Thammasat University has won ICSN 2020 Award for “Cultural Change for Sustainability”. The University has bagged the honors for its campaign “Thammasat Campus Life: No more single-use plastics”, and is the first university in Thailand to win this award.
International Sustainable Campus Networks ( ISCN ) is the network of colleges and universities all over the world, providing a forum for members for sharing capacity, passion, and intellectual capital to re-envision the future and taking meaningful action to contribute to sustainable development.
Every year ISCN grants the International Sustainable Campus Excellence Awards to accredit the members’ sustainable campus projects that demonstrate outstanding performance in the following areas: Whole Systems Approach, Partnerships for Progress, and Cultural Change for Sustainability. There is also another award, Honorary Member Award for non-member campus. Since the start of the program, there have been overwhelming numbers of nominees in each category.
Assoc.Prof.Gesinee Witoonchart, President of Thammasat University, reveals, “One of our vital policies are to be the best sustainable and smart University”. We aim to move towards stability and sustainability using modern administration. We also pay attention to the environment, community, society, and people which are the critical part of being a sustainable University.”
Thammasat has been working on the campaign since 2005. Asst.Prof.Dr.Prinya Tewanareumitkul, Vice Rector for Sustainability and Administration at Rangsit campus, sys “Thammasat University, Rangsit campus has a population of 40,000. It is not easy to change people’s habits, therefore, awareness and commitment are needed for the project to be successful. In 2016, our plastic usage in convenience stores inside the university was 6,500,000 bags. After we initiated the “Say no to single-use plastic” project in 2017, we found out that we used 4,700,000 plastic bags. However, the number was not satisfactory. Hence, we created the “No more single-use plastic” project in 2018.”
“In addition, we signed an agreement with private sectors and members of SUN Thailand in order to work collaboratively to promote the project throughout the country. With help from students, merchants, and staff of Thammasat University helps create change and promote the use of reusable products in order to reduce waste problems in the future.”
Moreover, Thammasat enforces other measures to encourage people to stop using single-use plastics, for example, “lendable tote bag” system, banning the sale of bottles with cap seals, and enforcing complete stop on using plastic bottles. Using personal bottles, straw, reusable plates, and utensils during conferences and other festivities are actively encouraged. Recently, Thammasat started “Thammasat Refill Shoppe” program that provides Bulk Store service, asking customers to bring personal containers. The goal is to create zero waste.
Due to the collaboration between different sectors, Thammasat is able to proceed according to the university’s strategic plan, issue 12 (2017-2021). The plan aims to enhance education to serve the future world and to be the Best Sustainable and Smart University. The university has created “participation” to conserve the environment and engaged 40,000 people who live on campus to care for the circular living.
“We encouraged people’s conscious and drove this campaign. As a result, Thammasat University became a good “model” for Thai society”, said Assoc.Prof.Gesinee.