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Archive for the ‘Enabling sustainability with IT’ Category

UCT follows Stellenbosch U with rideshare cloud service

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Rumour has it that our peers across the Cape Flats have also signed up with FindaLift’s rideshare service. UCT was the pioneer in launching an online  rideshare – or lift club – service for students and staff with RideLink some years ago. The software behind RideLink was specially developed for UCT at the time. It now appears that they have decided to migrate to FindaLift’s cloud service.

FindaLift offers a closed rideshare system to institutions such as universities that allows students and staff to advertise and find lifts to, from and on campus while helping to ensure their safety and privacy. Stellenbosch University launched its rideshare service, as part of its Mobility Plan which seeks to create more sustainable campus transport options, last year. Maties FindaLift – http://maties.findalift.co.za – may be accessed by current students and staff and requires a valid university email address to register with.

Although Stellenbosch is still regarded as a residential campus, the reality is that a significant proportion of the student body commutes to campus on a daily basis.

SU launches rideshare “cloud” service

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Here is an example of how information technology can be leveraged to contribute to a sustainable campus. A lift club (or rideshare) scheme has been launched on campus that uses a cloud-based, closed rideshare service from FindaLift.

FindaLift screenshot

Stellenbosch University encourages the combined use of a range of transport options, including walking, cycling, campus shuttle services, lift clubs and public transport, to establish a sustainable and environmentally friendly campus and town, as part of its comprehensive Matie Mobility Master Plan.

With Maties FindaLift students and staff can advertise and find lifts using a Google Maps interface. Access to the free service  is limited to users who possess a valid Stellenbosch University email address. The fact that the service is closed to the university community goes some way to assuaging safety concerns and ensuring a trusted environment.

The service merely puts members of the community who have rides to share into contact with members who need lifts. But it is important to read the terms and conditions and the excellent FAQs.

The interesting thing about Maties FindaLift is that its use is not limited to students and staff on the main Stellenbosch campus, but could be used in the vicinity of the Bellville Park, Tygerberg, Saldanha and Worcester campuses as well – and potentially “anywhere in the world” where groups of Maties may be interested in sharing lifts.

The Mobility Plan and Sustainable IT

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

What on earth has the newly unveiled university Mobility Plan to do with information and communications technology? Quite a bit actually. It is another example of how ICT can be an enabler for sustainability elsewhere on campus – the third leg of Sustainable IT.


Sustainability or Green Reporting

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Information technology can enable the achievement of sustainability goals on campus in many ways, including by providing sustainability assessment and reporting tools. More than two years ago when students initiated and drove the population of a “sustainability scorecard”  with the purpose of conducting a sustainability assessment and setting the bar, information technology played an insignificant role. The scorecard was presented to management but never published and there has been no subsequent assessment.

Recently, however, the request came to the IT Division to investigate the local market for carbon footprint assessment and reporting tools. A very brief report on sustainability reporting (pdf) was prepared and submitted. It briefly explores the world of sustainability and integrated reporting, considers reporting frameworks and standards (such as the GHG Protocol, Global Reporting Initiative, STARS (a framework for higher education) etc.), and reviews a sample of sustainability management suites and tools.

Finally it recommends that:

…any choice of a sustainability application suite should be delayed until the university’s sustainability strategy has been determined.

… that it is necessary for the university to select and implement a sustainability assessment and reporting framework in order to identify sustainability indicators, help it develop its strategy, assess progress, report to stakeholders and benchmark against similar institutions.

The recommended assessment and reporting framework is the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) Sustainability, Tracking and Rating System (STARS). Stellenbosch University is an international member of AASHE.