators in initiating active responses and increasing community awareness and participation on environmental concerns.
The University’s environmental initiatives comprise a comprehensive and holistic enhancement program on the preservation and upgrading of its campus holdings and the pursuit of educational goals for sustainable development and the promotion of the stakeholders’ quality of life.
The documentation of WMSU’s initiatives on sustainable and eco-friendly school was prepared by the SPPO Director Dr. Rivera and was submitted to DENR-EMB on April 2019 upon the approval of the University President and other officials. It highlights the University’s stewardship of its campus and natural resource holdings and the discharge of its fourfold functions of instruction, research, extension and production as an institution that is engaged in education for sustainable development. It builds on the 2015 version prepared by former SPPO director Dr. Gloria G. Florendo. The DENR-EMB visited WMSU for the conduct of validation last July 24, 2019.
WMSU actively implements strategic measures to protect and conserve its natural resources as well as promote environmental quality. The University is on an aggressive campaign for zero waste management and recycling, and has partnered with Zamboanga City Water District (ZCWD) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Water Demand Management. WMSU also pushes for energy sustainability through the 600KW solar power technology installed in 2019.
Furthermore, the University nurtures eight (8) century trees and five (5) heritage trees. Also, by virtue of Presidential Proclamation 407, series of 1994, has been tasked to oversee a parcel of domain covering 1,227 hectares in Barangay La Paz, this city. It has been planted with around 45,000 varieties of wildings of indigenous species and maintained as a vibrant eco-system in Region IX.
“It was a great challenge accepting such responsibility especially since WMSU was a recipient of two awards from the same search in 2015,” said Dr. Rivera. “It was carried out by the full support of the University officials and Dr. Florendo since the documentation of this initiatives was based on the 2015 version she prepared when WMSU was also recognized by the same search,” she added.
The search was also organized in collaboration with the Department of Education (DepED), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Nestle Philippines and Landbank of the Philippines (LBP).
To recall, WMSU was declared as the Most Eco-Friendly School in the Region and the Nestlè Water Leadership Award by the same organizing body in 2015. (Liezel M. Parreño, WMSU-PAO)