Environmental Sustainability Vision
To make a positive impact on the environment through our academic, research and engagement activities in sustainability.
OES Mission & Vision
To effect a total shift to environmental sustainability in all aspects of campus life by integrating sustainability into our operations, planning, construction, education, research, instruction, and public service.
OES aims to promote, coordinate, and implement the most effective sustainability practices possible. By harnessing NUS’ immense physical and intellectual resources, we are working to develop positive solutions for today’s ecological challenges.
NUS’ sustainability agenda was first broached in 1997, when the Campus Green Committee (CGC) was formed. Comprising of only volunteers from both the academics and administrators like professors, lecturers and the staff of NUS, CGC’s vision back then was to create a cleaner and greener environment and one of the first projects implemented was the ‘Clear Your Own Tray’ campaign which was aimed to eliminate the problem of birds feeding on leftovers after meals. The campaign not only successfully served its purpose but it also brought a greater awareness of how individuals can do their part in incorporating sustainability into their daily lives. Following the success, staff and students have become much more pro-active and committed in transforming NUS into a sustainable campus.However, the sustainability agenda took an increasingly important role in NUS’ development plans and the Campus Sustainability Committee, headed by Deputy President of Administration and together with the working committee which is composed of trained staff and professionals from the Office of Estate and Development and the Office of Safety, Health and Environment was later formed in November 2006 to reflect commitment towards sustainable development. The working committee, develop long-term visions and plans for achieving sustainability in key areas whereas the Deputy President of Administration was in charge of advising and supporting the working committee. However, as the long term vision and plans became more developed, the President decided that a dedicated office with full-time staff was required to oversee and push the sustainability agenda to greater heights. Thus, the Office of Environmental Sustainability was set up in October 08.
I have been working as a Graphics Support Intern at OES since July 2016. My main task involves designing graphics used in posters, panels, infographics and the OES website, in support of various OES events and initiatives.
The work done at OES has helped me grow greatly as a communications student and as an aspiring designer. Sustainability is a new field to me, thus I am constantly motivated to improve my designs and find new styles which can communicate the information effectively and impactfully. I am also grateful to my supervisors who always provide me with their timely and useful feedback. They are also supportive of me experiencing new ideas, mediums and design tools to achieve the best outcomes.
Overall, I have been having a great time being an OES intern. I have learned not just new design skills but also new awareness of environmental sustainability, which has made me a better person since. I look forward to the work in the coming semester.
Working in OES during the June holidays had been a great experience for me. During my internship, I was assigned to deliver a roadshow to the various halls and residences in NUS to encourage students to save water and electricity and to reduce waste generation. It was not easy as the roadshow had to be done during the school term, and with the rigors of my final year project and schoolwork, juggling my time between them was not easy. However, it still could be done, and I am grateful for OES for giving me this opportunity to push myself to juggle my time.
Another key takeaway was the interactions I had with the various heads of residences, be them the hall managers or Junior Common Room Committees. Interacting formally with various staff and managing an event, albeit a small one, were a definite eye opener. The staff were definitely helpful, and they taught the need to clear all loose ends and make sure one was sufficiently knowledgeable of the event before talking to people about it. Such a lesson will definitely be useful in the future.
The last takeaway that I learnt was the ability to be innovative. From making sustainable cardboard stands to display posters, designing posters to make them eye-catching, to thinking of innovative quiz questions to intrigue people without putting them off, these were not easy tasks, but they had been great lessons. All these would not have been possible without the help and feedback of my director Amy, my manager Ter Yang and my fellow interns: Giselle, Cheryl, Ha, Benjamin and Lea. I would like to thank them for a great experience during my internship in OES.
The brief internship with OES at the beginning of my summer break in 2016 enabled me to put what I have learnt in Polytechnic to good use. Having obtained a Diploma in Green Building and Sustainability, I have always had great interest in green buildings and this internship allowed me to explore further green features at the newly built AS8 building and consider how to better engage building users to appreciate and utilize these features.
On top of this, the series of road shows carried out at the halls of residences in NUS gave me the opportunity to increase awareness in energy conservation and waste reduction amongst fellow students and hone my communication skills at the same time.
This internship was rewarding and enjoyable and gave me even greater confidence in pursuing a green job upon graduation.
During my internship at NUS OES, I was advocating environmental sustainability to campus residents via a series of roadshows. Through the interactions I had with many hall residents, I was enlightened on various ways to frame sustainability in a relatable and engaging manner. This would instil greater interest in the community, motivating all towards adopting a “green” attitude. All in all, this internship experience has been immensely enjoyable and an eye opener. The experience of working through the larger perspective of the campus community in the implementation of my ‘green’ project has been most enriching and fulfilling.
In the summer of 2016, having just completed my Geography degree, I was given the fantastic opportunity to spend some time working at the National University of Singapore. At university, I have developed a strong interest in the sustainability issues affecting our planet and this internship programme thus provided me with the chance to gain further (professional) insight in this field, with the hope of potentially starting a career in sustainability.
My main project at the Office of Environmental Sustainability focused on the Green Mark accreditation of university buildings and green building standards more generally. I was tasked with establishing what data was most important to capture and subsequently created a framework for a database that will be used to facilitate the comparison of the energetic performance of university buildings which have acquired Green Mark certification. Within my final report, I also identified commissioning programmes as a means of enhancing infrastructure sustainability. This work was very enriching as it required the use of both qualitative and quantitative research approaches and I was exposed to the particularities of an emergent industry. In addition to this project, I also contributed to the organisation of a tour for secondary school students that explained the sustainability features present in the new university campus. Whilst most of the day was spent conducting project research, completing data analysis and writing up my report, I frequently went to talks organised within the university and even in the centre of Singapore, including on water scarcity and the circular economy.
