The Visayas State University (VSU) Main Campus in Baybay City, Leyte has been shortlisted as one of the three contenders in the 2013 Search for Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Schools in Region 8 (College Category). This was revealed on June 13, 2013 during the visit of the four evaluators composed of Ms. Rowena P. Vinegas from the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Mr. Cydric B. Suyom of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Dr. Antonio A. Pino of the Department of Education (DepEd), and Mr. Rusty V. Bautista of the Pollution Control Association of the Philippines, Inc. (PCAPI)—all in Region 8.

 

The other two contenders are the Naval State University in Naval, Biliran, and the Maasin Community College in Maasin City, Southern Leyte.

The team of evaluators was warmly welcomed by Dr. Jose L. Bacusmo, VSU President, together with Prof. Alan B. Loreto, Executive Officer, and Dr. Ma. Juliet C. Ceniza, Director of the National Coconut Research Center-Visayas (NCRC-V).

The VSU President discussed to the evaluators some initiatives undertaken by the University in keeping the campus clean and green. Dr. Bacusmo even mentioned some research projects that VSU has completed as well as those that are still on-going or continuing that have something to do with protecting and preserving the environment. The VSU Story Video Presentation was also shown to the panel of evaluators to give them a detailed account of what VSU has been doing and what are its accomplishments.

Aside from the tour around the campus, the evaluators were also guided to some research activities in the different project sites such as the Vermi Composting Site, Materials Recovery Facility, Alternative Renewable Energy Center, Ostrich Farm, and the Philippine Carabao Center @ VSU.

The Search, which is categorized into three (elementary, high school, and college), intends to give recognition to the environmental initiatives of schools all over the country. It aims to encourage schools/academic institutions to become more actively involved in environmental issues at a practical and local level; and to develop skills and understanding among the students, faculty and school administrators in initiating active responses and increasing community awareness and participation on environmental concerns.

Aside from the prestigious award and cash, there are other special awards to be given away to the lucky winners in all categories. These are the Nestlé Water Leadership Award to recognize and promote solutions, practices and initiatives of schools in water conservation and management; and the Meralco Energy Leadership Award for school's initiatives in electrical safety, energy efficiency and conservation.

Selection of winners will be based on the following criteria: 1) Sustainability Aspects of the School's Policy – 10 points; 2) Environmental Dimensions of School Operations – 30 points; 3) Environment-related Features of the School Curriculum – 30 points; 4) Presence of Vibrant Eco-Organizations in the Campus – 10 points; 5) Presence of Environmental Partners and Linkages in Various Programs, Projects and Activities – 10 points; and 6) In keeping with recent initiatives of the UNESCO for the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014), the following criteria shall be introduced: a) Socio-Cultural Sustainability – 5 points, and b) Economic Sustainability – 5 points.

Winners in the different categories shall represent Region 8 in the 2013 National Search for Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Schools sometime in July.