UoN Should Embrace Going Green!!

Today in most parts of the world, people are coming to the shocking realization that climate change and global warming is real and its happening fast even as our most distinguished leaders and diplomats seat in air-conditioned rooms debating about these two phenomena. From the rising sea levels, the drying up of glaciers in the Arctic, the shrinking of rain-forests in the Amazon basin, to the increasing extreme weather and expansion of deserts. As of today the term ‘global warming’ is becoming a household term used and understood by even children in primary school.

Most governments today are gearing their efforts and finances towards clean energy, drastic cuts on green house gas emissions and other sustainable uses of energy. These efforts that have been dubbed ‘Going Green’ have become the buzz words and common parlance among leaders and the Wangari Maathai’s of our time. Our very own Kenya was wise enough to join the wagon by signing up for the Kyoto Protocol that was the instrument that was designed to prefect nations into embracing initiatives that would mitigate the threat of climate change and global warming. In this blub I would like to propose a few thoughts and proposals that I think if UoN were to embrace, we would be able to contribute our drop-in-the-bucket-efforts in the fight of preventing further global warming and climate change.

First and foremost I would like to thank the ICT department of our campus for embracing e-technology and for the promises from our admin that soon there will be installed a wireless network on campus. Yani this is great news and the likes of Martin Luthers “I have a dream!” I am very happy that soon UoN will join the rest of the world in enjoying faster, reliable internet access through the adoption or installation of hot spots on campus. It’s quite a shame that other campuses like K.U. have already beaten us at this, but I am glad that our admin has risen to the occassion. (Lakini I can’t understand fully why our fellow students from Juja constituency decided to bring down all the civilization efforts that Prof. Mugenda had brought to their campus. I elewa it was frustration and injustice but there are other means to vent out and claim haki yenu.) Any ways, that’s a story for another day.

I strongly believe that the installing of wireless hot spots on campus will benefit the entire campus and have a great advantage to the Going Green Initiative. One advantage is that as a campus we can reduce more use of paper and save the trees by doing most of our stuff on line. Have you ever gone to the Registrar’s offices on 3rd floor of Ghandhi Wing? Have you ever seen how much piles and piles of papers the staff there have to go through in order to get your request for your academic records. I am sure all the UoN alumnis feel me about this. Imagine if all the data in that office was online? Imagine if you did not have to go through the grueling sight of having to go to the office and meet the not-so-nice staff who work there? For the admin, I am hoping that this will speed up efficiency in servicing the student body. I think this is a great opportunity for the admin to try and utilize e-service systems. For example, SWA can allow students to book for their rooms online and save us the humiliating push and shove (at some broken windows) on reporting day and the feuds that develop from the whole agonizing experience, as every student tries to claim their spot to be served first. My point is that, it can be very time saving for both the students and the staffs when students have the opportunity to check for our academic results online as well as booking our rooms prior to reporting on campus.

Another way that I see we can cut on using paper and save the trees, is if all students and faculty would devotedly embrace using the UoN’s webmail facility. Ebu imagine if our lecturers would allow us to do our term papers on soft copy and hand them in on-line instead of all the papers we waste by printing them out. Take my case, I am a Political Science major and there are like maybe 200-400 of us per year. In a sem we may be given a term paper which is supposed to be 15 pages. First I usually write a rough draft on an A4 foolscap then I type on a computer, then print it out. What if all I had to do was just to type it on my MS-Word program then after I maliza, I e-mail it to Prof. Nying’uro or Lecturer Jonyo. Then he would just receive it on his e-mail, open it with his Word processor, mark it, make his comments using the Track changes feature on most MS-Word 2007 programs and then either send me back with my grade on it or post my results on-line. Imagine that!! (I acknowledge though that as of now the uni is doing well so far on this point, since most of us can access our records through the SMS facility)

Another way is that we can do all the publicity of our events on-line.You will agree with me that on campus we have so much paper posters which not many people even care to read. You will also agree with me that today on average, many students and faculty alike are on their phones every other 5-10 minutes, checking mails, changing facebook or twitter statuses etc. So my proposition would be that with high, fast internet access we can use the UoN website where we have a campus version now (even though it looks like Facebook-though we really hongera the guys who came up with the idea), and use our campus e-mail to send event updates/info, the lecturers could send us electronic materials or assignments. Trust me this will save us not only time but also resource as we embrace the Going Green wagon. This I believe would be a new face for UoN even as we boast of becoming “ A World Class of Excellence” and again with the coming in of the fibre optic cable in Kenya, this would come at a cheaper cost for the admin.

One last idea that I have come to learn about is that the university can decide to generate energy through a clean energy technology. The concept of the technology is that energy can be generated from pressure created by footsteps. Now in UoN we have the advantage that we have an ample resource of footsteps walking from place to place on campus. Take an example of a place like Taifa Hall or the DSTV area before the Library. On a daily basis there are like over 2000 students and faculty who walk into Taifa Hall or JKML library. So the idea is that under the pavements there is a mechanism by which energy can be generated from the pressure created by footsteps. So ebu imagine all the energy that can be generated from all the people who walk by Taifa Hall or the Lib. I think if such a technology would be embraced by the university then we would be in a position to light up JKML and Taifa Hall with the energy generated by the students and faculty! Imagine how much money would be saved from switching from KPLC to this clean energy. This technology has worked in several places but it will cost a lot of money to be put in place but I think its worth in the long run to invest in such a clean energy initiative.

I jua my thoughts sounds kinda crazy and they kinda seem that they will cost a lot of money for the university. And I jua someone will come up with the argument that embracing e-technology will mean that most jobs for majority of the current UoN staff will be lost. I would argue that hata kama we may lose the manual jobs, imagine all the other jobs that would be created for IT guys who are probably UoN graduates too. Tena we can’t afford to just sit by and watch as our earth continues to warm up and the climate changing every minute. These are just my thoughts. What’s your hatua? Let’s Go Green!!

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