Just 18 months back, TERRE Policy Centre launched a pathbreaking movement for the universities and colleges. It was titled, ‘Smart Campus Cloud Network’ ( SCCN) and was launched at the hands of the then HRD Minister of India Hon. Prakash Javadekar. He pressed the remote control and there came the analytical data of the electricity use in the campus of the most talked-about university- Maharashtra Institute of Technology World Peace University (MIT WPU). That was 5th June 2017, World Environment Day.
Nearly two years earlier, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015. It was a universal call to action on key issues related to inclusive, integrated and equal development. Some of those goals were related to quality education, clean energy, ending poverty, protecting the planet, and ensuring that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The Global Goals are to be achieved by 2030. Partnerships for accelerated action is not only part of the SDGs but means to achieve them.
Everyone is needed to reach these ambitious targets. The creativity, know-how, technology and financial resources from all of society are necessary The role of universities, colleges and schools are critical in the process leading to 2030. Today, progress is being made in many places, but, overall, action to meet the Goals is not yet advancing at the speed or scale required. 2020 needs to usher in a decade of ambitious action to deliver the Goals by 2030.
The movement of Smart Campus was in response to the need for accelerated implementation by engaging the world’s powerhouses for
creativity and innovation – Universities. The need for ‘walking the talk’ on SDGs led TERRE Policy Centre to identify the student community in universities and colleges. They were identified as change-agents for the climate crisis and contribute towards the implementation of United Nations SDGs.
SCCN encourages the student and faculties to devise the road map for implementation of SDGs in their own campus. It also promotes the latest technologies like IoT, AI, Cloud Networking to implement, monitor and verify the attainment of targets. It is proving to be the tool to share the information on work done on the campus on SDGs, resource efficiency, climate change through a process of learning-by-doing.
Hon. Minister Javadekar summed up the situation aptly in 2017. “ Smart Campus is a laboratory of Smart cities, which in turn are the pilot plants for the final full-scale project of Smart India that would meet SDGs”
Within two years of the launch of SCCN, TERRE Policy Centre was invited by AICTE ( All India Council for Higher Technical Institute) to guide and institutionalise the national award for ‘ Clean and Smart Campus’. Lt Col Bansal, Director of AICTE, working under the guidance of Chairman of AICTE Prof Anil Sahasrabudhe called me from New Delhi to discuss award concept and its links with the SCCN.
Then onwards the wheels started turning fast, the award event was held within six months of the first announcement. The evidence that the wave of Smart Campus Cloud Network is sweeping across India was seen all over India. The competition attracted more than 1500 registration, 728 participants from 31 Indian states and Union Territories, including Jammu and Kashmir, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Jharkhand and Sikkim. The online data submitted was assessed with smart technologies. 36 experts were engaged to carry out field visits to verify the data submitted by the campus.
It is indeed to the credit of universities that in a short time, they not only accepted this new disruptive way of education on Sustainable Development but even participated in the competition. The competition aims to recognize and reward the campuses for the innovative activities led by students on cleanliness, reducing the carbon footprints for mitigation of climate change and promoting ‘Smart’ technologies like IoT, Cloud Network, Artificial Intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality and robotics and robotics ( more than one robot working together).
The award-event held on in Dec 2019 was unique in all its form and function.
After an extremely rigorous three-stage process that itself used the digital technologies for evaluation and the field visits to verify the data, the eminent jury after due evaluation and onsite verification selected the awardees.
The award aims to seek engagement with all stakeholders, primarily the student community to draw their attention towards immense scope and potential that the Technology offers for abstract objectives such as cleanliness, sustainability, environment etc. The rising use of technologies especially IOT, robotics, cloud and automation have immense potential to re-model a campus in to a smart campus. These smart campuses can minimally help in ‘forward delivery’ by optimizing the use of, inter alia energy and water consumption in the campus. Smart campuses would construct ‘Smart Citizens’ – those who are ‘future-ready’ for the Smart Cities and an even Smarter India.
Clean and Smart Campus is also expected to facilitate dialogue and sharing of ideas amongst students, faculty and administrators towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
TERRE congratulates the Award winning universities , first three : University of Engineering, Punjab, VIT-Vellore and SRM-Chennai.
Note: For the winners under college and polytechnic catagories see the full list
For details of the competition see:
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