“The Next Frontier of Sustainability“
An educational institution building up the next generation to thrive holistically.
Established in 1911, De La Salle University Inc (DLSU) is a leading Philippine higher education institution founded by the Catholic teaching congregation Brothers of the Christian Schools. It is grounded by a vision-mission statement to be “a leading learner-centered and research University bridging faith and scholarship, attuned to a sustainable Earth, and in the service of Church and society, especially the poor and marginalized.”
DLSU doesn’t just uphold its commitment to sustainability on an institutional level, but also involves its students and employees in various initiatives while working with local government units and relevant stakeholders in order to ensure the longevity of its strategies and a collective push for responsible social, environmental, and financial development.
For instance, during the academic years from 2018 to 2019, DLSU launched 18 new environment and sustainability-related undergraduate and graduate courses. The university has also integrated a sustainability policy in the academic curriculum of its students to promote sustainable practices and support the integrity of creation. At the same time, it worked towards building green campuses and facilities by becoming one of the first universities in the Philippines to ban the use of Styrofoam. Thereafter, it banned all single-use plastics on campus, effectively setting an example for other schools to follow suit.
Further, DLSU has its own Campus Sustainability Office (CSO) to promote education and research for sustainable development. As part of its accountability efforts, the CSO is tasked with monitoring and proposing mitigations to the environmental impacts brought about by campus operations.
The university even has 11 research centres to explore a wide range of topics – spanning business, governance, social development, natural sciences, and information technology – in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To localize these SDGs, the university oversees two primary community care initiatives together with the local government in Manila and Lian, Batangas.
It became the first educational institution to adopt the BERDE Green Building Rating System in 2015. Subsequently, the university became a member of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), and established the “SDG City Lab” to provide research and capacity-building support to local government units (LGUs) in localizing the SDGs.
Ultimately, the goal of the partnership is for the participating local government units to pass ordinances, development plans, budgets, and other mechanisms that will institutionalize the use of SDG-based targets in local governance. In the long run, this would result in self-reliant communities and localities that address economic, human, social, and environmental development with long-term success in mind.
Moreover, DLSU is paving the way for other high education institutions (HEIs) in localizing the SDGs as well. In 2019, DLSU hosted ASEAN+3 delegates during the week-long #WeCAN International Bootcamp. The event saw students, mentors, and faculty members coming together to focus on this goal under the theme of ‘participation of higher educational institutions for sustainable and inclusive development.’
Internationally, DLSU is also recognized as one of the most sustainable higher education institutions. In the 2021 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings that measured 1,240 institutions from 98 countries, DLSU ranked in the Top 600 bracket. The school was assessed in four areas, where it ranked in the Top 200 for Clean Water and Sanitation as well as Life Below Water; Top 400 for Partnership for the Goals; and Top 600 for Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
Looking ahead, the university will pilot its first ever certificate course in Strategic Leadership and Management of Non-Government Organizations. The course is intended for the leaders and second liners of its community partners – where they will be trained on ethical leadership, governance, partnership building, resource generation, strategic communication, and other modules to equip them to lead and sustain the reforms DLSU initiated with them on their own.
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