Settling into life in Singapore and at NUS could not have been easier thanks to all the great support I received from my supervisor, both in and outside of work. Overall, this internship has been a fantastic experience which I would highly recommend to anyone interested in sustainability, especially given the opportunity to simultaneously explore a new culture. I was very pleasantly surprised by Singapore, which is an incredibly vibrant country with numerous interacting cultures and great food.
During the months of June and July 2016 I completed a five-week internship at the Office of Environmental Sustainability. My core project focused on reviving the rooftop community garden located on the NUS Campus Infrastructure Building, Ventus.
In order to work towards this, I developed a new maintenance and community engagement plan. I decided to focus my plan on the involvement of staff members, as their commitment to the garden is essential for its sustainability.
After consulting the Ventus community through an office wide survey as well as three focus group sessions, I developed six proposals. These fell under the following three sections: maintenance, community engagement and communication. Most significantly, I suggested a shift in the garden’s maintenance from a roster based system to a plant box-allocation system, which allows staff members to adopt a box, increasing freedom and accountability.
To create a more appealing garden area, I also suggested changes to garden infrastructure such as increased signage, the installation of shade structures as well as the rearrangement of rooftop furniture. These proposals were joined with a suggestion of holding regular office wide social events on the rooftop.
The nature of this project meant that my time at the OES was very diverse. The project allowed me to develop and draft plans, interact and work closely with Ventus staff as well as take a break from desk work and garden on the rooftop. During my time at the OES I also drafted an events proposal for a World Food Week to be held at the NUS in October. This proposal included events which can be run by student societies, residential halls as well as university departments.
The diversity and freedom of the work, combined with the relaxed and welcoming atmosphere of the office, made my stay in Singapore, and particularly my time at the OES, extremely interesting and rewarding.
In June 2015 my International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) Sustainability Fellowship and its adventure in Singapore began. I had no idea just how much I would fall in love with the nation and its people, how much it would feel like a home away from home.
The outline of my time as a IARU Fellow at the National University of Singapore (NUS) was to build an Urban Farm at the College Green hostel. During my six-week stay, I worked with the management of College Green and NUS to create just the right farm for the students living in College Green and their needs. From kick-off events such as wine-tasting, visiting other farms in Singapore to Facebook groups, newsletters and online surveys – every step that could activate the students for the urban farm was made.
The first four weeks was spent on creating a vision for the Urban Farm and designing it. Then came the “awareness” stage, letting the students at College Green in on the project through social events and online surveys. Along with this “community activation”, I researched and looked into different kinds of Urban Farming – from on-sight visits in Singapore to world-wide research online. And finally the students and management at College Green got to build the Farm.
The result was a vertical dynamic hydroponic Urban Farm design for College Green. Dynamic in the sense that the Farm could easily be moved, should the management wish. Hydroponic since no soil was used, instead we used hydroponic stones and simple baby diapers to keep the plants from drying out.
Being back in Denmark, looking out of the window I can almost imagine the impressive skyline at Marina Bay, hear the palms wave in the wind or even taste one of the many fresh fruit juices.
But most of all I miss the people who made those six weeks amazing. Today almost 7 months later the Urban Farm at College Green is still the rallying point at College Green where people from more than 50 different nations meet up, growing everything from sugar canes to durians.
If you ever considered spending you summer somewhere in the world learning about sustainability and the IARU-programme – don’t hesitate for one moment.
Live, Learn and Explore with IARU.
My experience working as a sustainability intern at NUS was a great one. My main project during my time there was to find measures to reduce the energy consumption of the Central Library on Kent Ridge Campus. In addition to research, this involved physically familiarising myself with the Library building, measuring and analysing data such as energy consumption logs, temperature and humidity, and conducting occupancy surveys. I also worked with both the Library Green Team and facilities management staff to draw on their expertise and perspectives, as well as to understand the processes behind running the facility. These allowed me to identify points of wastage and opportunities for improvement which I summarised in a final action plan.
I was also involved in a few of the E-waste roadshows promoting and increasing awareness of electronic waste and its recycling to students, staff, and the general public. I also got to visit the Tuas South Incineration plant and the TES-AMM E-waste recycling plant with the OES team, as well as the BCA Zero Energy Building as part of my library project, all of which were fascinating ways to see some of the things I had been reading up on in action. Overall I learned a great deal that I believe will aid me in continuing to tackle environmental issues, from managing an independent project, understanding the challenges in sustainability, and the unique issues and innovations in a climate and culture that was new to me. I was able to meet and work with some wonderful people, including fellow interns, Library staff, and of course the OES team, to whom I am grateful for their continual support and for making my internship possible.
Albeit brief, the internship gave me a memorable experience working in a campus organization. As a regular student volunteer for NUS Students Against Violation of the Earth (SAVE), which works with OES to push for campus sustainability initiatives, I gained a different perspective working within the office itself. Other than understanding efforts on campus sustainability, I was also able to complete make-over works of the Ventus community garden. I would like to thank the staff at OES for their support and guidance. Overall, it was a great experience working at OES.
The internship at NUS OES gave me a diverse range of opportunities. Being involved in campus events honed my communication and organisational skills in environmental outreach. The internship also allowed me to apply my knowledge and enhanced my understanding in a wide range of environmental topics through my research project. It was definitely an eye-opener to learn about the innovative sustainable solutions and inventions from Singapore and particularly from members of NUS. Furthermore, my stint at NUS OES particularly equipped me with essential knowledge on campus sustainability. Overall, it was a fulfilling experience that better prepared me for my future career and environmental advocacy.